Whether you’re learning HTML or are already a seasoned user, editors are valuable tools in web development and web design. The best HTML editors help web developers design websites, check for errors, and experiment with different text designs and layouts. In this article, we have compiled a comprehensive list of the top HTML editors for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
These programs are not only popular, but they’re also well-reviewed and reliable. If you’re looking for a modern and well-designed HTML editing program, you’ve come to the right place. In addition to editors that cost money to use, we also share our picks for the best free HTML editors and the best online HTML editors.
What Is an HTML Editor?
An HTML editor is a type of code editing program that allows you to write HyperText Markup Language, or HTML for short. Some even allow you to preview the results in real time. The preview function of a real-time HTML editor is important because it allows users to validate the code, ensuring it will work when uploaded to a site.
HTML editors are created specifically for working with HTML5, but some programs are multifunctional. Whether you have an HTML5 editor or an editor that works with a range of programming languages, you should be able to experiment with various site layouts and web designs. You should also be able to correct errors and check your work before the site goes live.
There are two main types of HTML editors:
- HTML Text Editors
- WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) HTML Editors
HTML Text Editors
HTML text editors are basic programs designed for writing HTML and often check for errors as you go. These programs are useful for basic coding projects and simple HTML editing. Free HTML text editors are available online and for download on all major operating systems. Many of these programs are general-purpose and can be used for multiple languages.
Basic text editors require users to write all HTML code by hand. Users need to perfect every piece of syntax manually and use trial and error to make changes. Text editors without a WYSIWYG function are useful for learning HTML but time-consuming in many situations.
WYSIWYG HTML Editors
WYSIWYG stands for “what you see is what you get,” and WYSIWYG programs for HTML are more advanced than standard text editors. These programs are the halfway point between an instant template builder (like WordPress) and coding from scratch.
The best WYSIWYG HTML editors allow users to write out code but also edit from the page itself, piece by piece. Users insert features, such as paragraphs and headings, and the program generates HTML code automatically.
WYSIWYG editors save time and permit fast design and layout modification. WYSIWYG editors are particularly useful for creating or updating the layout of a site, as it’s easy to play around with different designs.
The 22 Best HTML Editors
There are hundreds of HTML editors available today, each with different features and capabilities. However, some programs are better than others, providing great value and functionality. It’s important to stay up-to-date in the tech industry if you want access to the best tech jobs. This is why every developer needs access to a modern HTML editor.
14 Best Free HTML Editors
The best free HTML editors are lightweight and easy to use. Your mileage may vary on some of these, but the website editors and other HTML code editing programs that made our list all have a proven track record among developers. Whether you want an HTML editor for Mac, Windows, or Linux, there’s something here for you:
- Sublime Text
- GNU Emacs
- Visual Studio Code
- Komodo Edit
- Light Table
Atom is a modern IDE and HTML code editing program for Windows, Mac, and Linux. This program comes loaded with features, including compatibility with other web development languages. This free and open source cross-platform HTML editor allows users to share projects between operating systems, and it allows for easy collaboration via GitHub connectivity.
This advanced text editor has many features that are usually limited to high-level coding programs. Atom allows developers to access numerous open source packages online, which can dramatically speed up project time.
Sublime Text is a downloadable HTML text editor for Windows, Mac, and Linux. This cross-platform tool features advanced functionality, including a proprietary command palette and syntax highlighting.
Two features that make Sublime Text one of the best HTML editors are GOTO Anything and GOTO Definitions. These features make it easy to find and replace code throughout a large coding or web content project. Sublime Text also includes a unique multi-project feature, which allows users to seamlessly switch between multiple projects.
The Sublime HTML editing program is among the best available for download, and it packs numerous practical features to make markup easier and more accurate. The program was designed in-house and includes unique capabilities that often aren’t available from other software. While the full-featured program is a paid version, it has a free version that many regularly use.
