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Best Free HTML Editor

 
Introduction

HTML text editors are fine for programmers or those who are comfortable coding (X)HTML, PHP and CSS, but many users have no interest in this. They just want an editor that allows them to produce web pages quickly in a WYSIWYG environment.

  Read this article in Spanish (Español)

 
In a Hurry?

Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

 
Discussion

Whether code-based or WYSIWYG, the ideal HTML editor should be able to validate that the HTML is standards-compliant, preview the page in different browsers, support meta-tags and provide basic image editing, while still being free. An included FTP client is a bonus.

HTML WYSIWYG Editors

KompoZerOne of the best free editors is KompoZer, our top recommendation for newbies. It's designed for non-technical computer users who want to create an attractive web site without needing to know HTML.  Features include integrated file management (upload to and edit files on a web server), tabbed editing (allowing work on multiple pages), and support for forms, tables and templates.

KompoZer's last stable release was in 2007, and the last Beta (development version) was released in February 2010.

Worth watching is BlueGriffon, which is a fork of KompoZer, currently under active development and looking very promising.

 

AmayaAnother good editor is Amaya. It's a project from the The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and so shines in the area of standards compliance and accessibility.

Amaya lets users both browse and author web pages, which enables easy copying and pasting of information from other web pages and easy creation of links to other websites.  You can seamlessly upload your web pages onto a server from within Amaya as well.

HTML Text Editors

My top choice for experienced users goes to Netbeans. It started life as a Java Editor but with recent releases has developed into a powerful text editor for web scripting. It is Vista and Windows 7 compatible.

At first glance, Netbeans is a little intimidating. Most of the menu items can be ignored by ordinary mortals. Using it as an HTML/PHP editor is akin to using a steam hammer to crack a peanut. Nevertheless the code completion, code colouring and the professional look and feel make it an excellent choice.

Netbeans supports: HTML and XHTML, CSS, PHP (Version 6.5 and later), Java SE, JavaFX, Web & Java EE, Java ME, Ruby, C/C++ and more.

 

HTML-KitMy second choice is HTML-Kit which began as a specialized html editor but now has so many plugins that it is a highly customizable and extensible development environment. The latest freeware release is build 292, and plug-ins continue to be developed and extended, keeping this software very up to date. HTML-Kit is compatible with Vista and is also portable.

HTML-Kit offers support for HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, XSL, JavaScript, VBScript, ASP, PHP, JSP, Perl, Python, Ruby, Java, VB, C/C++, .NET C#, Delphi / Pascal, Lisp, SQL, and more.

Over the years, both Netbeans and HTML-Kit have attracted large communities, so the support forums are very good. Their websites are full of video tutorials and resources.

Both Netbeans and HTML-Kit are excellent choices for serious coders, offering support for many file types including HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, XSL, JavaScript, VBScript, ASP, PHP, JSP, Perl, Python, Ruby, Java, VB, C/C++, .NET C#, Delphi / Pascal, Lisp, SQL, and more.

 

AptanaAptana Studio, which is based on the well-known, open-source Eclipse IDE that is popular among Java developers, focuses on modern web 2.0 development techniques.

It features optimizations for Javascript, HTML, Ajax, Ruby on Rails, PHP, CSS and many others.

Aptana Studio plugins enable source control and over 1,000 other third-party extensions.

There is a pro version (which includes a few other features), but the free version is more then enough for any web developer (from beginner to advance). I personally love Aptana studio, and recommend it to any developer wanting a full featured IDE for building websites, web applications, desktop applications (with the adobe air plugin), etc.

 

PSPadFinally, for advanced users who work in various programming environments, there is PSPad. It's a general-purpose programming editor with html syntax highlighting.

This small tool has simple controls and handles plain text, yet is extremely capable.  Saying you use PSPad for your coding scores you immediate points for technical machismo.

 
Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 
Quick Selection Guide

KompoZer
4.5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
http://kompozer.net
0.7.10
7.6 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows All, Mac OSX, Linux
Amaya
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Standards compliance and accessibility
Some features are very complex for beginners. WYSIWYG rendering is not very good. Doesn't recognize PHP pages.
http://www.w3.org/Amaya/
11.4.7
13.88 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows All, Mac, Linux

v11.4.7 released 18 April, 2013
View the release history here

From the developers website:
"Snapshot 11.4.7 - Security fix (18 April 2013)

This snapshot contains a security fix for a problem with the libwww as, in some cases, user password could be sent in the clear through https.
This problem concerns only people who use the PUT capability of Amaya over SSL."
It is available from the download link above.

 
Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Ian Richards. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

 
Tags

edit html, edit html files, edit html text, edit text wysiwyg mode, best free html text editor, top html editor, top free html editor, edit html what you see is what you get, freeware.

