Best Free Programming Editor

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Introduction

Programming editors, also known as source code editors, are text editors that are specifically designed for programmers or developers for writing the source code of an application or a program.

Most of these editors are built with useful features, which may include colour syntax highlighting, auto indentation, auto complete, bracket matching, syntax check, plugins, etc., to effectively support the users during coding, debugging and testing.

 

Rated Products

Notepad++  

A popular and widely-used editor loaded with features to make your programming more productive


Our Rating: 
4.5
License: Free (Open source)
Syntax and brace highlighting for many languages, search and replace, macro recording and playback, highly configurable with many plugins with a plugin manager and supported in their forums, together with other useful features.
Running in the Windows environment only.
Read full review...

PSPad  

A programming editor supports syntax and matching bracket highlighting for most popular languages


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free
Supports syntax and matching bracket highlighting, hex editor, macro recorder, FTP client and other common features.
Works on Windows only, dictionaries need a separate download.
Read full review...

Bluefish  

A lightweight yet powerful programming editor running on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
Lightweight yet powerful editor, targeted for experienced programmers and web designed, supports many programming languages, code collapse, matched code highlights, in-line spell checker, etc.
N/A
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Kate  

A cross-platform programming editor supporting scriptable syntax highlighting for an amazing number of source files


Our Rating: 
3.5
License: Free (Open source)
Advanced and easy-to-use editor supporting scriptable syntax highlighting, indentation and code folding for many source files, loads fast and runs stably.
No auto tag closing and matching tag highlight.
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jEdit  

A programmer's text editor written in Jaya with extensible plugin architecture and a huge array of features


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free (Open source)
Cross platforms, tabs and syntax highlighting, diff utility, FTP browser, macro language, block select and more.
A bit of a heavyweight, slower start-up.
Read full review...

Other Programming Editors

  • Notepad2, a Scintilla-based text editor with source code syntax highlighting, runs out of the box without installation, and does not touch your system's registry. It is small and fast, but unfortunately lacks the tabbed Windows.
  • Vim is based on the UNIX "Vi" editor and aimed at programmers but can be used for many purposes. It supports multi-level undoes, syntax highlighting for over 170 languages and runs on many different OSes. This editor has a learning curve but if you have spent most of your time in the UNIX world and chose "Vi" over Emacs, then it is a familiar face. Sure, Vim is friendlier than the command line Vi, but all the features you are used to seeing are there.
  • ConTEXT supports unlimited open files and editing file size, with other features including syntax highlighting for many languages, normal and columnar text selection, file compare, macro recorder, customizable color printing with print preview, etc.
  • Crimson, fast in loading and small in size, provides syntax highlighting for programming languages such as C/C++, Perl, Java, Matlab, LaTeX and HTML. Other features include custom syntax support, redo/undo, user tools, macros, spell checker and more.
  • Programmer’s Notepad, unlimited number of schemes supported, powerful syntax highlighting supporting both user-defined and built-in schemes.

 

Related Products and Links

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Comments

"... Zed is a fully offline-capable, open source, keyboard-focused, text and code editor for power users ...": http://zedapp.org/

I was using notepad++. Then I tried PSPad after seeing it here. Found it is much more user friendly, the settings and highlighter editing are much easier than notpad++. The menus are also quite nice. I got used to it instantly. So, it's my new favourite piece of software.

Hi, thanks for the excellent review.

I'm just a little surprised that jEdit gets such a low rating (I know, I know, everyone has their favorite programmer's editor).

I use a linux platform (ubuntu 12.04) and I've tried a several other editors, Bluefish for one, but the one I use now for an extensive web site development is jEdit.

I noticed that one post referred to saving file problems (bugs) with jEdit in a multi-platform scenario. All I can say is that I've found jedit to be rock solid on linux. And its fantastic configurability is a big plus for me too.

best wishes

I've looked at all the editors mentioned in the comments as well as the article. RJ TextEd (mentioned in comments) and PSPad are about equal. Each has some features lacking in the other, but both are better (in my opinion) than Notepad++.

But I was shocked to see that neither the main article, nor the comments, mentioned SynWrite. This editor stands head and shoulders above the others, with a full compliment of features. The author is very responsive; new features get added; bugs get fixed.

Please consider reviewing this editor. Your readers will be glad you did.

I've used NotePad2 for all my PHP/HTML editing over the last few years and I love it - fast and clean.

Zeus Lite editor: Features: * Seamless FTP file editing * Syntax highlighting for C\C++, Clipper, Cobol, Fortran, Java, Pascal, Perl, Python, PHP, SQL etc * Compilers and builders run as background tasks allowing you to keep typing * Fully Scriptable using the Lua, Python, SmallC, VB Script, Java Script languages * Column, block and stream marking modes using both keyboard or mouse * Search and replace, including support for regular expressions * Brief, WordStar, Epsilon and Emacs keyboard maps provided * Keyboard mappings are fully configurable * Syntax highlighting is based on file extension and is fully configurable * Code templates * Keyboard macros recording, saving and playback * Support for third party tools * Unlimited undo/redo * In-editor, in-line error location and correction * Quick Help searches any number of help files for a specific keyword * Standard status bar, tool bar, tab bar and navigation bar features * Fast load time and small disk space requirements * File Manager associations and drag and drop * Supports both MS-DOS and UNIX file formats * Supports for UNC and long file names * MS-DOS OEM text translation is also supported * Built in spell checker * Split window allows you to create two views of the same document * Line number and bookmarks navigation * Perfect Notepad replacement http://www.zeusedit.com/lite/index.html

And it crashes immediately upon running it under Win7 x64.

I'd throw Emacs in for a comparison. With a decent default configuration it is pretty awesome, it supports "CUA mode" (default Windows keybindings) by default too.

Geany might be adopted by the LXDE as default text editor.

Currently I found it lack two useful tools:
Hexeditor plugin.
Code formatter. The old plugin can not fit 1.23

Notepad2 Bookmark Edition Bookmark Edition Changes: - Bookmark lines with Ctrl+F2 and jump between bookmarks with F2 - Added wildcard search to Find/Replace dialogs - Added help buttons [?] to the Find/Replace dialogs with quick syntax references - Assigned F12 hotkey for 'Save as' - Number of selected lines is displayed in the statusbar - Tweaked 'Convert to Title Case' (based on my experience with Flash Renamer) - Find/Replace dialog will automatically be filled with clipboard content first time used http://www.rlvision.com/notepad2/about.asp
Enki is a text editor for programmers. It is: * User friendly. Intuitive interface. Works out of the box. You don’t have to read a lot of docs * Hacker friendly Code as quickly as possible. Without mouse. * Lighweight. Some IDEs show splashscreen. enki will never do it. It just starts quickly. * Extensible. Operating systems are designed for running applications. Enki is designed for running plugins. * Cross platform. Use your habitual editor on any OS. Currently has beeen tested on Linux, MacOS X, Windows. * High quality. No long list of fancy features. But, what is done, is done well. * Open source. This is our religion. http://enki-editor.org/index.html How to install it on Windows: https://github.com/hlamer/enki/issues/19

Windows installer is already available. (And also installers for Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE)