You know how marketers use blogging tools like Grammarly and Hemingway to spell check their posts and improve their readability? Developers use similar tools — known as code editors — to help them write and improve their code. 

Ideally, a code editor will provide at least the basic functionality you need to write code faster and easier, like syntax highlighting and auto-completion. While such a basic editor might be ideal for beginner coders, experienced coders will likely prefer a more advanced editor.

Below we’ll cover what a code editor is and key features you can expect. Then, we'll look at code editors that range in functionality, price, and purpose so you can pick the one that best suits your experience, budget, and business. Let’s get started.

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What is an HTML editor?

An HTML editor is a type of software that helps web developers create and edit HTML code so they can build web applications faster and easier. There are two types of HTML editors: WYSIWYG editors and text editors.

WYSIWYG editors are great for first-time website builders because they display what the website will look like on the front end to your visitors. This type of editor will often have a drag-and-drop interface so you can add, delete, and modify headings, images, and other elements on the page without writing or editing a single line of code. 

Text editors, on the other hand, do not show what your website will look like on the front end. They also require you to write and edit code instead of dragging and dropping elements on the page. However, text editors do offer features like autocompletion and error detection to help you write code better and faster.

Let's take a look at these and other key features that users should look for when evaluating HTML and CSS editors. 

HTML and CSS Editor Features

Every HTML and CSS editor is unique, but most share common features that make it easier and faster to code web applications. Let's take a closer look at these features.

Autocompletion

One of the best features of HTML and CSS editors is autocompletion. With autocompletion, the code editor automatically suggests how to complete a line of code as you write. These suggestions are based on language semantics and your existing code.

The suggestions for possible completions of the line of code will narrow down as you type. 

Visual Studio Codes Intellisense autocompleting a line of code as user writes

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Syntax Highlighting

A code editor uses syntax highlighting to display code in different colors and styles in order to make it easier to read. For example, if the text file is being written in JavaScript, then the code editor will highlight keywords, strings, and comments in different colors.  

syntax highlighting in Sublime Text Editor

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Error Detection

Some code editors will automatically scan for, detect, and highlight syntax errors, or spelling and punctuation errors in your code. This will help you catch and fix any mistakes before you run your code. 

syntax error underlined in red in Visual Studio Code editor

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Search and Replace

When building out a web application, you'll be working with lots of code. If you need to find a particular piece of code and replace it, you don't want to have to go through every single line manually. That's why code editors offer search and replace tools: you can find and replace a variable or another piece of code all at once. 

Notepad find and Replace tool

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Split-Screen View

When writing code, you may want to edit and view multiple files at once, or multiple parts of the same file. You can with a code editor that offers a split-screen view, like Notepad++.

Notepad++ in split screen view with user editing two files at onceImage Source

Customizable Interface

Some code editors offer a customizable user interface so you can tweak it according to your preferences and workflow. For example, you may opt for a ribbon menu or a simpler toolbar that shows your most commonly used features.

Ultraedit user customizing toolbar

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Integrated FTP capabilities

When using a code editor, you may need to make quick edits to a file on a server. In that case, you want a code editor with integrated FTP capabilities. That way, you can work with remote files and interact with servers from a single application.

BBEdit user accessing file on server using integrated FTP client

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The best HTML and CSS editors will provide the functionality you need to write code correctly — and to write it faster thanks to autocompletion. Ideally, this type of editor will provide a clean interface, the features you need, and work in your preferred operating system.

Below we’ll take a closer look at the best-rated editors on G2.

1. UltraEdit

Search and replace tool in UltraEdit, one of the best HTML editor

G2 Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

UltraEdit is designed to be an all-in-one solution. It solves every challenge a developer or IT professional faces: programming and project management, text data and record reformatting, data sorting, large file manipulation, remote file operations, advanced file searching, and more.

That means it’s ideal for advanced users working on their own or in enterprise companies. It’s not for beginners or hobbyists, and the price reflects this. 

Pros

  • A feature-rich, comprehensive solution for developers and IT professionals
  • Can easily handle large file edits without impacting performance
  • Effective search and organization functionality
  • Integrated FTP client
  • Live preview feature 

Cons

  • Steepest price point on this list
  • Some users cite minor UI flaws

Operating Systems

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux

Price

UltraEdit is available as a subscription or a one-time purchase. Subscriptions are $79.95 and $99.95 annually. One-time purchases are $119.95 and $189.95.

2. NoteTab

Inserting image tag in NoteTab, one of the best HTML editor

G2 Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars

NoteTab gives you complete control over your HTML code and speeds up the creation process. With this editor, you can insert tags and other HTML code from a toolbar, drag and drop code snippets from a list to your document or insert them using a keyboard, and use the auto-complete feature to insert tags as you type. There’s also a multilingual spell checker included and a customized input controller for syntax highlighting.

What really sets NoteTab apart is that it’s the only HTML editor offering support for Bootstrap CSS. This will enable you to build a Bootstrap site faster with NoteTab than with any other editor.

