12 Excellent Free Text Editors for Coders

You can make writing code as complicated as you want, but at the end of the day, all you really need is your favorite, trusty text editor. You can use a simple one like Microsoft’s Notepad, but oftentimes it’s helpful to have a text editor that has syntax highlighting/coloring, support for multiple languages, a robust find and replace feature, and other features and options that make writing code just a tad bit easier.

If you’re in search of a good, free text editor – you’ve come to the right place. Below you’ll find 12 first-class free text editors that are designed with coders’ needs in mind. Whether you use a Windows, Mac, or Linux machine – you’ll find a few options here that will satisfy your code-authoring needs.



NOTEPAD++ - screen shot.

NOTEPAD++ is the premier replacement for Microsoft’s Notepad. It has an auto-completion feature (for most supported languages) that guesses what you’re trying to write, a tabbed interface which is great for working with multiple files without cluttering your task bar, a powerful RegEx find-and-replace feature, code folding, support for a large array of languages (even Assembler!) and much more. These are just some of the features that make NOTEPAD++ my personal default text editor.

Bluefish Editor

(Mac, Linux)

Bluefish Editor - screen shot.

Bluefish Editor is a robust, open source text editor geared towards programmers and web designers. It’s known as being a fast, lightweight text editor that can open 500+ documents with ease. It has a built-in function reference browser (for PHP, Python, CSS, and HTML) so you can quickly learn about with particular syntaxes.  Check out the Screenshots section to find movies/screencasts (such as learning about working with remote files) and screen shots of Bluefish Editor.



TextWrangler - screen shot.

TextWrangler is a multi-purpose text editor for the Mac OS. It is a programmer-friendly text editor and Unix/Server Admin text editor. It has a useful "plugin" system allowing developers a way for extending TextWrangler’s built-in features. It also has a function browser so that you can quickly find and jump to the function you’re looking for (very helpful for those really long files). 



Smultron - screen shot.

Smultron is an easy-to-use text editor. Its simple interface makes it perfect for the minimalist coder. It has the basic features you’d expect from a text editor such as syntax highlighting/coloring but also has cool, helpful features such as the ability to split the viewing pane in two so that you can view files side-by-side, a code snipplet library to allow you to store your often-used code blocks, and a full-screen mode that’s intended to make you focus on the task at hand.



Caditor - screen shot.

Caditor is an open source portable text editor written in the .NET framework (C#) that puts speed and performance at the forefront of its design. It has a convenient search box built into the tool bar of the text editor’s interface so that you don’t have to open another dialog box to perform a search. It has other handy features common to developer-oriented text editors such as line numbering, a compiler feature to allow you to hook it up with your compiler, and FTP feature.



gedit - screen shot.

gedit is the official text editor of the GNOME desktop. Unlike Microsoft’s built-in text editor (Notepad), gedit is a more feature-packed text editor geared towards usage for programming and mark-up. With its syntax highlighting, tabbed interface for editing multiple files, and spell-checking feature – gedit is an excellent, free text editor for coders.

GNU Emacs

(Windows, Mac, Linux)

GNU Emacs - screen shot.

GNU Emacs (more commonly referred to simply as Emacs) is a cross-platform, extendible text editor geared towards programmers. One of its defining features is Emacs’s ability to be extended – offering you the ability to use it as your project planner and debugger, among other things. It has a file-comparison feature (M-x ediff) that highlights differences between two files (useful for figuring out changes in a file made by coders who don’t document/comment their revisions).

Crimson Editor


Crimson Editor - screen shot.

Crimson Editor is a light-weight text editor for Windows that supports many languages. It has a "Macros" features which lets you record a sequence of tasks so that you can reuse the sequence with a click of a button. It has a built-in FTP feature, allowing you to upload/download files from your FTP server. Crimson Editor is a solid option for Windows users.



ConTEXT - screen shot.

ConTEXT is another excellent, light-weight, freeware (meaning it’s free – but close-sourced) text editor for Windows. It has countless of handy features such as text sorting (helpful when you need to sort things in alphabetical order, for example), ability to export configuration options so that you can share your configuration or import it into several machines, and a macro recorder for repeating a sequence of tasks. In 2007, ConTEXT development was turned over to David Hadley but continues to be freeware.


(Windows, Linux)

SciTE - screen shot.

SciTE, written on top of the open source Scintilla code-editing component, is a speedy text editor aimed for use in source code editing. It has a standalone .exe version which you can use for portable storage drives (i.e. USB flash drives) so that you can conveniently carry it around and use it on any computer without having to install it. SciTE is a compatible with Windows and Linux operating systems and has been tested by the developer on Windows XP and on Fedora 8 and Ubuntu 7.10.

Komodo Edit

(Windows, Mac, Linux)

Komodo Edit - screen shot.

