free text editor

The 10 Best Free Text Editors

Text editors are often provided with operating systems and software development packages, and can be used to change configuration files, documentation files and programming language source code.

This article provides basic information of 10 best free text editors that was developed to offer you the ability of conducting your development tasks in a helpful and accessible environment, providing you with numerous tools to simplify your work.

I am really curious to find out which editor works best for your particular needs. Please let me know in the comments. 

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Notepad++

free text editor

Notepad++ is a free yet an excellent text editor and source code editor which support several programming languages running under the MS Windows environment. Notepad++ supports syntax highlighting and code folding for over 50 programming, scripting, and markup languages. Allowing users to quickly reduce and expand sections of code to see the overall document. Users may also manually set the current language, overriding the extension’s default language. The program also supports autocompletion for a subset of the API of some programming languages.

Vim

free text editors

Vim is a highly configurable free text editor designed for use both from a command-line interface and as a standalone application in a graphical user interface. It is an improved version of the vi editor distributed free as charityware. The application was created to handle code and can do a lot more than just writing an email or opening a configuration file. It allows you to edit text and to save simple text files but its main function is to assist with code editing. It supports syntax highlighting and row numbering, two functions that are essential for any programmer. The users that write code for hours can change the color scheme of the interface in order to increase the code visibility.

For text editing the program includes a spell checker with multiple languages and the ability to suggest corrections for the spelling mistakes. This can also come in handy even when you are writing code since the application only checks the text that is not recognized as code. You can also quickly jump from one error to the next in order to proofread the text.

Vim is a perfect choice for programmers and developers for all kinds of text editing, and if you also find it a useful addition to your life please consider helping needy children in Uganda.

GNU Emacs

free text editor

Emacs is a portable, extensible, free text editor and does more for you than any other editor. Emacs provides commands to manage words and paragraphs, syntax highlighting for making source code easier to read, and “keyboard macros” for performing user-defined batches of editing commands. Emacs runs on several operating systems regardless of the machine type you’re using. It’s particularly good for programmers. If you use a common programming language, Emacs probably provides a mode that makes it especially easy to edit code in that language, providing context sensitive indentation and layout.

It’s not the easiest tool, but it’s definitely one of the most powerful. Emacs takes longer to start up as compared to vim and requires more memory. However, it is highly customizable and includes a large number of features, as it is essentially an execution environment for a Lisp program designed for text-editing.

Sublime Text

online text editor

Sublime Text is a brilliant freeware/commercial text editor for code, markup and prose. You’ll love the slick user interface, extraordinary features and amazing performance. It is available for Windows, OS X, and Linux and free to try, there’s no time limit on how long you can use it for free and a full license will cost you $70. One license is all you need to use Sublime Text on every computer you own, no matter what operating system it uses.

Atom

text editor

Atom is a free open-source text and source code editor for Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and Windows with support for plug-ins, Atom is written on Coffee Script and it runs on the top of Atom Shell, a framework based on Chromium and Node.

No one wants to waste time configuring their editor before they can start using it. Atom comes loaded with the features you’ve come to expect from a modern text editor. It packs a tabbed interface, multi-paned layout, easy file browser, and easy learning curve so you can get up and running with it quickly.

PSPad

text editor

PSPad editor is a freeware text editor and source editor that provides not only advanced text editing functions, but also many tools addressed to developers, regardless of the programming language they use. PsPad comes with a hex editor, CP conversion, text differences, templates, macros, spellcheck option, auto-completion, and code explorer. All things considered, PSPad is definitely one of the top choices when it comes to code and text editing applications. It is designed for beginners as well as experienced programmer and comes with a great set of features to meet anyone’s needs.

Geany

text and source editor

Geany is a lightweight cross-platform GUI based text editor using Scintilla and GTK+, including basic IDE (Integrated Development Environment) features. It is available for a wide range of operating systems, such as BSD, Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris and Windows. Among the supported programming languages and markup languages are C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, PHP, HTML, LaTeX, CSS, Python, Perl, Ruby, Pascal, Haskell, Erlang, Vala and many others.

Due to its compatibility with most common and popular languages, you can start a project from scratch using the language you are familiar with so you can later export it or even compile it with an external tool. The application lets you start off from templates with pre-built main classes, modules, as well as HTML, PHP, RB or TEX files.

In contrast to traditional Unix-based editors like Emacs or Vim, Geany more closely resembles programming editors available for Microsoft Windows such as Programmer’s Notepad or Notepad++, both of which also use Scintilla. Above all, it’s an application that shouldn’t be missing from a developer’s computer.

Eclipse

free text editor

Eclipse provides a useful set of tools for developing Web and Java applications within a friendly integrated development environment for all types of users. Generally designed in Java, but also serve as the support for building various applications in all sorts of programming languages such as C++, JavaScript, PHP, C, Perl, Fortran, Ruby, Python or even COBOL. It includes source and graphical editors for a variety of languages, wizards and built-in applications to simplify development, and tools and APIs to support deploying, running, and testing apps.

Eclipse provides plug-ins for a wide variety of features that makes it easier to create, integrate, and utilize software tools, saving time and money.

jEdit

programming editor

jEdit is a free, programmer’s text editor written in Java and runs on any operating system with Java support, including BSD, Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. jEdit beats many expensive development tools for features and ease of use, it is released as free software with full source code, provided under the terms of the GPL (General Public License)2.0. The application is highly customizable and can be extended with macros written in BeanShell, Jython, JavaScript and some other scripting languages. It is an all-purpose text editing utility which can be used for simply editing plain text as well as for checking various code types.

NetBeans

free text editor

NetBeans IDE is a free, open-source, cross-platform IDE with built-in-support for Java Programming Language. The NetBeans IDE is written in Java and can run on Windows, OS X, Linux, Solaris and other platforms supporting a compatible JVM (Java virtual machines). It provides you the complete tools to simplifying the development of Java Swing desktop applications.

NetBeans IDE is easy to install and use straight out of the box and runs on many platforms including Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Solaris. The focus of NetBeans IDE is to improve developers productivity through a smarter, faster editor, and the integration of all NetBeans products into one IDE.

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My name is Sarah Sparkle, a Web and Graphic designer. I am passionate about all things design related including web, character, and graphic design.
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  1. Luix
    January 19, 2015

    Very good list!
    What is your favorite?

  2. Josh
    January 21, 2015

    One I’ve been working with lately it’s Adobe’s brackets editor
    http://brackets.io

  3. Helmut
    January 21, 2015

    IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition. It’s fast and it’s free!
    http://www.jetbrains.org/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=983211

  4. Graham
    January 21, 2015

    I used to use Crimson Editor, but stopped using it when I found PSPad, Notepad++ and jEdit (the latter is great because it runs on just about any OS). Crimson hasn’t been updated since 2008!

    I typically use Notepad ++ or PSPad or jEdit as free editors for small jobs. Instead of Eclipse, for a heavyweight editor I would use NetBeans. On Linux, I like to use Joe on the command line.

    1. Sarah Sparkle
      January 22, 2015

      Well, I agree with you and I think “NetBeans” is a better option and should be replaced with “Crimson”, thanks.

  5. Igor
    April 28, 2015

    Sublime Text isn’t free.

    1. Sarah Sparkle
      April 30, 2015

      Sublime Text is available as evaluation software but it has no specific time limit, however a license must be purchased for continued use.

  6. Stas Ustimenko
    June 18, 2015

    I would like to recommend Codelobster

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