12 Excellent Free Text Editors for Coders

Nov 13 2008 by Jacob Gube | 240 Comments

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.

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November 13th, 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..


November 14th, 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.


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

What, no Vim?

Damian Deile

November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 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

November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

okay guys, what about vi/vim?


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 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)


November 14th, 2008

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

Cesar Noel

November 14th, 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).


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

You forgot Kate!!


November 14th, 2008

Vim over emacs any day…


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

You forgot geany!

Jarek B

November 14th, 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.


November 14th, 2008

I use Geany !


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

Nice list.

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


November 14th, 2008

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

Tim Jones

November 14th, 2008

There is a port of Bluefish for Windows, as well: http://code.google.com/p/bluefish-win/. 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)

November 14th, 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

November 14th, 2008

I agree, VIM definitely needs to get in.


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

Sublime Text is an awesome editor.

PS3 Trophies

November 14th, 2008

I use Crimson Editor here.


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 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.


November 14th, 2008

How could you not include Notepad2?


November 14th, 2008

vim vim vim !


November 14th, 2008

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

Magic One

November 14th, 2008

Gvim for Linux and Windows!!!!


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

No mention of Vim or Quanta+?

Evan Carroll

November 14th, 2008

decent troll at least.


November 14th, 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

November 14th, 2008

FYI – Geany is better than Bluefish


November 14th, 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

November 14th, 2008

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

Andrew Wright

November 14th, 2008

+1 vim


November 14th, 2008

Hrmm, me wnats smultron for linux :/


November 14th, 2008

no love for programmer’s notepad??


Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen

November 14th, 2008

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

Mark Sanborn

November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

http://www.intype.info > 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 )


November 14th, 2008

WTH? no one knows EDITPLUS wth?

editplus rullaz


November 14th, 2008

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.


November 14th, 2008



November 14th, 2008

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.


November 14th, 2008

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

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


November 14th, 2008

macvim, gvim, VIM VIM VIM

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

Lisandro Grassini

November 14th, 2008

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

Hubert Łępicki

November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

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



November 14th, 2008

This list really needs Text Mate(mac).


November 14th, 2008

re: Textmate

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


November 14th, 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.


November 14th, 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.


November 14th, 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.


November 14th, 2008

I use Gedit on Gnome/Linux but on windows boxes I think the best is PSPad (http://www.pspad.com/)

Zachary Berry

November 14th, 2008

What about Eclipse?! Eclipse!!!!!


November 14th, 2008

Geany for Linux (the best)

Kid Tough DVD Player

November 14th, 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!


November 14th, 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 (http://intype.info).

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. :)


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

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.


November 14th, 2008

geez, how do you not include vim?


November 14th, 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.


November 14th, 2008


/end gnome fanboism


November 14th, 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.


November 14th, 2008

I’m a big fan of kate


November 14th, 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

November 14th, 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”.


November 14th, 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


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

I used PSPad every day! My favorite by far.

S Kumar

November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 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.


November 14th, 2008

I use gvim, eclipse, and crimson editor.


November 14th, 2008

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.


November 14th, 2008



November 14th, 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?


November 14th, 2008



November 14th, 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

November 14th, 2008

Notepad2 (http://www.flos-freeware.ch/notepad2.html) is a great editor for Windows.


November 14th, 2008

I use Notepad2.


November 14th, 2008

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.


November 14th, 2008

+1 for Vim.

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


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 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


November 14th, 2008

also notepad++ when i’m in wintendo


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 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.


November 14th, 2008

EditPlus gets my vote as well!


November 14th, 2008

I use Geany :D It rocks!


November 14th, 2008

Aptana for main thing and Notepad2 for quick edit.


November 14th, 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.


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 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!


November 14th, 2008

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

Programmers notepad !

November 14th, 2008

How come Programmers Notepad was left out! – http://www.pnotepad.org


November 14th, 2008

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. http://www.pspad.com/


November 14th, 2008

textmate FTFW


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 2008

Hey, forgot Quanta+ on linux! rulz!


November 14th, 2008

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


Mike V.

November 14th, 2008

EditPad Lite, although I use the Pro version



November 14th, 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.


November 14th, 2008

Crimson Editor has column select, which is very useful.


November 14th, 2008

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


November 14th, 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 :)


November 14th, 2008

I have to agree, vim all the way

James Hudnall

November 15th, 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.


November 15th, 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

November 15th, 2008

What about Taco HTML Edit for Mac?


