An HTML editor is the first thing you need to start creating web pages using HTML and CSS. There are many free HTML editors, and choosing one of them can be a daunting task.
HTML is pretty simple and therefore you can start working with your web pages using a simple text editor such as Notepad, WordPad or any other. You can also go ahead and use one of the editors with richer functionality, such as Coffecup, Notepad ++, Brackets, Notetab or BlueGriffon. The advantage of using more advanced and functional editors is that you get more tools that can significantly speed up the process of markup and content creation.
Regardless of whether you intend to create blogs and articles that are well formatted for their browsers to read, or plan to build a fully functional website using HTML and CSS, choosing the right editor will greatly increase your productivity. Professional web developers spend a significant amount of time choosing the editor and tools that best suit their needs and contribute to productivity growth.
Which free HTML editor is good for you?
The answer to this question depends entirely on your requirements, on the product you intend to create using HTML, on your current level of knowledge of this markup language, if you intend to just learn. Since most of these editors are free, you can reduce their list to 2-3, try their basic functionality and then decide which one you like best.
In addition, almost every editor listed in this article is supported on several operating systems, including Windows, Linux and Mac, so you can not worry about compatibility.
Note that most of your editorial needs are easily met by Notepad ++ for Windows, Brackets for Mac (this editor is also supported for Linux and Windows) or Coffecup and Notetab. However, if you are planning to create a complex website, you should give preference to a full-featured development environment, such as Eclipse.
On the other hand, if you just want to play around with HTML and CSS, there are numerous online editors at your service where you can write HTML code and immediately see the result.
Let’s look at the ten best HTML editors, easy to use, with rich functionality and popular among web developers.
1. Notepad ++ (the best free HTML editor for Windows)
This editor is only available to Windows users, so if you have a Mac or Linux, then scroll further. Notepad ++ is the best free HTML editor that you can install on your Windows PC. At first glance, it is very basic, but it is one of the most difficult and at the same time easy to use editors.
Most of the great features of Notepad ++ are provided by third-party plug-ins, including PreviewHTML, HTML tag plugin for highlighting tags, Tidy2 for indentation, and many others.
Key features Notepad ++ is a tabular interface for simultaneous work with multiple files, very easy folding and syntax highlighting, customizable GUI (with a minimalist option), tables with a close button, vertical tables, multilingualism (that is, you can customize the interface in English, French, Spanish and Chinese, as well as 80 other languages).
Notepad ++ was developed by Don Ho and released in 2003. It is free for both personal and commercial use and is distributed under the GNU General Public License.
For Mac users, Brackets is an excellent alternative to Notepad ++, which we will discuss below
2. Brackets (free for Mac, Windows and Linux)
Brackets is another popular and reliable tool for web development and HTML code editing. Unlike Notepad ++, this editor is supported for Mac, Ubuntu, Debian, and Windows. It is also free for personal and commercial use (MIT license).
Brackets is easy to use and has many extensions that improve its functionality. Popular extensions:
- Emmet – speeds up writing CSS and HTML code;
- W3C validation – checks your HTML code for validity.
Brackets is a great editor with a modern minimalist design. Changes made in the code are immediately displayed in the browser. You can edit the CSS or HTML code and see how they change the look of the site in real time.
Read about Brackets here – Editor for HTML: Brackets
3. Coffecup (there is both a free and paid version)
Coffecup is arguably the best HTML editor, with both free and commercial versions. In the free there are some functions, but it is quite complicated to be listed in our list.
The key features of the free version include:
- custom toolbars
- code completion for elements, attributes and selectors,
- ready-to-use themes and templates
- HTML markup support
- FTP / SFTP support,
- drag and place function for images
- preview option,
- syntax highlighting
- a thesaurus for searching alternatives for words and more.
The paid version is not too expensive. It includes several additional functions, such as validation of HTML code and CSS, a tag library, code cleaner, dynamic spelling.
Coffecup also offers several advanced modules for working in the “mobile friendly” style, without the need to write any code, only with the help of drag and drop functions. These modules include Foundation framer, Bootstrap builder and Responsive site designer.
Coffecup has been on the market since 1996 and is used by freelancers in startups, small businesses, and web developers from large companies. This is a great tool for creating websites, web pages, newsletters, notes, formatted in HTML, content for social media.
