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GProject is an extension of Geany's project management displaying a tree of files belonging to the project in the sidebar. In addition, it enables quick swapping between header and source files, searching project files by name and more. The plugin was created with big projects in mind so everything works fast enough even with projects consisting of hundreds 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 the project files is a better alternative making it much easier to to navigate between different project directories.

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, GProject defines a list of files belonging to the project implicitly using:

  • project's base directory
  • a list of glob-like patterns

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.

What are the differences between GProject and GeanyPrj?

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

  • GProject is an extension of Geany's project so every Geany project is a GProject 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.
  • Because GeanyPrj is a separate project management plugin, it can do some things that GProject cannot - in particular, it can manage several projects in parallel. If you need to switch between several projects, GeanyPrj might be a better option for you. Alternatively, you can open several Geany instances for different projects to work on several projects in parallel using GProject.
  • GProject 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).
  • GProject has configurable patterns while patterns in GeanyPrj are hard-coded
  • GProject offers header/source swapping
  • GProject offers finding project files by name


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. After closing the dialog, the files matching the patterns should appear in the sidebar under the Project tab (unless the GProject plugin was loaded after the project - see Known Issues for more details).

Additional settings is available from the GProject 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 and also for giving different icons to headers and sources in the sidebar (therefore, this settings can be also used for other types of languages if you want to give different file types different icons).

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

Finally, you can specify whether the tag manager should be used to index all the project files or not. This settings is turned off by default because the indexing takes too long when too many files are present in the project (several thousands or more).

Project menu entries

GProject 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 and sets the search directory to the base directory of the project
  • 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

Editor context menu

GProject adds an extra entry into the context menu of the editor:

  • Open Selected File (GProject) - contrary to the Open Selected File entry present in Geany it also searches for the file in project files

Known issues

  • When the plugin is loaded from the Plugin Manager for the first time and a project is already open, no files are displayed in the sidebar. The workaround is to reload the project in this case. The issue is caused by Geany only passing the project configuration file to a plugin when the project is loaded, which isn't the case when the plugin is loaded.
  • There might be some issues with UTF8 file names - the testing has been very limited.
  • GProject hasn't been tested under Windows so probably not everything works there. Patches are welcome.


GProject 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.


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

Development Code

Get the code from:

svn checkout

Ideas, questions, patches and bug reports

If you add something, or fix a bug, please send a patch (in 'diff -u' format) to the geany mailing list or to one of the authors listed bellow.

2010-2011 by Jiří Techet techet(at)gmail(dot)com