An HTML editor is the first thing you’ll need to start creating web pages using HTML and CSS. Unfortunately, there are plenty of free HTML editors out there, and choosing one of them can be a daunting task.
HTML is quite simple, and so you can start working with your web pages using a simple text editor like Notepad, WordPad, or any other. You can also go further and use one of the editors with richer functionality, such as Coffeecup, 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 markup and content creation.
Whether you’re going to create blogs and articles that are well-formatted for reading by their browsers or plan to build a fully functional website using HTML and CSS, choosing the right editor will significantly increase your productivity. Professional web page developers spend a significant amount of time selecting the editor and tools that best meet their needs and contribute to productivity.
Which free HTML editor is good for you?
The answer to this question depends entirely on your requirements, the product you intend to create with HTML, and your current level of knowledge of this markup language if you want to learn. Since most of these editors are free, you can reduce their list to 2-3, try out their basic functionality and then decide which one you like best.
In addition, almost every editor listed in this article is supported on multiple operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and Mac, so you don’t have to worry much about compatibility.
Note that most of your editorial needs will easily be met by Notepad++ for Windows, Brackets for Mac (this editor is also supported for Linux and Windows), or Coffeecup and NoteTab. However, if you plan to create a complex website, you should prefer a development environment with full functionality, such as Eclipse.
On the other hand, if you want to play around with HTML and CSS, there are numerous online editors at your disposal where you can write HTML code and see the result right away.
Let’s take a look at the top ten HTML editors, easy to use, rich in functionality, and popular among web developers.
Best HTML Editor
Notepad++ (best free HTML editor for Windows)
This editor is only available to Windows users, so if you have a Mac or Linux, scroll on. Notepad++ is the best free HTML editor you can install on your Windows computer. At first glance, it is very elementary, but it is one of the most complex and, at the same time easy to use editors.
Most of notepad++’s huge features are provided by third-party plugins, including Preview HTML, HTML tag plugin for tag highlighting, Tidy2 for indentation, and many others.
The key features of Notepad++ are a tabular interface for simultaneous work with several files, very easy minimization and syntax highlighting, customizable GUI (with a minimalistic version), 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 Universal Public License.
For Mac users, a great alternative to Notepad++ is Brackets, which we’ll talk about below.
Learn more about Notepad++ here – Notepad++ HTML Editor
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. And it is also accessible 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 the writing of CSS and HTML code;
- W3C validation – checks your HTML code for validity.
Brackets is a beautiful editor with a modern minimalist design. You can make edits to the CSS or HTML code and see how they change the site’s look in real-time. In addition, changes made in the code are immediately displayed in the browser.
Read about Brackets here – Editor for HTML: Brackets.
Coffeecup (there is both free and paid version)
Coffeecup is arguably the best HTML editor, having both free and commercial versions. The free one doesn’t have some features, but it’s complicated enough to be listed on our list.
The key features of the free version include:
- customizable toolbars,
- code completion for elements, attributes, and selectors,
- ready-to-use themes and templates,
- support for the markdown format for HTML,
- FTP/SFTP support,
- drag and place function for images,
- preview option,
- syntax highlighting,
- thesaurus to find an alternative for the word and much more.
The paid version is not too expensive. It includes several additional features, such as HTML and CSS code validation, tag library, code cleaner, dynamic spell checking.
Coffeecup also offers several advanced modules to work in the “mobile-friendly” style, without the need to write any code, only using drag and drop functions. These modules include Foundation framer, Bootstrap builder, and Responsive site designer.
Coffeecup has been on the market since 1996 and is used by freelancers, startups, small businesses, and web developers from large companies. It is an excellent tool for creating websites, web pages, newsletters, notes formatted in HTML, content for social media.
You can download Coffeecup here – Coffeecup Free HTML Editor.
NoteTab (two versions, paid and free)
NoteTab is another HTML and CSS editor offering features for rapid development. This is a product of Fookes software, 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, bootstrap, HTML autocomplete, merging files into projects, support for HTML Tidy, HTML to text, and has many themes.
NoteTab can be launched directly from a flash drive and does not require installation on your machine. For bloggers and people involved in filling sites, this editor supports word counting and SEO statistics.
You can get acquainted with NoteTab more closely on the official website.
Eclipse (free HTML editor)
Eclipse is heavy and maybe a frill for HTML and CSS development, but it can be used successfully if you don’t mind installing and configuring this beast. This is an excellent tool if you plan to create complex sites with databases combined with other data sources, etc. However, setup may take some time and require the installation of additional plugins.
Learn more here – Eclipse
When it comes to editing HTML code online, in a browser, nothing beats HTML-online.com. You can start writing code immediately, without downloading and installing any program; besides, it is free.
One of the advantages of this editor is converting Word to HTML to 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 will help you create your web page and, at the same time, monitor code changes in the next window. Among other functions, it is worth mentioning the cleaning of HTML code, bringing tabular elements to div, search and replace option.
BlueGriffon (free, basic, and EPUB license)
BlueGriffon comes from the home of Disruptive Innovations SAS. It’s built on Gecko, Mozilla’s engine for displaying web pages. BlueGriffon is a powerful editor that inherits most of its features from Netscape, Composer, Nvu, and Mozilla.
BlueGriffon has three variations: free, the second is distributed under the basic license, and the most powerful is under the EPUB license.
The free version can do a lot of things too. It has dark and light themes, support for HTML5 audio, video, and forms, CSS3 editing features include transitions, 3D and 2D transformations, SVG creation, WYSIWYG technology, google fonts manager, font squirrel font manager, markdown format support, the user interface in more than 20 languages.
You can download and install BlueGriffon on Windows, Linux Ubuntu, and OS X on your Mac. For more information, visit the BlueGriffon website.
Atom is a tunable text editor from GitHub developers. Its popularity is proliferating. 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 essential features you need to edit your code, but you’ll need to install additional packages to make it a fully functional HTML editor. 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 (starting with version 22), Mac, and Red Hat Linux. It’s more suited for web development than content writing, as it’s more code-oriented and needs a little tweaking.
The official site of Atom is atom.io.
Visual Studio Community
Visual Studio Community is a fully functional development environment from Microsoft, and it’s free for everyone. In addition, the visual studio offers preconfigured HTML and CSS editing features that can be further enhanced with extensions.
Of the popular extensions, it is worth mentioning HTML Snippets, HTMLHint, HTML CSS support, Intellisense for CSS class name.
Like Eclipse, the Visual Studio community is an excellent choice for complex and highly scalable sites that need many technologies.
Read about this editor here – Visual Studio Community.
The HTML markup language is widely used. Many HTML editors were created a long time ago, keeping pace with the times and quite suitable for web development. But there are others who no longer lack functionality and productivity. New editors such as Brackets and Atom are emerging to ensure efficient code editing.
Most of the editors listed in this article have their characteristics but serve one purpose: creating web pages. Thus, they increase the speed of development and help organize the code while considering scaling it.
Take a closer look at the options mentioned in this article, write down your essential needs, reduce the list to a couple of editors, try each and determine which one you like best. You’re sure to find at least one good HTML editor for Linux, Mac, and Windows.