Komodo Edit is a freeware, cross-platform text editor created by ActiveState. It is a simple text editor based on the popular integrated development environment – Komodo IDE. It has a convenient and flexible Project Manager feature to help you organize and keep track of your project files.


(Windows, Mac, Linux)

jEdit - screen shot.

jEdit is a text editor that specifically caters to programmers. It’s written in Java and runs on any operating system that supports You can download a ton of plugins (check out the Plugins Central on jEdit’s website) to extend its built-in features. jEdit was designed to combine the best features of Windows, Mac, and Unix text editors.

Additional Resources

What do you think?

There’s a ton of text editors out there so be sure to share your experiences and opinions on the text editors above, and if your favorite isn’t on the list – please tell us about it in the comments.

Related Articles

This was published on Nov 13, 2008


weblizzer Nov 13 2008

such a great tools, i used notepad++ but i have to consider which i like most aptana it’s an open community editor, and it supports i like it most it support php and javascript editing i like most specially the autointellisense feature as well as the coding error tags..

CreamScoop Nov 14 2008

No love for Textmate? It’s the only one I use(and Mac OS default TextEdit sometimes).

Also, the text says “20 first-class free text editors”, instead of 12.

Dicky Nov 14 2008

I am using Notepad++ too. Although i have both aptana and notepad++, but i prefer Notepad++ because the loading speed is faster.

greyfade Nov 14 2008

What, no Vim?

Damian Deile Nov 14 2008

Some of these are pretty decent but I prefer Aptana and UltraEdit.

spidro Nov 14 2008

very nice list of tools i use Notepad++ it’s my favorite one too

Stevo Nov 14 2008

Textpad should not be forgotten, great lightweight editor with all the features you need. Not as pretty as some but that might be why it can still handle working with text files in the 100’s of MB.

Features to checkout:
JAVA compiler built in
Record Macros
Clipboard history
Regex search and replace
Compare files
Split windows

Some of the ones in this article look well worth a look tho. Hey, I might even get converted!

Son Tran Nov 14 2008

Oh, thanks. I am using Notepad++ too. It’s very good ^ ^

Andreas Nov 14 2008

okay guys, what about vi/vim?

thecancerus Nov 14 2008

Notepad++ is the best editor in the list(not sure about Mac editors) i have used context and Crimson Editor

insic Nov 14 2008

Nice List you have here. Maybe you need to add NetBeans for PHP I think. Coz its free and its awesome.

SneakyWho_am_i Nov 14 2008

My favourite from that list is Notepad++, although I haven’t tried all of these. Great list! On Linux I mostly use Kate (or Quanta+) as I find Gedit to stil be a bit lacking (even if it is the best default text editor ever).

In the terminal I mostly use vi. Undoubtedly emacs is more powerful but vi was slightly easier for me to learn and it’s so quick and easy to do it.

My first demand is syntax highlighting, and vi does an amazing job of that (far better at Syntax highlighting than gedit, imho)

mladjo Nov 14 2008

Using jEdit – great for xml/xsd based stuff like xslt, xhtml, svg, …

Cesar Noel Nov 14 2008

I’ve been using Komodo IDE on Windows and now using Komodo Edit on my Ubuntu powered Laptop. Komodo Edit has all the necessary features of Komodo IDE (with the exception of the debugger features available on Komodo IDE).

TextMate, Coda (both Mac OS X only) and Eclipse/ZendStudio even if they are complete IDEs.

primeminister Nov 14 2008

Indeed! Where is TextMate (mac)! 5 stars out of 5!

likewhoa Nov 14 2008

gvim and kompozer are also good to mention for linux environments.

anonymous Nov 14 2008

You forgot Kate!!

TheMandibleClaw Nov 14 2008

Vim over emacs any day…

Kevin Nov 14 2008

Nice list.. I still love to use EditPlus..

lbr-linux Nov 14 2008

You forgot geany!

Jarek B Nov 14 2008

I’m not sure why, but I’ve seen several lists like this and none mention PSPAD which is as feature full as NotePad++ if not more so.

Guerremdq Nov 14 2008

I use Geany !

I’m throwin’ some love to TextMate here, open and running 10 hours a day.

Jeeremie Nov 14 2008

Bluefish works on Windows too, not only Mac and Linux.

VIM. Seriously. How can you forget it? ;)

Baron Nov 14 2008

Nice list.

I’ve used Araneae for years. Simple, bare bones, love it!!

DENiAL Nov 14 2008

I really enjoy PS Pad, though I think I will give these others A shot.

Tim Jones Nov 14 2008

There is a port of Bluefish for Windows, as well: It requires that you already have the Windows version of GTK+ run-time installed. The web site has link to GTK+ run-time installer.

