The Best Text Editors of 2021 (for Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix, & more)

Text editors, sometimes called code editors, are an essential tool when working with code.

Modern text editors provide a host of tools and features to help you modify code such as syntax highlighting for multiple languages, built-in file uploads, error reporting, search and replace and more.

Whether you are a full time web developer, or a website owner that needs to make a few quick edits to a template, you will appreciate how useful text editors can be.

In this article, we would like to show you what we at Design Bombs consider to be the best text editors of 2021.

1. TextPad (FREE Evaluation / $27)

Platforms: Windows

TextPad is a flexible text editor for Windows that features a built-in file manager, a search and replace engine and a keystroke macro recorder.

It allows drag and drop editing between files and works well with large files too.

I have actively used TextPad since my University days in the 90s and it remains one of my favourite website applications. You can download TextPad free of charge for evaluation, but the developers ask that you upgrade for $27 if you decide to continue using it.

2. Atom (FREE)

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

Atom is an open source text editor that is available for multiple platforms. It is free to download.

It features a file system browser, find and replace and smart auto-completion. Atom also allows you to work with Git and GitHub directly within the editor.

New features and functionality can be added using its built-in package manager and it comes with eight dark and light themes.

3. Sublime Text (FREE Evaluation / $80)

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

Sublime Text is a gorgeous multi-platform text editor that has many useful shortcut commands to improve efficiency. It can be used to find code within files in seconds.

It has a dedicated package manager that helps you install thousands of community-created packages to add more features. Multi-window editing is supported too.

Sublime Text can be downloaded free of charge for evaluation. A premium license costs $80 and comes with three years of updates.

4. Espresso (FREE Trial / $99)

Platforms: Mac

Espresso is a versatile code editor for Mac that supports custom code snippets, multi-file editing and tabbed workspaces.

Dozens of plugin extensions and syntax themes are available to help you add functionality and improve the look and feel of the app. CSS editing tools are available too.

The application is available for $99.

5. Vim (FREE)

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix, iOS, Android

Evolved from the Atari ST’s popular ST Editor, Vim is flexible open source text editor that has 12 different editing modes. This includes a visual mode that highlights area of text, a command line mode and an easy mode.

Hundreds of programming languages are supported and there are a large number of plugin extensions available that add additional functionality.

6. Visual Studio Code (FREE)

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code editor is a stylish multi-platform text editor that is free to download.

It features auto-complete, syntax highlighting and debugging.

Git commands are built into the editor so that you can push and pull requests. A number of extensions are also available so that you can add new languages, themes and tools.

7. Brackets (FREE)

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

Brackets is an open source text editor that features inline editing, live previews, quick edits and live highlighting.

A host of extensions are available that add functionality such as indenting, Git integration, W3C validation and JavaScript, HTML and CSS formatting.

8. Coda ($99)

Platforms: Mac

Designed for Mac users, Coda is an useful text editor that has a built-in file and SSH manager.

It has colourful syntax highlighting, CSS overriding and advanced syncing between devices. MacBook Pro users can also switch between editor and preview mode using their laptop touch bar.

9. Code Editor ($24.99)

Platforms: iOS

Designed for iPad and iPhone, Code Editor is a beautiful text editing solution from Panic, the same company behind Coda.

It features a dual file browser, SSH terminal support and unique editing modes for Shell, SQL, Swift and more.

Code Editor is available from the Apple app store for $24.99.

10. UltraEdit (FREE Trial / $79.95 Per Year)

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

UltraEdit is a multi-platform text editor that has built-in FTP, SSH and Telnet managers.

A host of themes are included with UltraEdit and it boasts multi-code select and advanced file searching. It supports large files too and the editor has been designed to work with high resolution displays.

A 30 day free trial is available for UltraEdit. Once the trial has expired, it costs $79.95 per year.

11. BBEdit (FREE Trial / $49.99)

Platforms: Mac

Developed for Mac, BBEdit is a useful text editor that features an advanced search and replace engine and a built-in file manager and FTP manager.

A unix command-line tool is also available and there is integration support for Git, Subversion and AppleScript.

BBEdit retails at $49.99, however you can download it free of charge and test it for 30 days.

12. TextMate($56)

Platforms: Mac

Another text editor that Apple users should check out is TextMate.

It offers multiple caret editing, version control, code snippets, macro recording, folding sections and shell integration. Custom actions, custom themes and extensible bundles are also available.

Although TextMate is open source, the product is sold commercially for $56.