Some drawbacks are that NoteTab does not support Git. It also currently only offers syntax highlighting for HTML, XML, and CSS files, so this is not for you if you’re working with JavaScript, PHP, or some other programming languages.

Pros

  • Flexible enough to support the needs of a range of developers
  • Large extension library for further customization
  • Clipbook feature for saving, re-using, and organizing frequently used  code snippets
  • Supports the Bootstrap CSS framework

Cons

  • Only highlights HTML, XMS, and CSS syntax
  • No Git integration

Operating Systems

  • Windows

Price

NoteTab is available as a free light version and as a paid version, which retails for $39.95.

3. Notepad++

Spell check in Notepad++, one of the best HTML editors

G2 Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars

Notepad++ is a free, open-source code editor that’s specifically designed for novice programmers. Like other code editors, it offers syntax highlighting and autocorrect. What sets Notepad++ is how many languages it supports, how many files you can load and work on simultaneously, and how lightweight it is.

In addition to HTML and CSS, Notepad++ supports 75 other programming languages. You can open up different file formats in these different languages at the same time and make edits without having to worry about using a ton of CPU power or causing slow load times.

Some limitations make this editor less than ideal for some users. First, Notepad++ only works for Microsoft Windows. That means, if you’re working on any other operating system, like macOS for example, then you’ll have to use another editor. Second, Notepad++ does not offer support for Git. If you want to push code to a repository directly frfom your editor, you’ll also be better off using an alternative.

Pros

  • Free and open-source
  • Lightweight and fast
  • Supports a wide range of programming languages
  • Completely customizable UI

Cons

  • Somewhat outdated interface
  • No Git integration

Operating Systems

  • Windows

Price

Notepad++ is free.

4. Sublime Text

interface for the html and css code editor sublime text

G2 Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Sublime Text is like the Notepad++ for macOS users with sophisticated needs. It’s compatible with multiple programming languages like Notepad++. It offers the standard features that Notepad++ offers — and so much more, including cross-platform support, split editing, and multiple-selection editing. In exchange for this power and flexibility, you’ll have a steeper learning curve.

For example, you can use a variety of keyboard shortcuts to quickly execute tasks in Sublime Text — as long as you can remember them. You can customize virtually everything in the editor, from key bindings to menus to snippets and more — as long as you have the time.

All of these features are included in the free version of Sublime, but this version eventually starts displaying popups prompting you to purchase a premium license.

Pros

  • Sleek, simple, user-friendly interface with customizable color coding
  • Split-screen editing and multiple-selection editing
  • Built-in file organizer for easy navigating and locating

Cons

  • Paid version is pricey
  • Free version occasionally prompts you with pop-ups to purchase the pro version

Operating Systems

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux

Price

Sublime Text is available as a free version, or you can purchase a license for $80.

5. TextPad

Searching text in TextPad, one of the best HTML editors

G2 Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

TextPad is a simple and intuitive editor for Windows that’s ideal for plain text files. Its interface can seem austere when compared to others, but that’s purposeful. It’s designed to be so simple that you can use it right away.

TextPad allows you to edit multiple files simultaneously, drag and drop text between files, indent blocks of text, split or join lines, insert whole files, and undo and redo any changes. TextPad also comes with a customizable toolbar and built-in file manager so you can easily copy, rename, or delete, files.

It’s not updated as often as other editors on this list, which can make the product feel more stagnant.

Pros

  • Simple and intuitive for both new and savvy programmers
  • Capable of simultaneously editing multiple files and dragging code between them
  • Offers user interface in nine languages

Cons

  • Infrequent updates
  • Somewhat antiquated interface

Operating Systems

  • Windows

Price

TextPad is $16.50 for one license. However, TextPad also lets users download beta versions for free to test them.

6. BBEdit

Searching text in BBEdit, , one of the best HTML editors

G2 Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

BBEdit is an HTML editor for macOS that offers a free and premium version. It makes it easy to create, import, and edit files and to search for and replace text across multiple files. With this editor, you can also compare two text files and analyze them to find any missing, extra, or similar text between them.

It’s ideal for developers looking for basic functionality. For anything beyond that, like error checking and debugging, you’ll need a more advanced editor.

Pros

  • Basic but capable user interface is ideal for those looking for a simple tool
  • Contextual text coloring
  • Handy file comparison feature

Cons

  • Some users have reported occasional performance issues

Operating Systems

  • Mac

Price

BBEdit is available as a free version and a paid version, which retails for $49.99.

7. Komodo IDE

interface for the html and css code editor komodo IDE

G2 Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Komodo IDE is a unique code editor because it also serves as an integrated development environment (or IDE for short). Your workflow will improve with this editor because it is a two-in-one editor and debugger. Python, PHP, Perl, Go, Ruby, Node.js, and JavaScript are all supported languages in Komodo IDE.

Live previews are one of many benefits of this HTML editor. Instead of flipping back and forth between tabs, you can edit and test all in one screen. With automatic saving, you'll never have to wait before reviewing a preview of your work.

This free tool was developed by ActiveState which also provides language distributions like ActivePerl and ActivePython if you need an enterprise coding solution along with the HTML editor.