Caleb Cushing (xenoterracide) Nov 14 2008

vim, available on more OS’s and most likely high powered editor to be installed.

I could name several other editors which could/should have made the list, but none so much as vim.

Sebastian Paaske Tørholm Nov 14 2008

I agree, VIM definitely needs to get in.

Jeramie Nov 14 2008

I think Textpad atleast deserves an honorable mention. It still holds value today as a great lightweight editor.

PepeGSay Nov 14 2008

Sublime Text is an awesome editor.

PS3 Trophies Nov 14 2008

I use Crimson Editor here.

the only editor I see is emacs. and vim isn’t on the list. so you fail.

oreth Nov 14 2008

VIM is nice and all.

But I’ve not found a single editor that does all the things I need as well as Komodo Edit does.

Love it.

Quick Nov 14 2008

How could you not include Notepad2?

Shaun Nov 14 2008

vim vim vim !

UltraEdit on Windows, TextMate on OSX, and vim on Linux

Magic One Nov 14 2008

Gvim for Linux and Windows!!!!

Anthony Nov 14 2008

definitely include vim and geany, notepad++ ftw in windows

Aaron Nov 14 2008

VI!!!! You are a noob if you use anythin else….!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve Nov 14 2008

No mention of Vim or Quanta+?

Evan Carroll Nov 14 2008

decent troll at least.

Biggles Nov 14 2008

If you are looking for a noepad replacement, small and fast, then I would like to suggest Notepad2. It’s just an awesome editor that I fell in love with directly!

Sam Lesher Nov 14 2008

FYI – Geany is better than Bluefish

Mitch Nov 14 2008

Thanks for this. I’ve been a big fan of Crimson Editor, but Notepad++ with all those nice plugins – especially the html tag matching one – has just become my new favorite editor.

Thor Thundercock Nov 14 2008

What, no BBEdit or TextMate? Pico, Nano, Joe? Vim? Hmmm…

Andrew Wright Nov 14 2008

+1 vim

Andreas Nov 14 2008

Hrmm, me wnats smultron for linux :/

Keith Nov 14 2008

no love for programmer’s notepad??

Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen Nov 14 2008

What’s with the no Kate? It’s the best thing since GUI editors first got created! :)

Mark Sanborn Nov 14 2008

Yes, how can you forget the best editor of them all, Vim.

esplinter Nov 14 2008

a list of the best text editor without kate?? WTF¡

someone Nov 14 2008 > extremely addictive text editor, especially suited for creating websites. though only version before 1.0 are for free… (that will take couple of months so enjoy for now :P )

Xurasoi Nov 14 2008

WTH? no one knows EDITPLUS wth?

editplus rullaz

I’d like to add Intype to the list. It’s still alpha, but has some very good features, and a no-nonsense interface. Think Textmate for windows, without the cost.


My problem with these are that their find/replace windows are too dinky. When you’re doing complex regex find/replace using large chunks of text, you need a huge window. That’s why I like Edit Pad Pro.

montana Nov 14 2008

I use Taco HTML Edit for html/css/php on a mac.

TextMate isnt free so it would not go on this list!

terry Nov 14 2008

macvim, gvim, VIM VIM VIM

maybe that’s for another post, though, like “the best free text editor”?

Lisandro Grassini Nov 14 2008

Another important reason in order to evaluate Crimson Editor: Is open source!

Hubert Łępicki Nov 14 2008

No vim? No TextMate (well, I’m not a fan but it’s very popular). This post sucks.

Jeremy Nov 14 2008

I like TextMate too, but it isn’t free.

Hackhound Nov 14 2008

I agree with Jarek. I used to use Notepad++ until I discovered PSPad. I am surprised that it is missing from the list.

How is Programmers’s Notepad not in the list of coding notepads?!

Chandler Nov 14 2008

This list really needs Text Mate(mac).

re: Textmate

See the word “Free” in the title of the article? Textmate ain’t free.

przemoc Nov 14 2008

Notepad++ is quite good, but for automated (advanced search & replace, etc.) or complex editing I prefer GVim.
In Linux there is only vim.

BTW. Today I released improved Notepad++ Launcher, so if you’re interested, go to news page in my site.

Tumbleweed Nov 14 2008

TextMate and some of the others mentioned in the comments aren’t FREE. Check the title of the article. :)

I use the non-free TextPad.

Jacob Nov 14 2008

I’m surprised that Eclipse wasn’t mentioned at all. For Java Programmers, you can’t do better than Eclipse. They also have a C/C++ focused version that is pretty great. For web code development (PHP, Ruby, Python) Aptana Studio is a derivative of Eclipse that works very well.

Crispy Nov 14 2008

I use Gedit on Gnome/Linux but on windows boxes I think the best is PSPad (

Zachary Berry Nov 14 2008

What about Eclipse?! Eclipse!!!!!

