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Project Organizer is an extension of Geany's project management displaying a tree of files belonging to the project in the sidebar. In addition, it enables complete indexing of the project files (and having code completion, syntax highlighting and symbol definition/declaration jumps for the whole project) quick swapping between header and source files, improved opening of includes, searching project files by name and more. External directories can be attached to the project to extend the plugin's functionality to related directories outside the project tree. The plugin was created with big projects in mind so everything works fast enough even with projects consisting of tens of thousands of files.

Why was it created?

A project in Geany is completely file-agnostic when it comes to the question of what files are stored in the project. In principle the information that Geany stores for every project is:

  • project's base directory
  • build settings
  • list of open files

This approach is fine for smaller projects where most of the project files are stored in a single directory but doesn't work very well with projects consisting of many deeply nested directories containing thousands of files. For such projects an expandable tree showing all the project files is a better alternative making it much easier to to navigate among various project directories. Knowing which files belong to the project makes it possible to add other useful features like project file indexing, header/source swapping or file searching.

Why are files belonging to a project defined by patterns?

Maintaining a list of project files is rather painful with larger projects consisting of thousands files and many developers working on them. Files are created, deleted and moved quite frequently and after each change the project has to be updated manually. Instead, Project Organizer defines a list of files belonging to the project implicitly using:

  • project's base directory
  • a list of glob-like patterns (e.g. *.c, *.h, or just simply * if you want to see everything)

Every file under the base directory matching the patterns is included into the project and updating the file list is as simple as pressing the refresh button in the sidebar.

What are the differences between Project Organizer and GeanyPrj?

There is another project-management Geany plugin - GeanyPrj. Project Organizer and GeanyPrj differ in several aspects:

  • Project Organizer is an extension of Geany's project so every Geany project is a Project Organizer project at the same time and vice versa. On the other hand, GeanyPrj project is a separate project so if you want to set build properties for a GeanyPrj project, you have to set up a second Geany project in parallel.
  • GeanyPrj can display several projects in the sidebar; even though only a single project can be opened with Project Organizer at one time, similar effect can be achieved with the "external directories" feature.
  • Project Organizer displays full tree in the sidebar while GeanyPrj displays only two-level tree (full directory name as a parent and a list of files under the directory).
  • Project Organizer has configurable file patterns while patterns in GeanyPrj are hard-coded
  • Project Organizer offers header/source swapping
  • Project Organizer offers finding project files by name and improved include file opening


Project configuration

Upon project creation, you should define the list of file patterns under the Project->Properties Project tab. For instance, for a typical open source C project, use patterns "*.c *h *.am *.ac" to see the source files together with automake and autoconf files. If no patterns are defined (default), Project Organizer treats this as the "*" pattern in which case all files under the project directory are displayed. After closing the dialog, the files matching the patterns should appear in the sidebar under the Project tab.

Additional settings are available from the Project Organizer tab under the Project properties dialog. You can define patterns to distinguish between header and source files for C-like languages. This information is used for header/source swapping.

In addition, you can define patterns for files and directories that should be ignored when searching for files belonging to the project. These will typically be various binary files and VCS or hidden directories.

Finally, you can specify whether all the project files should be indexed or not. The default settings is Auto which means that if the total number of project (and external directory) files is less than 300, indexing is performed. This is a rather conservative number, at least for an SSD disk - Project Organizer was tested with tens of thousands project files and even though the initial scanning may take some time (for the linux kernel with 35000 files and 2300000 symbols it takes about 20s with an SSD disk), the work with the project is completely normal afterwards. However, with ordinary HDD expect only around 100 scanned files per second because of slow random access time.

Project menu entries

Project Organizer adds some extra entries under the Project menu:

  • Find in Project Files - opens the Find in files dialog and sets the search directory to the base directory of the project
  • Find Project File - opens the Find file dialog which can be used to find files within the project or external directories
  • Find Project Symbol - opens the Find symbol dialog which can be used to find symbols within the project or external directories
  • Swap Header/Source - if the current file matches one of the source patterns from the properties, it opens a project file with the same base name (without extension) matching header patterns (and vice versa). If the files are already open, it just switches the document tabs. Nothing happens if no matching file is found.

Each of these entries can be assigned a key binding under Edit->Preferences->Keybindings.

Find file dialog

The Find file dialog can be invoked either from the Project menu or from the sidebar's context menu. Searches are performed recursively, starting from the "Search inside" directory. All files having the searched string as a substring of their name are displayed in the Messages window. Clicking the file name opens the file. The following search properties are configurable:

  • Case sensitive - specifies whether the searches should be case-sensitive
  • Search in full path - when not checked, the search is performed in the file name only (excluding path); when checked, the search is performed in the full path

Find symbol dialog

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Find symbol dialog

The Find symbol dialog can be invoked either from the Project menu or from the sidebar's context menu. Searches are performed within the "Search inside" directory. There are several search types:

  • prefix (default) - finds all symbols with the specified prefix
  • exact - finds all symbols matching the name exactly
  • pattern - finds all symbols matching the provided glob pattern

By default, symbol definitions are searched; to search symbol declarations, select the Declaration option.

Editor context menu

Project Organizer adds an extra entry into the context menu of the editor:

  • Open Selected File (Project Organizer) - contrary to the Open Selected File entry present in Geany it also searches for the file in project files and external directories.

Known issues


Project Organizer is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. A copy of this license can be found in the file COPYING included with the source code of this program.


Project Organizer is part of the combined Geany Plugins release. For more information and downloads, please visit //

Development Code

Get the code from:

git clone

Ideas, questions, patches and bug reports

Please direct all questions, bug reports and patches to the plugin author using the email address listed below or to the Geany mailing list to get some help from other Geany users.

2010-2014 by Jiří Techet techet(at)gmail(dot)com

Docs for previous versions