November 15th, 2008

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

JIm White

November 15th, 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

November 15th, 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.


November 15th, 2008

You forgot the best of the best: Geany !


November 15th, 2008

Notepad++ is the best on this list.


November 15th, 2008

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


November 15th, 2008

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

Online hry zdarma

November 15th, 2008

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


November 15th, 2008

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


November 15th, 2008

No vim and kate. this post is incomplete


November 15th, 2008

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

Jennifer Kyrnin

November 15th, 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

November 15th, 2008

Intype is also a really good one for windows – http://intype.info


November 15th, 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.



November 16th, 2008

Why not gVim

Farid Hadi

November 16th, 2008

Thanks for the list.


November 17th, 2008

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


November 17th, 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 :)


November 17th, 2008

Nice list, but… EditPlus! :)


November 17th, 2008

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


November 17th, 2008

Eclipse for coding – nothing better.

And for quickly open all other stuff i use…

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


November 17th, 2008

SciTE all the way!


November 17th, 2008

GurX is the best editor.. gurx.net

Smart Ascii

November 17th, 2008

copy con: filename.ext

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


November 18th, 2008


Piotr Godek

November 18th, 2008

Geany, don’t forget about Geany :)

MK Owens

November 19th, 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

November 19th, 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

November 19th, 2008

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


November 20th, 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.


November 20th, 2008

WIN: pspad
Linux: geany, gedit, gvim


November 20th, 2008

You forgot the best..PSPAD

Darguz Parsilvan

November 20th, 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.



November 20th, 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.


November 20th, 2008

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


November 22nd, 2008

Quanta Plus, or me is the best.


November 22nd, 2008

notepad++ is my choice


November 23rd, 2008

PSPAD !!!!!


November 25th, 2008

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


November 25th, 2008

wheres emacs @

Michael Rice

November 25th, 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.


November 25th, 2008

Quanta. The Best. Easy.


November 25th, 2008


VIM Sucks

November 26th, 2008

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


November 26th, 2008

Textpad nor ultraedit are free. I use PSPad


November 26th, 2008



November 27th, 2008

I use notepad2


November 28th, 2008

I find your lack of vim disturbing


November 30th, 2008

pspad rocks :)


November 30th, 2008

What about EmEditor? Love it.


December 1st, 2008

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


December 8th, 2008

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.


December 11th, 2008

notepad++ is all i need…

Akash Kava

December 12th, 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

December 14th, 2008

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


December 14th, 2008

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


December 14th, 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…


December 15th, 2008

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


December 22nd, 2008

Voting for Kate :)


January 2nd, 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

January 8th, 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.


January 23rd, 2009

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

Offshore Website Development

January 25th, 2009

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


May 1st, 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…..


June 2nd, 2009

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


July 7th, 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.


July 13th, 2009

You gotta be kidding me! Where is Intype?


July 13th, 2009

I use PSPad (http://www.pspad.com) for all my developer works. It’s rare for me that it isn’t in the list.


July 13th, 2009

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.



July 15th, 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 - 23psd.com

August 11th, 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


September 14th, 2009

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


January 1st, 2010

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


January 7th, 2010

I’ve been using Navicoder http://www.navicoder.com for a year and love it a lot.


January 10th, 2010

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

January 26th, 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.


March 18th, 2010

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



April 1st, 2010

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.


April 3rd, 2010

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.


April 8th, 2010

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

June 22nd, 2010

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


June 29th, 2010

ed is the standard text editor.


June 30th, 2010

nice list. Thanks!!!!!


July 13th, 2010

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


July 25th, 2010

I use an editor online, very funcional and free.
Try http://www.online-html-editor.net , its free and simple to work on it.

Endless Battle

July 28th, 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.


October 1st, 2010

notepad –


December 28th, 2010

I think Komodo Edit is the best la.

Airdrie Painters

December 30th, 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.


January 15th, 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 ;-)


January 18th, 2011

been using PSPad for a few years. absolutely brilliant.


January 31st, 2011

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


February 3rd, 2011

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


February 12th, 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.


February 26th, 2011

nice article, although, i don’t want bump the 3d but do you have tried PSPad – http://www.pspad.com

Rick McKnight

June 13th, 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.


August 10th, 2011

PowerSE (http://powerse.com) is a good free PowerShell and XML editor.


October 7th, 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.


October 10th, 2011

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


November 4th, 2011

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


November 20th, 2011

Komodo isnt free anymore

Charles Pergiel

December 11th, 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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