Geany for Linux (the best)

Kid Tough DVD Player Nov 14 2008

I’ve looked at Notepad++ a couple of times, but forgot about it. This reminds me that I need to go ahead and download it. Thanks for reminding me!

Jordan Nov 14 2008

I used to be an avid user of Notepad++ but have since traveled onto other pastures! Currently I’m a huge fan (and user) of InType (

It’s currently free right now, although when they finish up alpha it’s upposed to be a licensed application. Either way, for what I’ve gotten to play with now, while it’s been free, has definitely been fantastic.

If I wasn’t using InType, I’d definitely have to say Notepad++ is the way to go. :)

Hermit Nov 14 2008

12 excellent free editors and no vim listed. The number of comments noting this is evidence enough of the flaw.

You really out to mention the TextWrangler supports SFTP uploads. That’s a very difficult feature to find in most editors, and using FTP to publish is laughable.

Cavii Nov 14 2008

geez, how do you not include vim?

Conrad Nov 14 2008

You guys suggesting TextMate and Coda, while great, and while I use them both, they’re not free. And this list is for free text editors.


/end gnome fanboism

Jared Nov 14 2008

VIM and GVIM is top notch yet not on this list! It runs on more operating systems than any of the others listed here.

I’m a big fan of kate

EddieA Nov 14 2008

I definitely agree with the other commenters that Vim (the most popular vi clone/superset) is definitely a glaring omission. It is probably one of the hardest editors to really become proficient with, but once you do, there’s no looking back! (Plus, some variation of vi is installed by default on just about every platform known to man… aside from Windows for some reason.)

But for “quick and dirty” editing in Windows, Notepad++ is pretty awesome too.

Jen Smith Nov 14 2008

Nice list, one or two I didn’t know about that I need to try.

Should definitely add Geany to the list as well. When I’m in Linux, I normally just use GEdit, but Geany works rather nicely as a “lite IDE”.

Bogdan Nov 14 2008

vim, your kidding right?

Don’t need a text editor stuck in the 80’s

Unplug you dumb terminal and stop listening to Bon Jovi

nosredna Nov 14 2008

Why do dopey people keep saying “TextMate?” TextMate isn’t free.

LUC RAYMOND Nov 14 2008

PSPAD ( is one of the best but Windows only
OpenKomodo (windows,mac,linux) is really good and free too.

Robert Nov 14 2008

I used PSPad every day! My favorite by far.

S Kumar Nov 14 2008

Any list of editors that does not include ‘vim’ (vi improved) is utterly incomplete.

bluefishsucks Nov 14 2008

I would not recommend Bluefish. Except for very small files, it is a resource hog. I tried using it for an hour and gave up.

Imran Nov 14 2008

I use gvim, eclipse, and crimson editor.

I think the best editor for Windows is simply Vi with Cream. It is lightweight, compact, uses vi and has context case commands. It is basically a really friendly version of Vi.

kevin Nov 14 2008


gewthen Nov 14 2008

No word about Geany? You are missing many other text editors… What about Kdevelop? What about Eclipse? What about emacs? What about vim? What about BBedit?

dasnipa Nov 14 2008


quietchaos Nov 14 2008

I spent days trying to find the best text editor for Windows, and have a list a mile long of ones I wanted to check out. There were a few I narrowed down according to feature lists and screenshotes. I’m still not 100% happy with the free/opensource text editors, but the best does seem to be Notepad++.

Favorite Free:

Favorite Commercial:

The only free Windows text editors worth looking at (in my honest opinion) are:
Komodo Edit
Programmer’s File Editor
Programmer’s Notepad 2
Source Edit

Haven’t tried many linux editors, but am content with:
Easy Editor (ee) (command line)

Zach Szafran Nov 14 2008

Notepad2 ( is a great editor for Windows.

Brian Nov 14 2008

I use Notepad2.

PSPad would be my vote as well. Not only for all of it’s features (syntax highlighting, built-in macro functions, etc., but also for it’s built-in FTP support.

Also, it installs in Ubuntu with Wine just as easily as it installs in Windows.

Robert Nov 14 2008

+1 for Vim.

Also tried Notepad++, but I can’t get ident working for python.

jbroome Nov 14 2008

Textmate and BBedit are awesome, but not free, and thus don’t fit into the scope of this article. Nov 14 2008

Great list, Notepad++ is my favourite though.

neoyagami Nov 14 2008

(why not vi)²
i code everything in vi and is awsome

neoyagami Nov 14 2008


because the simplicity is the key. if you add ftp and suport for every 5hi7 in the market you are only conplicating and making it very wheight(i think this is the word .sorry my english sucks)

i love vi and dont like bon jovi :P

neoyagami Nov 14 2008

also notepad++ when i’m in wintendo

Well, Vim is obviously not on the list because it is beyond competition :)

Gimni Nov 14 2008

Sorry, they are indeed not free, but BBEdit and TextMate are *the* text editors on Mac. They are worth every penny you may pay for them. I also used Eclipse in the past.

