Sticky columns

Is there any text editor with sticky columns? By sticky columns I mean that two items in separate columns stick to each other so that if I move one item in one column the other item will move along. I’ve always wanted this functionality but haven’t seen any. As you can see from the image below on right hand side there is a Mathematica code while on the left hand side there are comments. That’s much better way to comment things since the code remains clutter-free.

It’s not just for programming, but for any info where you need to comment with meta-info but you want to keep your info clutter-free. I can simulate it with Excel but Excel is a poor text editor so it doesn’t cut it. If anyone has seen any program with such a functionality please let me know.


Hi Bob.

Why don’t you use a word processor that supports tables? You could do things like in the Mathematica image using Writer/NeoOffice or Microsoft Word.

Simply create a 2-column table and put the explanations in the left column and the formulae in the right column.


Nisus Writer Pro would do it with a table too … I do things like that pretty often.


Thanks for suggestion of using a word processor with tables. I have been trying before to use Word but it’s not exactly what I have in mind. With sticky columns I mean that I connect a piece of text (or image or whatever) from one column to another piece of text from another column so that when I move a text from one column to some other place in the same column, the corresponding text from the other column would automatically be moved to the corresponding place in the other column. I would not have to cut and paste manually. The second problem I have is that a word processor like Word does not support coloring and indenting of code. Especially not something complicated as Mathematica code (see the picture above).

If you’re using Word, can you put your code, formula, whatever it is in a floating text box set to “move/keep with paragraph” whatever it’s called? I have never tried that so would need to play around a bit … you might have to use line-feeds on the comment paragraph to make the lines short enough to fit in the space to the left of your text box as I don’t know if “move with paragraph” text boxes support wrapping.



  1. Moving a piece of text plus the connected text: In you have to cut and paste or drag&drop. You could also use text boxes - but that’s as sinewy as in Word.

  2. Code coloring and indenting: You’d have to do that manually in OOo/NO.

If you can do both in Mathematica: Why don’t you use Mathematica then?


Hi there

Final Draft AV can do the collum stuf you ask for.