Brackets is a robust editor with numerous practical features, but without unnecessary extras to hamper user experience. This program only has the essentials, plus helpful tools like live previewing. These features make Brackets ideal for a wide range of text editing projects.
Developers love Brackets’ live preview feature because it makes the process of changing the style or layout of a web page more interactive and seamless. Users can experiment with multiple designs before applying the text to their site.
Brackets is an open-source program, which many programmers prefer. It’s available for Mac, Windows, and Linux users, and offers a pleasant and functional interface for text editing. This premium HTML text editor is available for free.
GNU Emacs is a popular real-time Linux HTML editor. It runs on multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and even BSD. It’s completely free, and it features full Unicode support, supporting type in anything from Thai to Hebrew. It also has content-aware syntax coloring, a customizable Lisp interface, the ability to extend into a full IDE, and a built-in calendar.
The star feature of Emacs is its extensibility and the ability to customize and automate your work. The Lisp-based interface allows for an amazing amount of control over the software. It also features an open channel for writing extensions and tools to do everything from autocompleting code to playing Tetris.
Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code is an advanced multi-code editing tool that comes with a range of valuable features. The program includes intelligent syntax highlighting, along with smart autocomplete with adaptive responses.
Visual Studio Code is a multi-language and multi-platform program. It works with HTML, Python, and other common programming languages. Additionally, the Visual Studio Code comes with Git built-in, allowing easy commands and SCM provider compatibility.
The free program is compatible with Microsoft Azure for easy deployment, and numerous extensions are available. Due to its laundry list of features and customizations, Visual Studio Code is one of the best HTML editors for Linux, Windows, and Mac.
BBEdit (Bare Bones Edit) is an award-winning code editing tool designed for Mac OS X users. The program is available for free, but access to the full version’s premium features costs $49.99 for individual use. BBEdit features powerful project integration tools, along with a whole host of other useful features.
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BBEdit is a professional tool by design and targets seasoned programmers and web developers. Nonetheless, beginners can gain a lot from a tool with so much flexibility and functionality. The BBEdit editing tool works with any kind of text and is especially useful for designing HTML-based web pages.
Komodo Edit, by ActiveState, is a multi-language coding text editor designed for functionality. This robust text editing tool comes equipped with many advanced features, including auto-complete, live previewing, a project wizard, debugging tools, and more.
Komodo Edit is one of the best free HTML editors available, especially among WYSIWYG editors. It includes several helpful tutorials, visual debugging capabilities, and other features that make it a truly advanced HTML editing tool. Komodo Edit is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
NetBeans, by Apache, provides a powerful code editing tool designed for HTML5 and a variety of other languages. The free NetBeans tool features templates, highlighting features, wizards, and other HTML editing tools. The program is available for Mac, Windows, Linux, and BSD.
Bluefish is an advanced code editing tool designed for experienced programmers and web developers. The free program offers HTML editing features, but it also works with XHTML, CSS, and a wide range of other coding languages. Bluefish offers project management tools, auto-complete, automatic tag-sourcing, and more.
TextMate is a powerful code editing tool for Mac OS X operating systems. The free program features all of the standard tools you’d expect, in addition to a powerful search function, bundles, snippets, and version control features. TextMate also features WYSIWYG-style live HTML previewing, among other helpful functions.
Eclipse IDE is a free integrated development environment with text editing capability for programmers. The program provides a whole host of useful features, such as cloud storage, modeling tools, and GUI builders. Eclipse users can browse through dozens of packages and customize the editor to fit their needs.
BlueGriffon is a user-friendly and advanced HTML editor with lots of features. BlueGriffon shares its rendering engine with Firefox and traces its roots all the way back to Netscape. Due to its high functionality and the WYSIWYG wizardry it makes possible, BlueGriffon is the best HTML editor of its kind available today.
Notepad++ is a free, functional, and no-nonsense HTML text editor for Windows. The program source code is C++, and it’s based on the Scintilla editing component. Notepad++ was developed as a higher-tech replacement for Microsoft Notepad while retaining the simplicity of the original program. Notepad++ is a great basic text editing tool, and it’s available for free.