On Windows, I’m a big fan of TextPad, there is a new contender that could be very, very interesting: Microsoft IntelliPad, part of their “Oslo” SDK. Its previous name was “Emacs.Net”, which says it all: it’s based on .Net and totally customizable in IronPython.

indiana web design Nov 14 2008

smultron rules!

CallMeJoe287 Nov 14 2008

EditPlus gets my vote as well!

I use Geany :D It rocks!

Aptana for main thing and Notepad2 for quick edit.

BloodGain Nov 14 2008

Vim/GVim were certainly left out. You can’t include Emacs and not include Vim, too. Sure, Emacs can do a few things that Vim can’t, but Vim can do a few things that you have to write scripts for in Emacs.

Also, Vim is NOT stuck in the 80’s — it just uses a different idea about how to edit files (command vs. input). With GVim, you get all the nice click-y features of other editors and still have the power of Vim. Better yet, it means that when you have to log in remotely, you can get the same editing power less the slowdown of a GUI.

Those of you who rely only on a mouse to copy/paste/etc. lose several things, including the ability to power-edit without a GUI and the power and speed of context-sensitive editing.

PSPad is the only freeware editor that compares to EditPlus, which is the best editor for windows.

mattrm Nov 14 2008

I’m an emacs fan, but missing vi(m) off the list is a crime.

Babak Nov 14 2008

anyone know which one is good for working with non-Latin languages? Specifically, I’m looking for an editor which would be able to mingle Persian with English so that the code is in English but the text for messges, errors, etc. is in Persian.
Thank you!

Paolo Nov 14 2008

I use Crimson Editor and arachnophlia version 4 are two fantastic!

Programmers notepad ! Nov 14 2008

How come Programmers Notepad was left out! –

PSPad should be here and at the top. It out features half of the the editors listed, in fact this is a list of what I used to use before switching to PSPad.

Gates Nov 14 2008

textmate FTFW

whad up with vim? A nice evolution of vi and less painful than others.

Hey, forgot Quanta+ on linux! rulz!

I have to add my voice to the crowd yelling for blood over the omission of Vim.


Mike V. Nov 14 2008

EditPad Lite, although I use the Pro version

reddshack Nov 14 2008

I used Notepad++ for the longest time but then I found PSPad and now it’s the only editor I use. Good list though. You make good points for all the editors.

Crimson Editor has column select, which is very useful.

Sponty Nov 14 2008

I quite like ‘Geany’ for Linux, as well.
Nice list; I use Notepad++ for Windows.

zcworld Nov 14 2008

i found that context does the job for me
for the little code i have to play with at times
its good / fast when loading big files
and nice when you can pick the type of file your working on :)

Spoudumen Nov 14 2008

I have to agree, vim all the way

James Hudnall Nov 15 2008

For me, Edit Plus and WEBuilder are the best I have played with. I am always looking at others to see if they get better, but for now WEBuilder is my top fave.

david Nov 15 2008

Vim has its niceness: I use it all the time (but I’m old)…as do all the rest but emacs has a LOT of scripts available and that script language is LISP. Any editor you can do AI in has to be cool, right?

Speaking of being old: you kids today! We had to write our own editors….in Fortran 66 and we liked it! (….not kidding: Primos h15 screen editor). Computing is much more pleasant now.

Michael Johnston Nov 15 2008

What about Taco HTML Edit for Mac?

Graeme Nov 15 2008

Yes, I PSPad is great, but now that I’m familiar with Vim /GVim I think it’s hard to beat.

JIm White Nov 15 2008

You started he discussion about writing code, not just any text editing. In that specific context, if you write .NET code (used by at least 80% of Windows developers), all you need is Visual Studio. Awesome.

Mr Zebra Nov 15 2008

Favorite Free: Notepad++
Favorite Commercial: UltraEdit – if you can afford it – this editor is incredible. Column editing, directory search, and macros, win hands down.

Razvan Nov 15 2008

You forgot the best of the best: Geany !

Midla Nov 15 2008

Notepad++ is the best on this list.

notepad++ is the best in this list. PsPad is another good editor

Ouch. Emacs with no vim? GVim for the win!

Online hry zdarma Nov 15 2008

Where is PSPad? I think, it is best editor.

Quayfee Nov 15 2008

PsPad! I’m suprised it’s not on the list…

No vim and kate. this post is incomplete

Keeto Nov 15 2008

Oh my god! The blasphemy! Textmate! Where’s Textmate?!

