When you first start using Sublime Text, the way in which projects work may not immediately make sense. What is a project? Wait, I have to save a file? Where do I save the file? I’ll cover the basics below, to get to you started.

So what do I need to know?

You Are Always in a Project

Every time you have something open in SublimeText, you are working in a new project. Until you save the project, there’s no record of your current setup (besides the default option “remember_open_files” which makes the application start up with the last set of open files).

The folders displayed on the program’s left sidebar are contained within the project; this isn’t necessary just a tree list. You can remove or add folders and files from other locations.

Projects Must be Saved, as a File

The configuration for your project is saved as the file type “.sublime-project”. To save, simply:

  1. Click the “Project” item on the menu (Sublime Text 2)
  2. Click “Save Project As”
  3. Choose a folder to save your project in. You may want to save all of these files in a single folder*.
  4. Name your project. This exact file name will show up when choosing from existing projects, so I’d use something readable.
  5. Save & Done.

*Where do I save my projects?

You could either save the sublime-project file in the same folder as the project you’re working on, or in one folder that contains all of your project definition files. Or somewhere else entirely. I prefer keeping them in one single folder, since I’d rather have my project directory only contain files that will be uploaded to the server (mirroring its contents), and because I can see and open all projects from one location.

Opening and Working with Previous Projects

You can go to Project->Recent Projects in the Sublime Text window, but an even quicker and more visual way is to use the shortcut that opens the switch project dialog:

  • Windows & Linux: Ctrl+Alt+P
  • Mac: Command + Ctrl + P

Switch project in Sublime Text 2

Alternatively, you can browse your computer to find the project file, right click and “Open in Sublime Text”. This will load up your project folder.

Note: If you are Moving Your Project Files (or Renaming the Folder they are in)

In my case, I wanted to rename the folder that stores my project files, but when I did, switching to existing projects no longer worked because Sublime Text 2 was looking in the wrong location. If you also run into this, there is a settings file that you can edit to change the directories in one fell swoop. The file is located here:

  • WINDOWS x64: 
    C:/Users[Username]/AppData/Roaming/Sublime Text 2/Settings/Session.sublime_session
  • MAC: 
    ~/Library/Application Support/Sublime Text 2/Settings/Session.sublime_session" 

Find the section called recent_workspaces (should be at the very bottom), and you can edit the paths there.

Advanced Settings

Similar to editing the program’s user preferences, the project files are saved in the JSON format. This file gives you the option to set exclude patterns for file types and folders within your project. You can also override your user settings. Check out the first two links in the reference section for more info on editing these settings.

A Sidenote on SublimeText as an Alternative to Dreamweaver or Coda

Until SublimeText came along, it seemed like only Macs had the slickest web code editors around. If you’re still using Dreamweaver on Windows, it may be time to ditch that unstable beast. Using projects in SublimeText replaces DW’s Site Manager. If you’re editing hundreds of different sites, then you simply want to load one up from a list. Using the FTP extension, you can map a local folder to a remote folder, and you can edit remote files. If you’re accustomed to DreamWeaver’s Ctrl-Shift-U to upload files, the new shortcut to learn (for the extension)  is Ctrl+Alt+U+F.

More Info and Reference:

Comments on this Article

  1. Arnav Sharma says:

    Your section on moving project files was really helpful. Thanks.

  2. CE says:

    Thanks, man. Super useful to get a quick rundown.

  3. Lennard says:

    Thank you! I get it now 🙂

  4. Jesse says:

    Thanks for this quick write-up. Something I found interesting after saving my first project was that the *.sublime-project file was empty (aside from a couple curly braces), which I did not expect, and it is the *.sublime-workspace file that has the meat of the pertinent info. The official documentation didn’t mention that and seemed to indicate the opposite.


  5. Mike says:

    In Sublime Text 3, the file Session.sublime_session has been moved to:
    ~/Library/Application Support/Sublime Text 3/Local/

  6. Jeff says:

    This should be in the official docs! Thanks for writing it up.

  7. Joseph says:

    Very helpful post. The “*Where do I save my projects?” part is a little confusing and could use some clarification:

    “You could either save the project in the same folder as your project files, or in one folder that contains all of your project files.”

    The term “project files” is confusing because it sounds like you’re referring to the same folder in both cases. I think a different term such as “project definition files” for the latter would be clearer.

    • Josh says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve clarified that part.

  8. Dorothy says:

    On Ubuntu 16.04 the file Session.sublime_session is located here:

    • Dorothy says:

      Sorry, I put username inside chevrons so it got stripped out. the path should be /home/username/.config/sublime-text-3/Local
      with your username instead. cheers, Dorothy

  9. Adinan Cenci says:

    I keep everything in one place and it is really annoying having to navigate to my projects folder every time I need to switch projects. Is there a setting in sublimetext for that? like a “default_projects_folder” or something that automatically opens in the filemanager when we want to switch?

    • John says:

      @Adinan I have the same issue / complaint.

  10. Nikos Atsalakis says:

    I saved some projects in a single folder. After restarting the sublime the “switch project List” is empty. And always I have to open a project and load it.

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