Pros

  • Offers an integrated development environment, not just a code editor
  • Live previews of the results of your code
  • Autosave your work
  • Efficient debugging mode
  • Ability to customize colors and syntax highlighting

Cons

  • Not ideal for those looking for a lightweight editor without an IDE component
  • Resource-intensive to operate

Operating Systems

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux

Price

Komodo IDE is free.

8. Visual Studio Code

Searching text in Visual Studio Code, one of the best CSS editors

G2 Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars

Visual Studio Code is a powerful, open-source, cross-platform editor from Microsoft. Rather than the standard syntax highlighting and autocomplete, VS Code offers IntelliSense, which provides smart completions based on variable types, function definitions, and imported modules. This makes it a powerful solution for debugging your code. VS Code also integrates with Git so you can push code to, or pull from, any hosted SCM service.

If you're looking for even more functionality, VS Code offers plenty of extensions. You can add new languages, themes, and debuggers, and connect to additional services.

One major drawback is that there’s no built-in preview tool, which can be frustrating for developers working primarily with HTML or PHP.

Pros

  • Smart code completing
  • Large extensions library for a custom solution
  • Can push to a repository directly from the editor
  • Large user base and developer community

Cons

  • Interface and options may be intimidating for newer programmers
  • No built-in preview tool; only an extension
  • Reported performance issues occasionally

Operating Systems

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux

Price

Visual Studio Code is free.

9. Atom

Downloading Teletype package in Atom, one of the best CSS code editors

G2 Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Atom is a free, open-source code editor for macOS developed by the GitHub team and maintained by the GitHub community. That means, when downloading Atom, you’ll get the entire GitHub package. That offers two major benefits: one, you can create and push code in the same place and, two, any developer can use, edit, or extend its source code.

To make it easy for developers to do this alone or together, Atom offers the Teletype package. You can think of Teletype as the Google Drive for developers. This package enables users to share their workspaces with invited collaborators who can join and make edits in real-time.

Atom has several other powerful functions, including cross-platform editing, smart autocompletion, find and replace, and a built-in package manager. Each of these enables users to easily create and make changes in their code as well as the program’s source code using whatever operating system they prefer.

Pros

  • Easy to use and learn
  • Teletype integration allows for real-time collaboration
  • Excellent autocomplete and find and replace tools
  • Many plugins available from the developer community

Cons

  • Resource-intensive so can be slow to load
  • Excessive plugins can weigh down performance further

Operating Systems

  • Windows

  • Mac
  • Linux

Price

Atom is free.

10. Edit+

Coding in Edit+, one of the best HTML editors

G2 Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

Edit+ is a premium code editor for Microsoft Windows. It supports syntax highlighting for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Java, C/C++, ASP, Perl, VBScript, Python, and Ruby on Rails. While other editors offer out-of-the-box support for more languages, Edit+ can be extended for other programming languages by submitting a custom syntax file.

With Edit+, you can upload your local files to an FTP server or edit remote files directly. Other features include spell check, autocompletion, search and replace, customizable keyboard shortcuts, tabbed document interface, and window splitting.

Pros

  • Syntax highlighting for HTML, CSS, and a handful of common programming languages
  • Split-screen code editing
  • Customizable keyboard shortcuts
  • FTP integration

Cons

  • No way to change the editor’s theme colors
  • Lacks extensive customization of other options

Operating Systems

  • Windows 10/11

Price

Edit+ is available as a free version and a paid version, which starts at $35. The exact price depends on the number of users that you need to buy a license for.

11. Bluefish

Bluefish HTML editor

G2 Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

Bluefish is a lightweight and fast open-source, multi-platform application. You can integrate external programs such as Make, lint, and HTML Tidy or even use your own program or script for advanced text processing and error detection.

If you're just starting to learn code, there's an unlimited undo and redo feature as well as in-line spell check to catch mistakes. And if your computer crashes as you work, there's auto-recovery to save your progress.

With Bluefish, you can load hundreds of files within seconds and open 500+ documents at a time. That means you'll be able to work efficiently on up to 10,000 projects at once.

Pros

  • Lightweight, fast, and free
  • Simple to use for beginners
  • Customizable toolbar with handy widgets

Cons

  • Outdated graphical user interface
  • Infrequent updates
  • Occasional performance issues when many files are opened at once

Operating Systems

  • Linux
  • FreeBSD
  • Mac
  • Windows
  • OpenBSD
  • Solaris

Price

Bluefish is free.

Choosing Your Code Editor

Since a code editor can help you create and deploy code faster, it’s a must-have for your web development toolkit. Instead of deciding what the "best" HTML and CSS editor is, pick the one with features and extensions that align with your needs.

Whether you need a basic editor with syntax highlighting and live preview options or a more sophisticated editor with an advanced find-and-replace tool and code snippet library, we hope you'll find the perfect fit among the editors we've listed above. 

Editor's note: This post was originally published in June 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.New Call-to-action

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Originally published Dec 15, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated December 15 2021

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