Jennifer Kyrnin Nov 15 2008

Great list. I hadn’t heard of Caditor or ConTEXT, so that was nice to see. Personally, I believe that Komodo Edit has the most features suitable to Web developers, but everyone likes something different. :-)

Jaffar Khorshidi Nov 15 2008

Intype is also a really good one for windows –

pieps Nov 15 2008

I’ve got to put in my vote for vim. Once you start using a modal text editor, there’s no turning back. Also, the less I have to move my hands from the home row, the better.


Why not gVim

Farid Hadi Nov 16 2008

Thanks for the list.

Jujuedit is good too (I know, funny name).


Angel Nov 17 2008

VIM and Geany (Linux)
Notepad2 and PsPad (Win)

Mackenzie Nov 17 2008

Yet another vote for vim coming from me. But yeah, it is nice to have gvim or cream installed too, just because it’s easier to set file associations with GUI apps. Download a file from the web, and it auto-opens in a window where I can use regular expressions to my heart’s content :)

Stian Nov 17 2008

Nice list, but… EditPlus! :)

Horst Nov 17 2008

Geany is my favourite one. It has got a Function list.

elkuku Nov 17 2008

Eclipse for coding – nothing better.

And for quickly open all other stuff i use…

KWrite ;) – the only one not mentioned yet..

Timothy Nov 17 2008

SciTE all the way!

Alien Nov 17 2008

GurX is the best editor..

Smart Ascii Nov 17 2008

copy con: filename.ext

You only need an editor if you make mistakes the first time. Don’t do that.

Scott Nov 18 2008


Piotr Godek Nov 18 2008

Geany, don’t forget about Geany :)

MK Owens Nov 19 2008

jEdit has been my favorite non-terminal based text editor for years.

However . . . I have to say I am disappointed to see vi/vim missing from this list.

Dennis Nagel Nov 19 2008

I often see TextPad and PSPad overlooked and it’s a terrible shame… Alone they have shortcomings, but when you have them both, you can get absolutely anything done… keystrokey recording Macros for repetitious tasks in textpad, PSPad for easily converting between url to ansi and back, etc… There are so many wonderful features it’s hard to mention them all… useful regex search / replace… I would still be completing work from 2007 if it were not for these two editors, not kidding!

Çağlar Gülçehre Nov 19 2008

Give up all other eleven choices and just stick to GNU Emacs or Vim. They are the most powerful ones.

Abhishek Nov 20 2008

I have used variety of text editors. Notepad++ being touted as the premium replacement for notepad is not entirely true. Try working with large files of size more than 10 mbs and try to copy/paste you will come to know what I am talking about. There are a few glitches in Notepad++ which make me go away from it. PSPad is also a good replacement albeit a little too odd and buggy as per the indentation customization goes.
I have been an avid user of EmEditor. It is one of the best and fastest general purpose editors out there. Student license is free and it beats many others hands down in many ways. Excellent customization features and extensibility support. Newer versions have even better support for working with large files.

markux Nov 20 2008

WIN: pspad
Linux: geany, gedit, gvim

You forgot the best..PSPAD

Darguz Parsilvan Nov 20 2008

I discovered EditPlus many years ago, and it has served me well. The syntax highlighting and auto-complete features are very flexible, allowing me to customize them to my specific needs (e.g. highlighting my personal library functions). I’ve tried other editors from time to time at the urging of various friends, but have never found a reason to leave EP.

rprebel Nov 20 2008

Hilarious how everyone insists their (left out) editor is the absolute best and HOW COULD YOU NOT HAVE IT ON YOUR LIST. Whatever. I have used BBEdit for…over a decade. Since well before OS X, and I like it a lot. However, it’s not on your list, so here we are.

ehcomunicacion Nov 20 2008

i love editplus and . lightweight ,fast, and heavy with regular expressions.

foxmulder Nov 22 2008

Quanta Plus, or me is the best.

notepad++ is my choice

Michel Nov 23 2008

PSPAD !!!!!

NOTEPAD++ portable version with the support of the Cyrillic alphabet

death2thejews Nov 25 2008

wheres emacs @

Michael Rice Nov 25 2008

I used Notepad++ a couple times. Although it was nice, it didn’t really do better than my Dreamweaver. I might switch back down the road to help save my computer, as it doesn’t really work out good with the power of DW CS3 running.

rekarnar Nov 25 2008

Quanta. The Best. Easy.


Border Nov 25 2008

why no vim?

VIM Sucks Nov 26 2008

VIM sucks, what’s wrong with you people? Nano if I have to, but BBEdit makes life easier.

charon Nov 26 2008

Textpad nor ultraedit are free. I use PSPad

jkricka Nov 26 2008


henady Nov 27 2008

I use notepad2


Rifter Nov 28 2008

I find your lack of vim disturbing

pspad rocks :)

What about EmEditor? Love it.

