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8 Best Text Editors For Windows, Mac, And Linux

Have you ever tried to open a document which is in a specific programming language and you are not familiar with the extension used with that document file? Have you ever seen the document files build with the extensions such as .txt, .reg, .bat, .js etc and tried to view it in a text editor pre-installed on Windows and Mac as 'Notepad' for Windows and 'TextEdit' for Macs? Are you managed to view a text version of a file that you didn’t know the format? If the answer is yes, then you are familiar with a text editor and what it is. The pre-installed text editor for Windows and Mac are not quite advanced so we are using some of the third-party applications that are available today.

Most of the text editors below need to be downloaded to your computer before you can use them, some of them are paid and many of them are free, but all of them provide their own unique set of features that set them apart from the default programs that come with Windows and Mac.

What is a text editor and why use them?

A text editor is an application that lets you open a file as a text document, something that can be useful for a number of reasons as below:
  • Create a file from scratch using a specific programming language, like an HTML or CSS file for use on a website
  • Edit or build files that end with the TXT, REG, XML, CSV, ASP, BAT, AU3, PHP, AHK, SVG, or JS file extension, among many others
  • View the text version of a file that you don't know the format for
  • Quickly remove formatting like bold, custom font types, URL hyperlinks, etc.
Please read on to find out the best Text Editors for PCs. Whether it is Windows, Mac or Linux, these text editors are going to make you productive while you code next time.

#01 Notepad++

Notepad++ is the first best alternative to pre-installed text editors for your computer.  It’s really easy to use for basic users who just need a text file opener or editor but also includes some really advanced features for those interested.

This program uses tabbed browsing which means you can open multiple documents at once and they'll display at the top of Notepad++ as tabs. While each tab represents its own file, Notepad++ can interact with all of them at once to do things like compare files for differences and search for or replace text.

You can get Notepad++ either as an installable app or as a portable app so that you can even run it from a flash drive/cloud storage service. This text editor for Windows is coming with a lot of other plugins to extend the features.

Download Notepad++

#02 Brackets

Web designers might not need an introduction to Brackets, one of the best code editors basically meant for web designing. You can also view and edit text documents using it. One appealing thing about this is the extremely clean and modern interface that it fashions. This too is a cross-platform text editor compatible with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

The interface is extremely clean and modern and feels really easy to use despite all of its advanced settings. In fact, nearly all of the options are hidden away from plain site so that it's easy for anyone to use, which also provides an extremely open UI for editing.

Brackets is available as a DEB, MSI, and DMG file for use in Linux, Windows, and macOS.

Download Brackets

#03 Komodo Edit

Komodo Edit is another free text editor with a super clean and minimal design that still manages to pack some awesome features.

Various view modes are included so that you can quickly open or close specific windows. One is “Focus Mode” to hide all of the open windows and just display the editor, and the others show/hide things like folders, the syntax checker results, and notifications.

Download Komodo Edit

#04 Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is a powerful and free text editor that you would love to use. Its design and power may make you wonder that it is an IDE, let’s get that doubt cleared, it is not an IDE! The text editor for Windows is capable of contextual code completion as it has a built-in Intellisense. In fact, a lot of features are built into this text editor to make your experience great.

There is a ‘Zen mode’ to hide all the menus and windows, so you can focus on your work on this Windows text editor. You are also getting built-in Git integration. To run your code with breakpoints and call stacks there is a built-in debugging feature. A number of keyboard shortcuts are also injected into this text editor.

Download Visual Studio Code

#05 MeetingWords

The MeetingWords text editor is vastly different than the others in this list because it runs entirely online and doesn't work like a regular editor.

Meeting Words is yet another cross-platform and free text editor, and vastly different from any of the text editors in this list. How is it different!! It runs entirely online. Though, it differs from all other online text editors also. Unlike other online code editors, Meeting Words doesn’t require you to register an account and sign in. It is as simple as opening the link and start typing.

The primary feature that makes MeetingWords a useful text editor is its collaboration function. Multiple people can edit the same document simultaneously and chat back and forth at the same time.

How this differs from other online text editors is that you don't need an account to use MeetingWords - just open the link, starting typing, and share the URL.

Visit MeetingWords

#06 Light Table

Light Table is a cross-platform text editor available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. This minimalist text editor is best suited for website development, but not limited to that.  One of the most interesting features of this text editor for Mac is the instant preview of the webpage working on, which will display on the embedded browser.

To make the most use of screen space, this code editor fashions a tabbed and pane interface. The open source text editor for Linux is a result of a Kickstarter project.  Most of the features in this text editor meet needs of users such as inline code feedback, instant testing of code, centralized plugins, and so on.

Download Light Table

#07 BlueFish

BlueFish is yet another multi-platform text editor so that whether you are a Windows, Mac OS or Linux user, you can get the benefits of this Linux text editor. This text editor for PC can handle a huge number of files simultaneously and can still keep up its speed. This lightweight text editor may overwhelm some people as it got an excess amount of tabs and toolbars. You will appreciate this text editor for the snippet support and external program integration.

If you are a web developer, this text editor gives you the ability of remote editing. You also get the features such as syntax highlighting and checking. With support for a majority of programming languages, BlueFish is one of the best code editors out there.

Download BlueFish

#08 Sublime Text

Sublime is a feature packed text editor with support for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. It’s distributed as evaluation software, or in other words, you can try it for free without any time limit. Then you might have to pay $70 to get the full license. Another attractive thing is that sublime text stays fast and responsive even on less-powerful devices. This text editor for Linux features powerful search functionality within the app. There is a distraction-free mode to help you focus, by hiding away all the clutter. You can select multiple rows and make changes to them simultaneously in the sublime text editor.

One area where this best code editor shines is the keyboard shortcuts. You will get to use a large number of keyboard commands to operate inside this text editor Mac. Moreover, you could also customize these shortcuts to your convenience and even chain the shortcuts together to achieve complex and fast operations. To open multiple documents at the same time, this best text editor has got a tabbed interface. If you wish to see where you are in the document at any point of time, look at the right side of the window and you can see the bird’s eye view of the same. The sublime text also provides plugins and add-ons for specific programming languages.

Download Sublime Text
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