Writers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for authors, editors, reviewers, professional writers, and aspiring writers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am in the process of translating a script and am constantly struggling with the side-by-side vertical scrolling of the document.

Does anyone know of an editor which is capable of "locking" two columns side by side? Something novel translators would use, or so.

(Please, no recommendations of Word with columns turned on, or Excel...)

share|improve this question
Diff editors such as meld and diffuse offer locked panes, but their diff-highlighting can get in the way once your task is managing docs which differ on another level, like language, but are more or less the same on the level of meaning. A locking based on paragraphs would help here... – isync Jan 13 '12 at 16:58
Is this about screenwriting? (I'm asking for tagging purposes.) – Neil Fein May 11 '12 at 1:05
up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you are using Windows, you can select two separate documents and display them side by side. This does not synchronize the scrolling between windows, but you probably wouldn't want that anyway. If the content in one window surpasses the length of the content in the other, then you would need to scroll in each separately.

I am using Windows 7, and I can open two documents of the same type, do a Shift-right click on their icon at the bottom of the screen, and then choose the option to "Show windows side by side". I don't remember the exact steps for earlier versions of Windows, but I know they are very similar. This will allow you to use the editor of your choice and keep each screen positioned where you need it so that you can easily move back and forth as needed.

share|improve this answer
I was hoping for a cool editor, which would recognize paragraphs and adjust the scrolling accordingly, like a writers-version of meld (a diff editor) or similar - but of course, your solution seems to be a good one. Following the mantra KISS. – isync Dec 17 '11 at 21:08

I've been using the free Notepad++ text editor lately for writing software code, and find it very useful being able to have two documents visible, side-by-side.

It also allows you to lock the vertical scroll-bars. I expect it's limited to plaintext documents, so if that's what you have, give it go. Many other text editors will be able to do the same.

share|improve this answer

Sublime Text offers multi columns layouts and is a very lightweight text editor.

It doesn't have vertical scroll locking, but it does provide a mini-map of the entire document so you can see exactly which part of the document is currently on screen.


share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.