.:bekiro:. Dec 01 2008

I am using Notepad++ too. It’s faster to use as Dreamweaver.

common dude, vim is on top of them all.

I don’t know what kind of development you do, but definitely include Eclipse / NetBeans / Aptana / etc.. they ARE free and they rock as well as VIM.

ngkong Dec 11 2008

notepad++ is all i need…

Akash Kava Dec 12 2008

People always love cheap, and even better is free !! All the editor lack structured planning and tools like refractoring and code analysis and much more. Software being not a tangible thing, people consider it cheap.

Stijn van der Ree Dec 14 2008

yep, you forgot vi(m), the mother of all editors.

vimmer Dec 14 2008

Another vote for gvim, and possibly Visual Studio with the viemu extension that allows using vim commands in the MS environment.

GIGrafx Dec 14 2008

Though not mentioned within the article, a couple of the folks that posted in response gave mention to the editors I use for text/html/… Quanta+ for while within Linux… PSPad for while within Win32.
…Although I have picked up on using NotePad2 lately for content editing when I just need a fast loading, lightweight, editor with syntax highlighting.
Honestly, unless you were developing a full-blown PHP monstrosity, loaded with features incorporating the use of a gamma of 3rd party languages, I can see no reason to use an IDE.
To each their own though…

Kate ~ best text editor for those of us who use KDE :)

Vitek Dec 22 2008

Voting for Kate :)

Rokurosv Jan 02 2009

I’m a Komodo Edit fan, it has all I need built right in, browser, code highlight, color schemes, ftp support, snippets, macros, custom commands, add-ons. It’s not the most lightweight editor out there, but it’s just fun writing code in it. Plus it has Emacs/Vi keybindings emulation so it’s flexible to Emacs users, like me.

Mark F Jan 08 2009

Another vote Vim. If you don’t like the learning curve, there’s always Cream. But your failure to include Vim leaves me wondering why. It’s a pretty glaring omission.

Is there a really fricken bad echo in here or what?

Offshore Website Development Jan 25 2009

Awsome Write up, i actually did switch to NOTEPAD++ :).

bzzy.bee May 01 2009

After going through multitudes of editors, I finally settled on Boxer. Not free, but the macro language is smooth and easy to learn, similar to java and C.
I am “basically” a BASIC programmer, and java makes my head hurt, so I am still looking for the right integration. Lot of vim lovers here. Hmmmm. Still using PSPad, after 10 years.
That should say something…..

vim is by far the best editor, and yet it doesn’t even get a mention? outrageous!

robert Jul 07 2009

I have used notepad ++ for a few years but it sucks. It really screws php up. I can type exactly the same thing in regular notepad and save it upload it and it works fine, but the same exact code in notepad++ screws up, I get php warnings.
I am guessing it is an encoding issue, I mean i can copy and paste from a working file to notepad++ and save it try to view it and get warnings
I am on the search for a text editor that does not have bugs, I create hundreds and hundreds of php files and when I get warnings and it is not from my code it pisses me off.

Jacob Jul 13 2009

You gotta be kidding me! Where is Intype?

xavier Jul 13 2009

I use PSPad ( for all my developer works. It’s rare for me that it isn’t in the list.

For PC, which one can complete the tag when you start typing: </ – like dreamweaver does? I usually work using textpad and notepad++ but they don’t complete end tags for you.


Andibad Jul 15 2009

yeah, i used totaleditstandart, notepad++, is perfect text editor, and freeware, but i used ultraedit at home, is i buy it, is very fast and many feature i put it.

Martin Majling - Aug 11 2009

Hello people

PSPad is a freeware programmer’s editor for Microsoft Windows operating systems, useful for people who:

* work with various programming environments
* like highlighted syntax in their source code
* need a small tool with simple controls and the capabilities of a mighty code editor
* are looking for a tool that handles plain text
* want to save time – PSPad offers rich text formating functions
* need tool what offer user extension capabilities
* want to save money and still have the functionality of professional products because PSPad is free for commercial and government purposes too

Martin Majling - Aug 11 2009

sorry link to PSPad homepage :-)

notepad++ is the most usefull and popular text editor on windows.

pikachu Jan 01 2010

vim > emacs anyday.
Where’s Geany? it’s my second favourite

kevincheung Jan 07 2010

I’ve been using Navicoder for a year and love it a lot.

Thanks for this site, both the list of editors and the comments have been most helpful. I’m going to try notepad++ and PSPage after what I’ve read here.

Gordon Glas Jan 26 2010

In Windows, I use Notepad++. In Mac OS-X I use Smultron. TextMate has horrible east asian language support if you can call it support at all. TextMate also isn’t free. jEdit is just horrid. It’s just too bad that no one seems to be maintaining Smultron anymore.

