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by bordaigorl ALL

A flexible Sublime Text plugin to lookup documentation of imported modules



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Omni Docs plugin for Sublime Text

A simple plugin for Sublime Text for jumping to documentation for:

  1. selected symbols
  2. imported modules / API
  3. language reference

Some languages are supported out-of-the-box (see Supported Languages) but other can be added by customising the settings.

The basic usage is pressing F1 when needing help; a panel will be shown with the possible options:



  • Version 1.2.0:

    • setting language_docs can be a list
  • Version 1.1.0:

    • added support for Sublime Text 2
    • added docs patterns for Erlang


Via Package Control

Make sure you have Package Control installed in Sublime Text and then press ctrl+shift+P, type “Install Package” and select “OmniDocs”.

Manual install

You can clone the OmniDocs repository in your Sublime Text Package directory (accessible from the Preferences > Browse Packages... menu) with the command

git clone git@github.com:bordaigorl/sublime-omnidocs.git OmniDocs

or by downloading the last version of OmniDocs here and extracting the contents to the Package directory.


If you manage to add support for languages and you think that could be useful for others please fork the repo on GitHub here and submit a pull request.


The plugin offers two commands: omni_docs_panel and omni_docs_lookup.

The command omni_docs_panel looks for imported modules in the current view or the currently open views, depending on settings, and displays a quick panel with the available documentation for them.

The omni_docs_lookup command looks up the current selection in the documentation.

The settings control, on a per-language basis, how the documentation should be accessed and shown; most of the presets open official online references but this can be fully customised in the settings, see Configuration.

Key bindings and commands

The default keymap binds F1 so that when it is pressed:

  • if something is selected then OmniDocs will search for the selected symbol in the docs for the current programming language;
  • if nothing is selected a quick panel will display a list of the currently imported modules, allowing you to open the corresponding documentation with one click.

To see the available commands you can bring up the commands panel with ctrl+shift+P and typing “OmniDocs”.

Languages supported out-of-the-box

  • Python
  • Markdown (only syntax reference)
  • Haskell
  • LaTeX
  • Java
  • Scala
  • Erlang

Support for other languages can be easily added through the settings.


OmniDocs is designed to support any language, custom documentation sources and even other plugins. All you have to do to support a new language, change docs sources or call a custom command from OmniDocs, is changing few lines in the settings.

The settings can be customised in the file OmniDocs.sublime-settings. The settings can also be accessed from Preferences > Package Preferences > Omni Docs.

Note: we call import any language construct that loads some documented external component; we call modules such components. Examples of imports are python's import statements or LaTeX' \usepackage. Examples of modules are python's os.path and LaTeX' tikz.

The basic structure of the settings is the following:

    <selector>: {
        "language_docs": {
            "command": <command>,
            "args": <args>
        "lookup_docs": {
            "command": <command>,
            "args": <args>
        "module_docs": {
            "across_open_files": <true/false>,
            "command": <command>,
            "args": <args>           

The <selector> controls when the rules apply. It can be for example text.html; OmniDocs will look for the most specific selector for which there are rules. For example an entry text.html.markdown will be triggered in a markdown document even if an entry for text.html exists.

If the settings for a particular selector is left empty (i.e. <selector>: {}), then that scope will be disabled; similarly, you can disable a specific section by setting it to the empty object.

The special selector default will trigger when no selector matched the scope of the current selection.

<command> can be any Sublime Text window-command, even provided by another plugin. For example "command": "open_url", "args": {"url": <url>} will open <url> in your browser.

The <args> field can contain any of the Build System variables plus

$selectionHolds the currently selected text if any
$languageHolds the name of the language

There are three main sections in the settings for a selector: language_docs, lookup_docs and module_docs.

Language and Lookup docs

The language_docs and lookup_docs setting specify which command has to be executed when the user requests the reference for the current language and help on a selected symbol respectively. The value of language_docs can also be a list of entries, for languages with more than one documentation resource. The args field of the lookup_docs setting should contain the $selection variable to show relevant information. For example a generic lookup_docs setting could be {"command": "open_url", "args": {"url": "http://www.google.com/#q=$selection"}}.

Module docs

The module_docs section is more complex as it needs to specify how OmniDocs should find the imported modules. There are two methods to specify this: based on scopes and based on patterns.

Scope based method

The first and simplest method uses selectors to find the module names. For example, in java (with the standard ST3 Java syntax definition) the imported module name in import statements are marked with the scope meta.import storage.modifier.import:

"source.java": {
    "module_docs": {
        "selector": "meta.import storage.modifier.import",
        "across_open_files": true,
        "command": "open_url",
        "args": {"url": "http://javadocs.org/$module"}

If instead you prefer the names of the classes used in the code to be detected as possible topics of the documentation you could use

"selector": "storage.type - storage.type.primitive"

Pattern based method

Instead of the selector setting a patterns array can specify how to extract the imports using regular expressions (regex).

"module_docs": {
    "patterns": [
            "import_regex":   <regex>
            "import_capture": <capture> // optional
            "module_regex":   <regex>   // optional

The pattern based method works in two phases. First, the import_regex regex is used to extract the lines containing imports. With import_capture you can use capture groups of the import_regex to extract from it the name(s) of the imported module(s); if left unspecified the full match is used. Second, if module_regex is specified, it is used to extract from a match possibly multiple names of modules. This step is optional but necessary to parse imports that include more than a module.

For example, to parse import string, os.path in python you need to match the import with "import_regex": "^\\s*import\\s+([a-zA-Z0-9.\\-\\_, ]+)$", capture the list of modules with "import_capture": "$1" and finally specify "module_regex": "[a-zA-Z0-9.\\-\\_]+" so that the module names can be matched in the extracted list.

Example configuration

"text.tex": {
    "module_docs": {
        "patterns": [{
            "import_regex": "\\\\usepackage(\\[\\w*\\])?\\{([^\\}]*)\\}",
            "import_capture": "$2",
            "module_regex": "[^ \n\t,]+"
        "across_open_files": true,
        "command": "exec",
        "args": {"cmd": ["texdoc", "${module}"]}
        "command": "open_url",
        "args": {"url": "http://svn.gna.org/viewcvs/*checkout*/latexrefman/trunk/latex2e.html"}
    "lookup_docs": {
        "command": "open_url",
        "args": {"url": "http://tex.stackexchange.com/search?q=${selection}"}


  • Built-in support for more languages
  • Add a command to request parse and display json for docs
  • Consider switching to settings driven by syntax specific setting files