Text Editors

Text Editors Overview

Text editors are software programs for creating and editing plain text files. Characters typed into a text editor are encoded using a standard format and displayed as readable text. Text editors, unlike word processors, do not typically include robust formatting tools. They are used primarily to edit plain text.

Text editors are commonly used by web developers and software programmers to write and edit code. More generally, they can be used to make notes or lightweight documentation in a variety of plain-text file formats.

Text editors share many similarities with integrated development environment (IDE) software, but are not designed specifically for writing code. IDE software typically includes code compiling, language-specific documentation, integration with version control software, and other tools that accelerate development. Plugins for some text editors add IDE features, but as a general rule text editors are more lightweight and flexible. Text editors are more suitable for editing single files or small code projects, while IDE software is better suited for larger software development projects.

Top Rated Text Editors Products

TrustRadius Top Rated for 2022

These products won a Top Rated award for having excellent customer satisfaction ratings. The list is based purely on reviews; there is no paid placement, and analyst opinions do not influence the rankings. Read more about the Top Rated criteria.

Category Videos

Top 5 Free Text Editors
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When you are developing software, building out a website, or doing data science, you might find yourself struggling to choose between thousands of text editor options. We look at 5 of the most popular and go over when and why you should use each of them.

Text Editors  TrustMap

TrustMaps are two-dimensional charts that compare products based on trScore and research frequency by prospective buyers. Products must have 10 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap.

Text Editors Products

(1-19 of 19) Sorted by Most Reviews

The list of products below is based purely on reviews (sorted from most to least). There is no paid placement and analyst opinions do not influence their rankings. Here is our Promise to Buyers to ensure information on our site is reliable, useful, and worthy of your trust.

Microsoft Visual Studio Code

Microsoft offers Visual Studio Code, a text editor that supports code editing, debugging, IntelliSense syntax highlighting, and other features.

Notepad++

Notepad++ is a popular free and open source text editor available under the GPL license, featuring syntax highlighting and folding, auto-complete, multi-document management, and ac customizable GUI.

Sublime Text

Sublime Text is a highly customizable text editing solution featuring advanced API, Goto functions, and other features, from Sublime HQ in Sydney.

Atom

Atom is a free and open source text editor offering a range of packages and themes.

Brackets

Brackets is a free and open source text editor developed at Adobe under the MIT license, featuring inline editing, live preview, and a wide range of extensions.

Vim

Vim is an open source configurable text editor.

BBEdit

BBEdit is a text editor from Bare Bones software headquartered in Massachusetts.

UltraEdit

UltraEdit is a text editor from IDM Computer Solutions headquartered in Hamilton.

GNU Emacs

GNU Emacs is described as a free extensible and customizable text editor for the Lisp programming language.

EditPlus

EditPlus is a text editor for windows featuring customizable syntax highlighting, code foldin, hex viewer, and other features, from EditPlus (ES-Software) in the UK.

TextPad

TextPad is a free and open source general purpose plain text file editor, for Windows.

BlueFish Editor

BlueFish is a free and open source text editor supporting a wide range of languages, multiple document interface, powerful search tools, in-line checking and auto-recovery, and other features.

gedit

gedit is a text editor for the GNOME desktop environment.

Altova XMLSpy

The XMLSpy JSON and XML Editor from Altova is designed to give developers the tools they need to build the most sophisticated applications with its graphical schema designer, code generation, file converters, debuggers, and profilers for working with XSD, XSLT, XQuery, XBRL, and…

CoffeeCup HTML Editor

CoffeeCup Software offers the CoffeeCup HTML Editor, an HTML and CSS text and code editing option, featuring free and paid versions with more advanced features.

Komodo Edit

ActiveState headquartered in Vancouver offers Komodo Edit, a lean and open source version of their Komodo IDE product.

NoteTab

NoteTab is a text editor from Swiss company Fookes Software.

TextEdit

TextEdit is a free and open source distributed with MacOS since Apple acquired NeXT.

Overleaf
0 reviews

Overleaf is a collaborative writing and publishing system designed to make the process of producing academic papers much quicker for both authors and publishers, from Writelatex Limited in London.

Learn More About Text Editors

What are Text Editors?

Text editors are software programs for creating and editing plain text files. Characters typed into a text editor are encoded using a standard format and displayed as readable text. Text editors, unlike word processors, do not typically include robust formatting tools. They are used primarily to edit plain text.

Text editors are commonly used by web developers and software programmers to write and edit code. More generally, they can be used to make notes or lightweight documentation in a variety of plain-text file formats.

Text editors share many similarities with integrated development environment (IDE) software, but are not designed specifically for writing code. IDE software typically includes code compiling, language-specific documentation, integration with version control software, and other tools that accelerate development. Plugins for some text editors add IDE features, but as a general rule text editors are more lightweight and flexible. Text editors are more suitable for editing single files or small code projects, while IDE software is better suited for larger software development projects.

Text Editor Features

Most text editors have the following features:

  • Multiple character encoding options
  • Saving to common file formats
  • Plain-text formatting tools using tabs or spaces
  • Text folding (or code folding) to hide and reduce visible text on-screen
  • Editing in blocks or columns, multi-monitor split editing, inline editing
  • Customizable UI themes
  • Auto-complete for repeated words & functions
  • Shortcuts to quickly navigate long files
  • Plugins, extensions, and APIs to add features

Text Editors Comparison

When choosing a text editor, consider the following factors:

Complexity: Although most are user-friendly and straightforward, text editors can vary in their complexity, learning curve, and skill ceiling. Some editors, such as Vim, are aimed at power users. They have powerful features, but can be difficult to learn. For many developers and users, a straightforward text editor with plugins will be sufficient. However, businesses with complex development needs or staff that prefers a specific editor might consider a more advanced solution.

Search capability: Most editors include simple find and replace tools, but advanced searching features can be important for businesses with large files. With advanced search tools and shortcuts, developers can quickly edit multiple lines of text at once or immediately find the functions they’re looking for, even in files with many lines of text.

Editor or IDE: Although text editors can be extended to fit a wide variety of developer use cases, a dedicated IDE can save a lot of time and money if you commonly use a specific language or ecosystem. For businesses that work in a single language or specific use case, such as game development or iOS development, an IDE is often a better choice.

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Pricing Information

Text editors are typically open-source, but there are some premium options offered as monthly subscriptions ranging from $30-$100 depending on the vendor. Premium options tend to provide more customer service capabilities and support for multiple different types of devices.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do text editors do?

Text editors help users write and edit plain text and code. They are primarily used for editing small numbers of text files, but may offer a variety of plug-ins and support capabilities for more advanced development needs.

What are the benefits of using text editors?

Text editors are lightweight, flexible, and universally available on any device. They require very little setup and configuration, making it easy for any user to read and edit text files.

How much do text editors cost?

Most text editors are open-source and free. Some paid products are priced via a monthly subscription, with prices ranging from $30-$100 per month. These products typically include dedicated customer service and support.