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Sublime Text 2 more sublime with a drop of Dropbox

January 19, 2012, 9:19 pm · 12 comments · Filed under: Coda, Web Development

I’ve been a big fan of Panic’s Coda since early on (and skEdit before that). But, move over bacon, there’s a new sheriff in town. After just a few days of use, I’m all in with Sublime Text 2.

Among its many great features, one of the cool things about ST2 is the licensing terms. Buy a license and you can use it on as many machines as you like. In this modern age, this is as it should be.

ST2 is great out of the, uh, download (we need a new metaphor here, people), but packages go a long way towards extending its functionality. Problem is, once you start adding a bunch of packages (the first of which should be Package Control), it becomes a nuisance to keep them in sync across installations on multiple machines.

Enter Dropbox.

In case you live under a rock, Dropbox is incredibly simple, reliable software that syncs a folder or folders between multiple computers. If you don’t already have an account, get yours here (and help me get a bit more storage space in the process [this is referred to colloquially as a “win-win”]).

The following steps (which are for OS X, please add how to do this on Windows & Linux if you know how!) should get you up and running with synchronized packages across multiple machines:

  1. Quit Sublime Text 2 (so you don’t accidentally change any settings)
  2. In your Dropbox folder (usually at ~/Dropbox/), add a folder called Sublime Text 2
  3. Open the folder with your ST2 settings (should be ~/Library/Application Support/Sublime Text 2/)
  4. Copy the following 3 folders into ~/Dropbox/Sublime Text 2/: Installed Packages, Packages, and Pristine Packages
  5. Rename the original 3 folders in ~/Library/Application Support/Sublime Text 2/ to something like Installed Packages-20110119, Packages-20110119, and Pristine Packages-20110119 (optional, but I’m kind of anal about these things, so I want to make sure I can revert if need be)
  6. Now, dive into (if you’re not comfortable using a CLI, you probably aren’t a good candidate for ST2)
  7. Navigate into ~/Library/Application Support/Sublime Text 2/ (using cd, you got this, right?)
  8. Here, we’re going to create symlinks to the folders in ~/Dropbox/Sublime Text 2/
  9. The command to create a symlink is ln -s [source] [destination], so we want to do the following, 1 at a time:
    • ln -s ~/Dropbox/Sublime\ Text\ 2/Installed\ Packages ./Installed\ Packages
    • ln -s ~/Dropbox/Sublime\ Text\ 2/Packages ./Packages
    • ln -s ~/Dropbox/Sublime\ Text\ 2/Pristine\ Packages ./Pristine\ Packages
  10. There is no step 10.

End result
When you’re done, you should end up with something like this.

That should do it. Fire up ST2 and make sure you have the list of packages you expect to. Just to be sure, install another package and make sure it shows up in ~/Dropbox/Sublime Text 2/Packages/.


For good measure, here are the packages I have installed. Feel free to recommend others in the comments!

Short URL to this article:


My coworker, Brendan, turned me on to SublimeCodeIntel. Soooooo nice to be able to option-click through from a symbol to the originating file again (yeah, à la Eclipse circa 2006, but I fooled myself into thinking I didn’t need it when I started using Coda).

Thank you so much for that!. I dropped Coda for Sublime too and was searching a way to synchronize my “prefs/packages” between my two computers.

I have a longtime client whose site runs on ColdFusion. ST2 doesn’t come with CF syntax highlighting by default, but I just found out there’s a package for that!

Thanks for sharing this.

An instruction for Windows can be found here:



Thanks for sharing that link! And here I thought I’d come up with something original! That post even uses the same “in case you live under a rock” phrasing. Great minds think alike! :-)

Step 10 is great! Why did I not think of that before? I feel stupid now :)

my aliases are looking like files and behave like fils not as folders what did i do wrong?

Hey Mitchel,

Did you create aliases or symbolic links? Aliases won’t work.

I was able to point it to my Google Drive folder rather than Dropbox. This is a life saver! Thank you!

Is there something wrong with the stylesheet here? It all looks white and I can barely read the page?

I just used these instructions to sync my settings on a Windows desktop. I also sync’d the Settings folder, as it contains the license and current session.

Some packages have platform specific settings. For instance, packages that use git (Git, GitGutter, and even Package Control) have a git_binary or git_command setting. The setting on Windows and Linux/Mac need to be different. Is there a way to use DropBox syncing yet still have platform specific settings on a individual packages?

User/ ().sublime-settings

doesn’t seem to work.

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