13. Codeshare (FREE)

Platforms: Online

Codeshare is a free online text editor that lets you write, edit and share code with friends and colleagues.

It can be used to teach code to others and share code. Many companies also use the tool to set coding tasks for interviewees.

14. CoffeeCup (FREE / $29)

Platforms: Windows

CoffeeCup is a popular HTML editor for Windows that has a large components library and a built-in W3C markup validation tool.

A split-screen preview pane allows you to see what your HTML and CSS code will generate. There is also a tags tab that has references for (X)HTML, PHP, and CSS tags.

A free version of CoffeeCup is available with less features, with the full version retailing at $29.

15. Komodo Edit & Komodo IDE (FREE)

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

Komodo Edit is a free text editor that features auto-complete, skins and icon sets and a change tracker.

Komodo IDE is a superior alternative from the same developers that has a visual debugger, version control, workflow management, syntax highlighting and a host of add-ons to extend functionality.

16. CodePen (FREE / $8 Per Month)

Platforms: Online

One of the largest coding communities online, CodePen is a free online code tool that allows users to share and test HTML, CSS and JavaScript code snippets.

The CodePen text editor looks great, highlighting syntax code with many colours.

The majority of CodePen features are free to use, however premium plans are available from $8 per month that remove advertisements and add features such as live view and unrestricted theme embedding with custom CSS.

17. Codeanywhere (FREE Trial / $2.50 Per Month)

Platforms: Online

Codeanywhere is a cloud code editing and sharing solution that lets you edit code remotely and move and copy files and folders across FTP, Google Drive, Dropbox and more.

Its text editor has syntax highlighting for over 75 programming languages and features split panes, grid mode, multiple cursors and custom themes. It also supports file revisions and has a built-in terminal console.

A 7 day free trial is available to help you test the service, with premium plans starting from $2.50 per month.

18. Notepad++ (FREE)

Platforms: Windows

Notepad++ is an open source Windows text editor that offers syntax highlighting, scripting, auto-complete, macro recording and split screen editing.

Over 140 plugin extensions are available that let you add functionality such as W3C validation, text sorting and quote handling.

The application is free to download.

19. WeBuilder ($59.95)

Platforms: Windows

Creators for Windows users, WeBuilder is a versatile code editing application that has syntax highlighting for many popular programming languages.

It features several themes, advanced search and replace, macro recording, split editing, shortcuts for code snippets and code templates, a built-in file upload manager and many code validation tools.

WeBuilder retails from $59.95. The developers are behind other text editors that are also worth checking out such as Rapid CSS Editor, HTMLPad and Rapid PHP Editor.

20. Spacemacs (FREE)

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix

Despite its name, Spacemacs is not just for Apple users. It is a multi-platform text editing solution that brings Emacs and Vim tools together.

The application features graphical and command line user-interfaces and boasts key bindings. There are many community created plugin extensions too that add functionality.

As Spacemacs is open source, it is free to download.

21. PhpStorm (FREE Trial / $199 Per Year)

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

PhpStorm is a premium text editor that provides code analysis and error prevention for programming languages such as PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other languages.

It works well with modern content management systems such as Drupal, WordPress, Magento and Joomla, and offers features such as version control, remote deployment, command line tools and advanced debugging.

PhpStorm retails at $199 for the first year, $159 for the second year and $119 for subsequent years. A 30 day free trial is available to help you test the application.

22. GNU Emacs (FREE)

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

GNU Emacs is an open source multi-platform text editor that offers syntax highlighting and a customisable graphical user-interface.

A large number of plugin packages are available that add additional functionality such as code snippets, custom themes and HTML5 schemas.

You can download GNU Emacs free of charge.

23. Bluefish (FREE)

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux

Our final recommendation is Bluefish. This lightweight editor offers search and replace, file uploads via FTP and SFTP, a snippets sidebar and code block folding.

An unlimited amount of undos and redos are permitted and Bluefish will show any mistakes you have in your code.

Bluefish is an open source application, so is free to download on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Final Thoughts

I hope you have enjoyed this look at the best text editors of 2020. If so, I encourage you to subscribe to Design Bombs. You can also get updates of our latest articles by subscribing by RSS or by following us on Facebook or Twitter.

What’s your favorite text editor?

Let us know in the comment area below 🙂


Kevin Muldoon

Kevin Muldoon is a professional blogger with a love of travel. He writes regularly about internet marketing on his personal blog and actively talks about technology on YouTube.

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