Light Table is a free, high-tech code editing tool available for multiple platforms. It’s packed with features including live feedback, easy debugging, and unrestricted media embedding capabilities. Light Table has a seamless UI, making it easy to navigate and efficient to work with.
4 Best Premium HTML Editors
It’s difficult to exceed the functionality of today’s free downloadable HTML editors. However, a few programs do just that, offering an added level of usefulness that’s often worth the price. Here is a list of the best HTML editors that have paid versions, each of which might be considered the best premium HTML editor depending on what you’re looking for.
- Adobe Dreamweaver
- CoffeeCup HTML Editor
Adobe Dreamweaver is a multifunction web development tool that features HTML and CSS editing capabilities. This website editor offers a number of unusual features, such as a connection to the Creative Cloud. This makes it easy to work on a project across devices and access assets from other sources.
Dreamweaver features dynamic display tools for desktop and mobile, along with live WYSIWYG editing capabilities. Like most Adobe products, Dreamweaver features a modern and easy-to-navigate user interface. Adobe included built-in Git support, making Dreamweaver a favorite for developers who use the tool.
A free trial version of Dreamweaver is available, and Adobe offers monthly payment options to make it more affordable. A license to use the program is available monthly, annually, or prepaid.
CoffeeCup HTML Editor
CoffeeCup HTML Editor is a robust WYSIWYG tool that enables users to create and customize website code with ease. This powerful tool features HTML and CSS editing capabilities. Plus, CoffeeCup includes an interactive preview that allows users to customize attributes on the page, not just in the code. Combined, these features make the CoffeeCup HTML Editor a worthwhile investment.
As of 2023, this tool costs $29 to download. For the price, the tool includes powerful features like a live preview and WYSIWYG function, and multiple direct publishing tools. CoffeeCup also offers a free trial, and multiple responsive design packs to increase functionality.
Nova is a premium HTML editor for Mac that helps users organize and manage all of their site code. Nova features site-wide indexing, autocomplete, and flexible workflows, making it easy to manage classes and functions across the entire project.
The Nova UI is an homage to the classic Mac style, complete with a clearly marked toolbar. This feature is enough to make it the best premium HTML editor for many users. Plus, Nova also comes with built-in Build and Run capability, saving you time as you start new projects. After a free trial, Nova costs $99 for the first year and $49 for every subsequent year.
Ranked as the best HTML editor by CNET, UltraEdit is a powerful and user-friendly editing program. UltraEdit features GitHub Flavored Markdown compatibility, live preview and editing, themes, and much more. UltraEdit also permits FTP, SSH, and Telnet editing. This makes it easy to interact with servers and work with small sections of code.
4 Best Online HTML Editors
Sometimes, HTML projects are too urgent or too quick to make it necessary to download a program. Today, there are plenty of web-based HTML editors that offer plenty of useful features and get the job done just fine. If you’re in the market for a simple HTML editor, here are the best online HTML editors available:
What Are the Features of a Good HTML Editor?
Any HTML editor worth its salt will have certain helpful features. Luckily for consumers, the market for code editors is so competitive that even the best free HTML editors are likely to have the functionality that developers crave. Here are the features your editor should have:
- Clean interface. A code editor is worth little if the user interface is unintuitive and sloppy, and the best HTML editors give you the option to customize the interface according to your needs and preferences.
- Autocompletion. You want a tool that can recognize what language you’re using and complete simple commands for you. Since most code editors are compatible with more languages than just HTML, code completion is an important feature to look for.
- Syntax highlighting. Also known as syntax color coding, this feature automatically highlights different parts of your HTML syntax in different colors. Without syntax highlighting, your code will be not as easy to read over.
- Error detection. This feature takes syntax highlighting one step further, showing you when you’ve spelled something incorrectly or used the wrong expression. Error detection will allow you to catch mistakes before you’re ready to run the program.
