HTML editors are valuable tools for any web developer or website designer. These programs can help web developers design a website, check for errors, and experiment with different text designs and layouts. Here, we compiled a comprehensive list of the best HTML editors for Mac, Windows, and Linux systems support in 2020.
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 (either paid or free), read on to find the best choice for your operating system.
What Is an HTML Editor?
An HTML editor is a type of code editing program that allows you to write HTML (HyperText Markup Language), and some even allow you to preview the results in real-time. The preview feature of some HTML editors helps ‘validate’ the code–ensuring it’ll work when uploaded to a site.
HTML editors are created specifically for working with HTML, but some programs are multifunctional. These text-based editors allow you to experiment with various site layouts and web designs. They also allow you 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 watch the page form using trial-and-error. Text editors without a WYSIWYG function are useful for learning HTML, but time-consuming in many situations.
WYSIWYG (‘What You See Is What You Get’) HTML Editors
WYSIWYG (‘What You See Is What You Get’) 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.
WYSIWYG 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 23 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, which is why every developer needs access to a modern HTML editor.
14 Best Free HTML Editors
Here are 14 of the best free HTML editors for 2020:
- 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 allows for easy collaboration via Github connectivity.
Atom is an advanced text editor with 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.
One of Sublime Text’s key features is ‘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 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 features the essentials, plus helpful tools like live preview. These features make Brackets ideal for a wide range of text editing projects.
Many developers prefer live preview features, like those offered by Brackets. As a result, changing the style or layout of a web page is interactive, allowing users to 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, Linux, and even BSDs. 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 may be 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 free, but the full version costs $49.99 for individual use. BBEdit features powerful project integration tools, along with a whole host of other useful features.
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 WYSIWYG HTML editors available. 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, amongst other helpful functions.
Eclipse IDE, or Integrated Development Environment, is a free text editor and development resource 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 functionality, BlueGriffon is one of the best free WYSIWYG HTML editors 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 did just that; they offer an added level of usefulness that’s often worth the price.
We’ve compiled a list of the best premium HTML editors for 2020:
- Adobe Dreamweaver
- CoffeeCup HTML Editor
Adobe Dreamweaver is a multifunction web development tool that features HTML and CSS editing capabilities. This advanced tool offers a number of unusual features, such as 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 from month-to-month, 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 2020, 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.
Coda is a premium web development tool that helps users organize and manage all of their site code. Code features site-wide indexing and autocomplete, making it easy to manage classes and functions across the entire project.
The Coda UI is praised around the internet, and developers stand to gain a lot with this program. Plus, Coda takes live editing to a new level–users can edit CSS in real time, all from the program window. Coda also features direct publishing, making it easy to update a site directly from the software itself.
Ranked #1 Best Text Editor by CNET, UltraEdit is a powerful and user-friendly HTML 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 urgent–or just don’t come around enough 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. Here are the best online HTML editors available in 2020.
Codepen is an online HTML editor with many additional features. Codepen offers a rich text editor along with other useful front end development tools. For new programmers, Codepen offers ‘Professor Mode’ which includes helpful tips and coding information.
This free online tool allows users to edit and test HTML, CSS, and JS directly in a web browser. Codepen makes it easy to start coding fast, and test scripts as you go along. Access to the editor is free, but Codepen also offers a Pro version with additional advanced features.
Which is the Best HTML Editor for You?
Deciding which HTML editor is best for you can be a challenging task, but we have some advice. Depending on how much coding experience you have, each program we listed is worth consideration. For some projects, a basic no-frills HTML text editor does the job well.
For large projects with lots of code (or beginners who need to get the job done), it’s difficult to argue against a WYSIWYG program. 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.
What to Look for in an HTML Editor
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 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. Everything on this list (including paid tools) comes with a free trial, so there’s no reason not to test out more than one.