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Comments

by Anonymous on 6. August 2009 - 0:12  (26489)

Has anybody tried Screem html/xml editor? It seems currently to be only for linux:
http://www.screem.org

by Anonymous on 1. August 2009 - 18:40  (26119)

HTML-Kit 292 is *not* available in a 64 bit version nor in a portable version. HTML-Tools, the latest version of HTML-Kit, *is* available as a portable application but is not free.

by jbissell on 2. August 2009 - 15:29  (26145)

So noted! Thanks for your input.

by MCHAL on 11. May 2009 - 10:53  (21357)

I've never seen any mention of DFM2HTML here. So check it out:

http://www.dfm2html.com/

;)

by Anonymous on 4. July 2009 - 15:39  (24637)

Tried dfml2html. I prefer the ability to open up any HTML file when I want to update it, instead of exporting to it later.

by Anonymous on 10. May 2009 - 19:24  (21330)

Any free WYSIWYG editors with FrontaPage style "Design time includes" ? Huge Plus would also be if it could actually import FrontPage generated sites.

by Anonymous on 28. April 2009 - 8:37  (20711)

Please check out Migajek Software's HateML Pro. Features list:

  • Advanced Syntax Highlighting
  • Automatic syntax checker
  • IntelliSense & CodeHint
  • Debugger & Profiler
  • CodeBrowser
  • FTP Client
  • SolutionExplorer
  • MySQL Manager (plugin)
  • Built-in website layouts
  • CodeLibrary
  • Integrated PHP Manual
  • TagInspector
  • XHTML CodeCompression
  • Links validator
  • Built-in preview

Download link:
http://www.migajek.com/ (9.2Mb)

Michal Gajek is still working on version 2.0... Hopefully developing is still ongoing.

by Anonymous on 22. April 2009 - 13:54  (20327)

Microsoft had made Sharepoint 2007 free. Sharepoint 2007 is a capable html editor which can also be used to create asp.net applications.

by jbissell on 18. May 2009 - 4:46  (21760)

Sharepoint Designer 2007 is indeed a free download now. But back when Microsoft discontinued Front Page, they created two products to replace it: Sharepoint Designer and Expression Web. Sharepoint Designer is specifically targeted to those who work with sites that run on Windows Sharepoint Server (WSS) and/or Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server (MOSS). Expression Web is the product targeted to non-Sharepoint web sites. The Microsoft Sharepoint Designer Team Blog has a good explanation of both products.

While they didn't vary much initially, Expression Web 2 now has many features that aren't in Sharepoint, such as Silverlight and native PHP support.

By releasing Sharepoint Designer 2007, Microsoft is promoting custom solutions built on Sharepoint. Some users of FrontPage may find Sharepoint Designer 2007 familiar though.

by Anonymous on 15. April 2009 - 5:58  (19895)
by HeWhoRocks on 20. August 2010 - 16:05  (56423)

I've just been trying to find a good free wysiwyg and tried both Kompozer and Amaya: both were unstable to the point of being useless on my win7 machine once i started thrashing them a bit. A shame 'cause both looked good and up to the moment they fell down i was more than happy with them. Wish i knew why they were so unstable on my machine.

Next i tried Serif Webplus and am liking it a great deal. This really is an excellent app and so easy to use, not to mention fun to play with. For the average user the limitations on the free version are not a hindrance (it's not crippleware by any means)but your more serious hobbyist might want to buy a license as i will be doing, if only to access the HTML pane. The paid version also has a very neat image editor but nothing much you can't do with Photofiltre or such like. I've never used pro web design software so i have no idea how Serif would compare, but it seems to have all the functionality i need. I have looked at the code it produces in my browser and i would have to say "not pretty but functional" more or less describes it.

by mistywindow on 20. August 2010 - 17:47  (56427)

...For the average user the limitations on the free version are not a hindrance (it's not crippleware by any means)...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The WebPlus free version is crippled - a maximum of 10 HTML pages among other things - so, however good it may be, I can't consider it under the site's rules for Freeware.

by Anonymous on 14. April 2009 - 6:28  (19833)

Hi.

I hoghly recommend to try Codelobster PHP Edition
It is free PHP IDE including free HTML, CSS, JavaScript editor.

Regards.
Stas.

by Anonymous on 7. April 2009 - 11:13  (19448)

KompoZer updated!!!

2009-04-06

http://www.majorgeeks.com/KompoZer_d5797.html

by Anonymous on 10. December 2009 - 13:25  (38188)

Doesn't work on the latest Linux distros (Ubuntu 9.04, Mint Gloria).

by Anonymous on 16. April 2009 - 18:29  (19989)

Tried this latest version. The HTML code view is quite buggy and doesn't usually let you edit it. The CSS button is handy, only it deleted all the ID tags. Twice. (oops)

Nice clean interface but it messes up your work, so I'd stay away.

by Anonymous on 16. April 2009 - 18:58  (19990)

Turned out it wasn't deleting the ID tags, it was changing the view. What it WAS doing is adding "*|" in front of every selector in the stylesheet. This of course broke it. Serious bug - not sure if it's in opening the stylesheet in Kompozer or simply what it does. Bad news when a program changes code without asking.