- Find and Replace. If you’re still learning HTML, you want a Find and Replace function so that you can fix any mistakes that you’ve made repeatedly. This way, you won’t have to go back through and fix each instance one by one.
Choosing the Best HTML Editor
Deciding on the best HTML editor for you can be a challenging task. For some projects, a basic no-frills HTML editor does the job well. For large projects with lots of code, or beginners who need to get the job done, a WYSIWYG editor is best. These text editors make it easy to alter the layout of a site without worrying about syntax or spending too much time coding.
Other projects require advanced tools, especially when working on a high-profile or high-traffic website. That’s when the value of premium HTML editing tools comes in, as they provide high-level functionality and editing tools. Below is an overview of the considerations you should bear in mind when choosing an HTML editor for a specific purpose.
HTML Editors for Practice
For beginners who want to learn HTML, a basic text editor is often a good choice. These programs have no confusing features. You just type code, and the editor shows if it works. These tools allow new developers to learn the language inside and out, so they don’t have to rely on drag-and-drop programs indefinitely.
HTML Editors for Small Projects
HTML Editors for Large Projects or Existing Sites
All-Purpose HTML Editing Tools
It’s not easy to decide on a single robust all-purpose HTML editing tool, as so many features are available on the market today. Evaluate your HTML editing needs, and select a program that offers the features you think are relevant. If you can’t decide, consider downloading multiple programs and see what works best. Even the paid tools on this list come with a free trial, so there’s no reason not to test out more than one.
Which is the Best HTML Editor for You?
The best HTML editor for any given user is the one that allows them to achieve their coding goals, whether that be building a website, working on a project with a collaborator, or simply learning to code. You should choose an HTML editor that works with your operating system and includes features that will save you time and make you a more efficient coder.
Since not everyone has an unlimited budget, our list has prioritized free HTML editors. Advanced users will want to consider the paid options as well, but in reality, any of the programs in this article can lay claim to being the best HTML editor. It all depends on what you want to use it for and how it can help you advance your career or transition to a career in tech.
Best HTML Editors FAQ
The difference between HTML IDEs and HTML code editors is that the former are full sets of software development tools, of which code editors make up just one part. With an HTML editor, you can read and edit your source code in real time. With an HTML IDE at your disposal, you have an editor, a compiler, a debugger, and a sleek interface on which to work.
The best HTML editors for Mac are the cross-platform ones, meaning they can be used for Windows and Linux as well. If you own a Mac and want a reliable HTML editor for Mac, you can’t go wrong with Atom, Komodo Edit, or Brackets. If you need something with a few extra features, check out NetBeans, an open-source IDE with all the trappings.
You need an HTML editor when you have to build websites more quickly and efficiently. Even a simple free editor can save you time, and a more robust one can streamline your coding process to the point of actually making you a better coder. If you’re serious about improving your coding skills, your development toolkit really should include a code editor.
Typically, the same editors used for HTML can be used for CSS as well. This is because HTML and CSS go hand-in-hand in web development and web design. A good CSS editor, in other words, is one that tends to be favored by front end developers. The best CSS editors for front end development are Visual Studio Code, Brackets, Atom, and Sublime Text.
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My best HTML editor is Codelobster – http://www.codelobster.com
Sadly. Coda is no longer, it’s been replaced with Nova which is sold on a subscription bases, sadly lots of basic stuff is not working on Nova, which happens when you try to stuff too much into a program.
Shame really, Panic used to make really good software.
Good point, Michael! Just recently learned Nova has replaced Coda. I tried it out, and it does have a pretty slick UI, but it’s unfortunate that it’s not working with previous Coda features. That said, we’ll update this article accordingly. Cheers!
I don’t believe Adobe offers a prepaid option for Dreamweaver anymore, just a perpetual monthly fee (either paid monthly or with a annual commitment), which gets to be very expensive after a while.
Thanks for that feedback, Don. We will investigate further. Cheers!