Alex Marshall Alex Marshall is a marketeer, web developer and designer. He also likes retro technology, classic cars and in his spare time enjoys travelling.

Do you need to process or display PDF files?

Find out why you should be using IDRSolutions software

Top 11 Open Source & Freeware Code editors for Coders, Web Developers and Programmers

5 min read

Looking for a multi-purpose code editor
Looking for a multi-purpose code editor

Lately at IDR Solutions I have found myself spending a lot of time coding as I’m currently busy with web development tasks such as designing new features for our website and our blog. To complete this task quickly and efficiently, I found that a good code editor with which I could modify HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP could greatly simplify my work. Previously I looked at  ‘The 10 Best Android Apps for Designers and Web Developers‘ and The 10 Best Windows Phone 8 & Windows RT Apps for Designers and Web Developers to try and find a suitable editor. They did not exactly cover what I was looking for, so I thought it would be great to test and compile a list of Open Source and Freeware Code Editors that can be used by Coders, Web Developers and Programmers.

1. Notepad ++

Notepad++ is a free source code editor released under a GPL License, and it supports several languages. It presently supports the Microsoft Windows platform and is written in C++ and uses pure Win32 API and STL which ensures a higher execution speed and smaller program size.

NotePad ++ is fully featured and comes with a Tabbed Document Interface so you can work on multiple files at once and has useful little features such as: drag and drop functionality, split screen, spell checking, auto completion, syntax highlighting, folding bookmarks, customization of shortcut key mapping and more.

Notepad++ as of version 6.6 has support for 56 different languages (Ada, asp, Assembly, AutoIt, Batch, C, C++, C#, Caml, Cmake, COBOL, CoffeeScript, CSS, D, Diff, Flash ActionScript, Fortran, Gui4CLI, Haskell, HTML, INNO, Java, Javascript, JSP, KiXtart, LISP, Lua, Makefile, Matlab, MS-DOS, INI file, NSIS, Normal Text File, Objective-C, Pascal, Perl, PHP, PostScript, PowerShell, Properties, Python, R, Resource file, Ruby, Shell, Scheme, Smalltalk, SQL, TCL, TeX, Visual Basic, VHDL, Verilog, XML, YAML).

2. jEdit

jEdit is a free open source text editor available under the GNU General Public License version 2.0.  It supports BSD, Linux, Mac OS X and Windows and is written in Java thus allowing it to run on all the previously mention systems because of Java being multi-platform.

jEdit supports syntax highlighting that provides native support for over 200 file formats.

It is relatively modular in design and can be customized to suit the individual user. There are over 150 available jEdit plug-ins that can be used to enhance your coding experience. A few examples include a XML/HTML editor or an integrated development environment (IDE). Plugins can be downloaded and installed via the “plugin manager” feature.

3. Crimson Editor

The Crimson Editor is available as Freeware made by Ingyu Kang and is a professional source code editor designed for Windows, and has been designed for speedy loading. It also offers many powerful features for programming languages such as HTML, C/C++, Perl and Java. Crimson Editor features Windows shell integration, a tabbed document interface, syntax highlighting, multiple undo/redo, column mode editing, bracket matching, auto-indentation, spell checking, direct editing of text files in FTP and can be integrated with different compilers. Crimson Editor also supports the use of macros.

Crimson Editor however has not been updated since 2008 and as been superseded by Emerald Editor but it can still be downloaded and used.

4. Emerald Editor

The Emerald Editor was designed to be a fast, extensible text editor, heavily inspired by Crimson Editor, a freeware text editor created by Ingyu Kang.

It offers similar functionality and is Open Source unlike Crimson Editor and is available under a LGPLv2 license. It supports all of the features of Crimson Editor  but is in a position to further maintain, bug-fix, and otherwise develop the software further in the future.

5. Brackets

Brackets is a free open-source editor developed and released under a MIT License. It was created by Adobe Systems and maintained on GitHub. Brackets is available for cross-platform download on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Brackets has a variety of features including quick Edit, quick Docs, Live Preview, JSLint, LESS support, Theseus integration, and enables inline editing of CSS, Color Property, and JavaScript elements for developers. There is also a really cool feature that allows you to edit color properties, with an inline color picker with previewing and color adjustment functionality.