Download Coffecup here – Coffecup Free HTML Editor
4. NoteTab (two versions, paid and free)
NoteTab is another HTML and CSS editor that offers features for fast development. This is a product of the Fookes software company, which for the last 20 years has been engaged in tools to speed up the development process.
The popularity of NoteTab is confirmed by the fact that it is used in NASA, FBU, VISA, CIA Hewlett Packard, MIT.
NoteTab has three versions, Light, Standard and Pro. The light version is distributed free of charge for individual use. It does not have all the features of the Pro version, but it supports HTML5 and CSS3 libraries, bootstrapping, HTML autocomplete, merging files into projects, HTML Tidy support, HTML to text, and also has many themes.
NoteTab can run directly from a flash drive and does not require installation on your machine. For bloggers and site content people, this editor supports word counting and SEO statistics.
5. Eclipse (free HTML editor)
Eclipse is heavyweight and maybe it’s overkill to develop in HTML and CSS, but you can use it successfully if you don’t mind installing and configuring this beast. This is a great tool if you plan to create complex sites with databases combined with other data sources, etc. Setup may take some time and require installing additional plugins.
6. HTML Online
When it comes to editing HTML code online, in a browser, nothing compares to HTML-online.com. You can start the process of writing code immediately, without downloading and installing any program, and it’s also free.
One of the advantages of this editor is the conversion of Word to HTML, so that you can copy your content from Microsoft Word files and automatically apply HTML markup to it. There is also support for Google docs, PDF, Excel, PowerPoint and many other types of documents.
This is a reliable visual editor that helps you create your web page and at the same time monitor code changes in the adjacent window. Among other functions worth mentioning is cleaning HTML code, casting table elements to a div, the search and replace option.
7. BlueGriffon (free, basic and EPUB license)
BlueGriffon comes from the home of “Disruptive Innovations SAS”. It is built on Gecko, a Mozilla engine for displaying web pages. BlueGriffon is a powerful editor that inherits most of its capabilities from Netscape, Composer, Nvu and Mozilla.
BlueGriffon has three variations, the first of which is free, the second is distributed under the base license, and the most powerful – under the license EPUB.
The free version also has a lot of things. It has black and light themes, audio, video and HTML5 forms support, CSS3 editing features include transitions, 3D and 2D transformations, SVG creation, WYSIWYG technology, google fonts manager, font squirrel font manager, support for markaun format, user interface in more than 20 languages.
8. Emacs with plugins
Emacs is one of the most favorite editors of all time. It can be used for free (GNU license). Emacs is a general purpose code editor that you can customize for your needs. Connecting free plugins turns it into a powerful code editor with rich functionality.
When it comes to editing HTML, Emacs offers an HTML mode that makes editing code very easy.
Atom is a tunable text editor from GitHub developers. Its popularity is growing very fast. This editor is free for both personal and commercial use (MIT license). The developer community is constantly monitoring the enrichment of the editor with new features.
How to turn Atom into a free HTML editor?
Atom comes with all the basic functions needed to edit the code, but to make it a fully functional HTML editor, you will need to install additional packages. Among them are Emmet, atom-html-preview, Autocomplete-plus, Atom-color-highlight, Autocomplete-CSS, linter, minimap, haml and jade.
Atom is supported for Windows, Ubuntu (Debian Linux), Fedora (from version 22), Mac, and Red Hat Linux. It is more suitable for web development than for writing content, since it is more code-oriented and needs little customization.
10. Visual Studio Community
Visual Studio Community is a fully functional development environment from Microsoft, and it is free for everyone. Visual studio offers pre-configured HTML and CSS editing functions that can be further enhanced with extensions.
Of the popular extensions, HTML Snippets, HTMLHint, HTML CSS support, Intellisense for CSS class name are worth mentioning.
Like Eclipse, the Visual Studio community is an excellent choice for complex and highly scalable sites requiring many technologies.
HTML markup language is used everywhere. There are a lot of HTML editors created long ago, but nevertheless keeping up with the times and quite suitable for web development. But there are others who are already lacking functionality and productivity. There are new editors, such as Brackets and Atom, that provide effective code editing.
Most of the editors listed in this article have their own characteristics, but they serve one purpose – the creation of web pages. They increase the speed of development and help streamline the code, while taking into account the possibility of its scaling.
Take a closer look at the options mentioned in this article, write down your key needs, shorten the list to a couple of editors, try each one and determine which one you like best. You will surely find at least one good HTML editor for Linux, Mac and Windows
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