How to Install the Eclipse ShellEd Plugin

~ 2 min read, 5 min install ~

ShellEd is an Eclipse plugin for editing bash files and other shell scripts.

If your project consists primarily of scripts, use an editor like Atom. It has built-in syntax highlighting. If you have a large project with just a few scripts, ShellEd will suit your needs.

(Scroll down to see my Final Thoughts on editors.)

Download ShellEd

~ 1 min ~

Eclipse's plugin manager allows you to add remote plugin sites. Unfortunately, you download ShellEd and add it locally.

Download ShellEd. The file is a zipped archive named something like

Install ShellEd

~ 4 min ~

Now that you have the plugin file, open Eclipse and do the following:

  1. Click Help > Install New Software...
  2. Click Add... in the upper right.
  3. Click Archive...
  4. Navigate to where you saved the zipped archive and select it.
  5. Click OK. (Don't worry about the optional Name field. Eclipse will name it automatically.)
  6. Select the new Shell Script checkbox.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Click Next again.
  9. Select "I accept the terms of the license agreement."
  10. Click Finish.

Eclipse will calculate ShellEd's dependencies, fetch any that are missing, and install the plugin.

  • During installation, Eclipse will halt and warn you that the plugin contains "unsigned content". Click OK to continue the installation.

Restart Eclipse

After installing, Eclipse will ask to restart. Click Yes to restart and activate ShellEd.

  • If you had any shell scripts open, close them and reopen them to enable syntax highlighting. Otherwise it looks as if the plugin did not install correctly.


You can now edit shell scripts with syntax highlighting and integrated man page information. You can even run them in Eclipse. Enjoy!

Final Thoughts

This article is an updated version of one I wrote several years ago. I ran into an issue where ShellEd was missing a dependency and did not install correctly. Because I now work with JavaScript and Python, I don't need Eclipse. But the original post receives daily views, so I wanted to update it.

I was happy the installation was more straightforward this time. But I wasn't delighted. In four years, Eclipse has made no strides to simplify plugin or project management. Its user experience exemplifies the "What Not to Do" sections of About Face.

  • It makes you click through lots of nested modal windows to add plugin "sites". It should use a central repository akin to NPM, PyPi, or GitHub.
  • It makes you choose between confusing options. For example, the label Archive means "local file" and the label Local means "directory". It should provide one prompt that allows the selection of a file or directory.
  • It forces esoteric project creation. It should let me open a directory, edit its files, and grow it into something more.

Eclipse has its place. It is a powerful editor that can be extended to do just about anything. But this power comes at a steep price: usability. I am grateful for today's nimble, organic editors like Atom and Sublime. They may not do everything, but they do one thing well: they get out of your way.