6. Komodo Edit

Komodo Edit is a free text editor for programming languages. It was introduced in January 2007 as a complimentary product to the commercial Komodo IDE. Komodo Edit is built atop the Open Komodo project which utalises the Mozilla and Scintilla code base and supports the same languages (including Python, Perl, PHP, Ruby, Tcl, SQL, Smarty, CSS, HTML, and XML) and operating systems (Linux, OS X, and Windows).

Komodo Edit is extendable via plug-ins (which are based on Mozilla Add-ons) and extensions including: a functions list, pipe features, additional language support and user interface enhancements. They also have a GITHUB page. Komodo Edit is licensed under the Mozilla Public License.

7. KompoZer

KompoZer is an open source WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor based on the now defunct Nvu editor. It is available under the  MPL/GPL/LGPL License.

KompoZer is maintained as a community-driven fork and the project is available on  sourceforge. However there have been no new updates in the last few years. KompoZer’s WYSIWYG editing capabilities are excellent and it allows direct code editing as well as a split code-graphic view.

There is a built-in FTP site manager, a new color picker, tabs functionality, CSS editor, customizable toolbars, forms, cleaner markup, table/cell resizing rulers, automated spellchecker and more.

8. Atom

Atom is a free and open-source text and source code editor for the OS X, Linux, and Windows platforms with a modular design. Atom is available under a MIT License and is written in CoffeeScript and Less. There is support for plug-ins written in Node.js, and embedded Git Control, developed by GitHub. It can also be used as an IDE and often described as ‘A hackable text editor for the 21st Century’.

Atom comes with a Built-in package manager, Smart auto completion, File system browser, Multiple panes support, Themes, Customization and more.

9. Bluefish

Bluefish is a powerful open sourced editor released under the GPL licence and is targeted towards programmers and web developers.

The editor supports many programming and markup languages and is a multi-platform application that runs on most desktop operating systems including Linux, FreeBSD, MacOS-X, Windows, OpenBSD and Solaris.

It is relatively lightweight, fast (works well on a windows tablet or netbook), comes with a multiple document interface, multi-threaded support for remote files using gvfs, supporting FTP, SFTP, HTTP, HTTPS, WebDAV, CIFS and more.

You can integrate external programs such as make, lint, weblint, xmllint, tidy, javac, or your own programs or scripts to handle advanced text processing or error detection and includes language definition files for 32 different languages.

10. ATPad

ATPad is a simple Notepad replacement that is written in pure C and uses the Windows API. It is available in twelve languages (including English) and is available under a GPLv2 License.

In terms of functionality you can get customization options, tabbed editing, word wrapping, line numbering, customizable snippets, bookmarks, sending through e-mail and more. ATPad is so lightweight it does not require any installation. You can just run it from your hard-drive or USB and it leaves no traces on the host computer after it finishes.

11. Notepad2 & Notepad2-mod

Notepad2 is a free and open-source text editor for Microsoft Windows, released under a BSD software license. It was written by Florian Balmer.

It features syntax highlighting and support for the following programming languages: ASP, assembly language, C, C++, C#, Common Gateway Interface (CGI), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), HTML, Java, JavaScript, NSIS, Pascal, Perl, PHP, Python, SQL, Visual Basic (VB), VBScript, XHTML, and XML.

Kai Lui forked Notepad2 and added additional functionality to create Notepad2-mod. Additional functionality on top of Notepad2 is code folding, support for bookmarks, option to mark all occurrences of a word, word auto-completion, syntax highlighting support for AutoHotkey, AutoIt3, AviSynth, Bash, CMake, Inno Setup, LaTeX, Lua, Markdown, NSIS, Ruby, Tcl and YAML scripts, Improved support for NFO ANSI art and other various minor changes and tweaks.

There is a original version and a fork available on Github.

Hopefully you’ve found this guide on the best Code editors useful.

What Code editor do you use? let us know!

If your interested in IDE articles take a look at:


Our software libraries allow you to

Convert PDF files to HTML
Use PDF Forms in a web browser
Convert PDF Documents to an image
Work with PDF Documents in Java
Read and write HEIC and other Image formats in Java
Alex Marshall Alex Marshall is a marketeer, web developer and designer. He also likes retro technology, classic cars and in his spare time enjoys travelling.

Should you travel by plane or train?

Why travel to Switzerland by train This year, my daughter set me the challenge to take the train rather than fly when I next...
Mark Stephens
1 min read