Markushi Mar 18 2010

I use PSPad Editor, it has a lot of cool features and it’s free!

I am a pspad user now after using Notepad++ and a few other good but intrusive, spy editors I caught them doing unspecified acts.

I’ve stopped using the following:

My firewall software kept on catching these nasty critters sneaking out to the net without permission.

PSPAD seems to adhere to no spyware for now. That’s a blessing since it is one of the fasting loading ones too.

SCITE – worst experience with an editor. not easy to configure, its documentation is really bad, it should have an example for each of its parameter to show you how to use it. to get it to run a program through a shortcut feels like pulling tooth. by contrast to set the same feature in other editors is a breeze. rating 1/5

PSPAD – doesn’t have code folding ability. in today’s world this is a basice functionality. if you don’t have it, then you are just a text editor, not a programer’s editor.

crimson – good editor – same as pspad, no code folding. wery light and fast.

context – good editor – same as crimson. no code folding. very small and fast. sometimes the bracket matching highlight seems not work.

I have used content on Windows and like it because of its lightweight no- nonsense approach.

The reason i am on this site is to look for an alternative to Komodo as I am currently using it on my Mac. I have had too many issues with it crashing and at times inexplicably allows me to start typing in one file and end up in the middle of another. Its utter rubbish, it is too bloated taking forever to open and close.

When all I want to do is code php, I do not need constant updates unrelated to my needs. Komodo is sh!te….. the best editors are those that try and keep it simple

Satya Prakash Jun 22 2010

I thought that i will get here report about encoding. I am looking for free editor who encoding support is the best.

Tollef Jun 29 2010

ed is the standard text editor.

nice list. Thanks!!!!!

Christa Jul 13 2010

Thank you for this great list!!! Very helpful =]

Annie17 Jul 25 2010

I use an editor online, very funcional and free.
Try , its free and simple to work on it.

Endless Battle Jul 28 2010

@Annie17, Most online editors are not realy text editors, they are WYSIWYG editors, so it doesn’t count, unless you use it strictly in source mode, in that case, you may as well use ms notepad.

I have used notepad++ for about forever, however, I have started using vim and like it very much so.

notepad —

wrongite Dec 28 2010

I think Komodo Edit is the best la.

Airdrie Painters Dec 30 2010

I am currently learning the CodeIgniter framework. Prior I just used Dreamweaver for coding but in a video tutorial saw a program where it was helping the instruction fill in code. I am guessing by this article that it is Notepad++. Anyone suggest a website where I can learn the program quickly? I hope to use it with CI Framework to rebuild my Airdrie painting website.

BalaBoyBlue Jan 15 2011

EditPlus is the only one for me on Windows.

Because of more and more cross platform work I may consider Vim – which I like but I am still getting my head (fingers?) around it ;-)

Pratheesh Jan 18 2011

been using PSPad for a few years. absolutely brilliant.

rizkipratama Jan 31 2011

nice list… :)
I use SciTE, very simple and convenient to use for me
already two years I still wear it

I have heard that CodeIgniter is Great for PHP. Apatna Studio is Really Good for front-end web app dev, JS, JS Libraries etc.

Julian61 Feb 12 2011

Great review.
One thing I wish was included is whether given editor is a portable
application in its OS, or does it require installation.

Being a SW app engineer, I travel across many customers,
and usually installing custom app in their environment is not an option.

So far I found simple editor PFE to be the only one I could simply run off a memory stick.

aSeptik Feb 26 2011

nice article, although, i don’t want bump the 3d but do you have tried PSPad –

Rick McKnight Jun 13 2011

Notepad++ also has a Portable version with all features of Notepad++ including support for multiple languages and an extensive plugin system, but without nothing to install.

And there are literally dozens more portable text editors.

iHunger Aug 10 2011

PowerSE ( is a good free PowerShell and XML editor.

BillH Oct 07 2011

PSPad was left off? Granted, it’s Windows-only, but I left both Crimson Editor and ConTEXT editor in favor of PSPad. It’s got nearly all of the features of UltraEdit, but is free. Plus there are a ton of plugins.

In all distros of Linux, I prefer Kate. Simple, clean, and fast.

what about vim/gvim ?! Your list is deficient without vim/gvim.

Nicolas Nov 04 2011

What about aptana.
i use apptana at the job,
im programing php and it the best open source.

Komodo isnt free anymore

Charles Pergiel Dec 11 2011

Notepad++ doesn’t do Linux. I still use archaic AEDIT occasionally because it can do things most graphical editor developers have not even deamt of. I tried Emacs once. It was insane. Windows Notepad is too feeble for words. I’m still looking for something decent that will work on both Windows and Linux.

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