In another program, a quick Find and replace fixed it.

by Anonymous on 3. April 2009 - 0:17  (19160)

How about NetObjects Fusion Essentials?

http://www.netobjects.com/html/essentials.html

by Anonymous on 17. April 2009 - 5:07  (20007)

If you like doing it the Netobjects way. Lots of features, drag and drop but better if you start with it rather than bringing something else in.

I like to start people with templates and a good WYSIWYG, then they can learn and be productive faster.

by Anonymous on 31. March 2009 - 3:27  (18958)

Has anyone tried the free version of Pagebreeze? (http://www.pagebreeze.com/)

by Anonymous on 4. September 2009 - 17:08  (32157)

Yes I have tried this and I like it very much. It seems easy enough for the beginner but advanced enough to get into heavy stuff as well. I would recommend this editor to beginners.

by Anonymous on 20. March 2009 - 2:17  (18228)

Here are free two editors I use:

Arachnophilia - http://arachnoid.com/arachnophilia/index.php (I use the Windows version - found in the revision history section - more than the Java version) I have been using this since 1998, when I designed my first site with it.

PHPEdit - http://phpedit.com.ua/

But I will see about using the two editors mentioned by chris.p, as I have had a need in the last two months to rapidly design a site which took more time than it should have, due to me trying to figure out how to correctly implement CSS.

I am also leary of using anything from Microsoft or anything from 'big' companies for that matter.

Arachnophilia is a very unusual editor (license-wise it has a 'careware' license - no money but do a good deed, have a good thought, for a moment of one day etc!!) due to its Author and his philosophy.

Enjoy.

Christopher

by Anonymous on 20. March 2009 - 2:19  (18229)

Sorry, forgot this info.

With PHP Edit click on the x in the top right corner to close that reg screen and use the program.

Christopher

by Anonymous on 20. March 2009 - 1:25  (18225)

PSPad has an ftp function: you can log on to your server, edit a live page, and save to update. This is great for quick adjustments and tweaks.

by Anonymous on 18. March 2009 - 15:28  (18109)

codelobster is good:
http://www.codelobster.com/details_phped.html
not wysiwyg but you can preview your works and its support php too

by chris.p on 18. February 2009 - 18:14  (16281)

There is also another approach to HTML page creation that people may be interested in: the 'fast layout app' approach. It's what many of us use to create a 1st-step page that is used for design discussions and/or further action.

You need a specialist wysiwyg editor for this. These major on the fact that you can create the most complex and detailed page layout in seconds. However they have 2 disadvantages:

1. They are always one-way editors as they don't work in HTML, it's impossible to do this job in pure HTML. You create the page in the layout editor, export it to HTML, and kick it around from there.
2. They don't produce valid code, due to being outdated etc.

However they are unbeatable at one of the tricky jobs that many people can't get right: putting any page element anywhere on the page exactly where you want it, immediately. Once it's exported to HTML you can take the code and use it as the basis for further work. It's all in divs (layers) and CSS of course as that's (a) how this fast system works, and (b) the only way to code now in any case.

Here are two of these rapid-layout apps (both free):

WebDwarf
CoolPage

A very sophisticated commercial version of these, up-to-date but complex, is SiteSpinner. This worked in divs and CSS (the modern way to code pages in layers) years before DreamWeaver etc had heard of that.

As I say, fast layout apps will get you over the 'how to make the page layout right' stage but the code is poor by modern standards.

chris.p

by Anonymous on 17. February 2009 - 21:15  (16213)

Where is the HTML-Kit 292 portable you refer in article ??? How about a DL URL ? I used version provided in it's site, and after a registry search I can tell installer creates 969 keys in registry. DL URL please ?

I think this site also needs to review what "portable" means. Currently, there are all sorts of "portable" flavours. Maybe a "stealth" indicator would help ?

by chris.p on 18. February 2009 - 18:18  (16282)

This page currently has no editor. Therefore updates etc are not being fully taken care of. If you look at the page editor detail, it says 'site.editor'. That is our code for a review that has been written but the editor dropped out or took on another category. Volunteer needed.

chris.p

by Anonymous on 18. February 2009 - 20:23  (16292)

Yeah, I saw that to, I just don't think that is an excuse to post wrong info (there is no 'Kit portable). The other "portable" problem I refer extents to ALL the site, it is not specific of this page.

by mjt328 on 13. February 2009 - 4:41  (15944)

A new version of KompoZer(0.8a1) was released on February 6, 2009.

Here's the link to its download page at SourceForge.net:

http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=170132