List of macOS text editors and code editors


I searched for this and found Maudite's question about text editors but they were all for Windows.

As you have no doubt guessed, I am trying to find out if there are any text/code editors for the Mac besides what I know of. I'll edit my post to include editors listed.


  1. Textwrangler
  2. Xcode
  3. Mac Vim
  4. Aquamacs and closer to the original EMacs
  5. JEdit
  6. Editra
  7. Eclipse
  8. NetBeans
  9. Kod
  10. TextMate2 - GPL
  11. Brackets


  1. Textmate
  2. BBEdit
  3. SubEthaEdit
  4. Coda
  5. Sublime Text 2
  6. Smultron
  7. WebStorm
  8. Peppermint

Articles related to the subject

  1. Faceoff, which is the best text editor ever?
  2., mac editors features compared

Thank you everybody that has added suggestions.

This question is tagged with macos editor

~ Asked on 2008-08-21 17:03:25

39 Answers


I haven't used it myself, but another free one that I've heard good thing about is Smultron.

In my own research on this, I found this interesting article: Faceoff: Which Is The Best Mac Text Editor Ever?

~ Answered on 2008-08-21 17:07:53


I thought TextMate was everyone's favourite. I haven't met a programmer using a Mac who is not using TextMate.

~ Answered on 2008-08-21 17:45:36


  • Emacs
  • Vim

But I use TextMate, and can say that it is, without a doubt, worth every penny I paid for it.

~ Answered on 2008-08-21 17:10:30


Sublime text is awesome ( Excellent search features, very fast and lightweight. Very decent code completion.

I also use RubyMine and WebStorm a lot ( They are excellent but not all purpose like TextMate.

~ Answered on 2011-08-10 13:35:14


MacVim and SubEthaEdit are two nice options

~ Answered on 2008-08-21 17:08:21


I've tried Komodo out a bit, and I really like it so far. Aptana, an Eclipse variant, is also rather useful for a wide variety of things. There's always good ole' VI, too!

~ Answered on 2008-08-21 17:09:51


CotEditor is a Cocoa-based open source text editor. It is popular in Japan.

~ Answered on 2010-11-30 06:44:43


If you ever plan on making a serious effort at learning Emacs, immediately forget about Aquamacs. It tries to twist and bend Emacs into something it's not (a super-native OS X app). That might sound well and all, but once you realize that it completely breaks nearly every standard keybinding and behavior of Emacs, you begin to wonder why you aren't just using TextEdit or TextMate.

Carbon Emacs is a good Emacs application for OS X. It is as close as you'll get to GNU Emacs without compiling for yourself. It fits in well enough with the operating system, but at the same time, is the wonderful Emacs we all know and love. Currently it requires Leopard with the latest release, but most people have upgraded by now anyway. You can fetch it here.

Alternatively, if you want to use Vim on OS X, I've heard good things about MacVim.

Beyond those, there are the obvious TextEdit, TextMate, etc line of editors. They work for some people, but most "advanced" users I know (myself included) hate touching them with anything shorter than a 15ft pole.

~ Answered on 2008-08-21 19:01:19


Best open source one is Smultron in my opinion, but it doesn't a torch to TextMate.

~ Answered on 2008-08-21 17:08:23


There's a new kid on the block - PHPStorm. I used it for a whole year. Its not free but offers an individual license of 49$ for a year, free for Open Source Developers.

  • Speedy for an IDE - Its based on Java so looks somewhat like Eclipse/Netbeans but smokes them to dust in terms of speed (not as fast as Coda/Textmate as this is an IDE).
  • Keyboard shortcuts galore - I seldom touched the mouse while developing using PHPStorm (that's what I didn't like about Coda)
  • Subversion support built-in - Didn't need to touch Versions or any other SVN client on Mac
  • Supports snippets, templates - zen-coding is supported as well
  • Supports projects, though in separate windows
  • File search, code search
  • code completion, supports PHPDoc code completion too

~ Answered on 2012-01-12 06:17:48


  • BBEdit makes all other editors look like Notepad.

It handles gigantic files with ease; most text editors (TextMate especially) slow down to a dead crawl or just crash when presented with a large file.

The regexp and multiple-file Find dialogs beat anything else for usability.

The clippings system works like magic, and has selection, indentation, placeholder, and insertion point tags, it's not just dumb text.

BBEdit is heavily AppleScriptable. Everything can be scripted.

In 9.0, BBEdit has code completion, projects, and a ton of other improvements.

I primarily use it for HTML, CSS, JS, and Python, where it's extremely strong. Some more obscure languages are not as well-supported in it, but for most purposes it's fantastic.

The only devs I know who like TextMate are Ruby fans. I really do not get the appeal, it's marginally better than TextWrangler (BBEdit's free little brother), but if you're spending money, you may as well buy the better tool for a few dollars more.

  • jEdit does have the virtue of being cross-platform. It's not nearly as good as BBEdit, but it's a competent programmer's editor. If you're ever faced with a Windows or Linux system, it's handy to have one tool you know that works.

  • Vim is fine if you have to work over ssh and the remote system or your computer can't do X11. I used to love Vim for the ease of editing large files and doing repeated commands. But these days, it's a no-vote for me, with the annoyance of the non-standard search & replace (using (foo) groups instead of (foo), etc.), painfully bad multi-document handling, lack of a project/disk browser view, lack of AppleScript, and bizarre mouse handling in the GVim version.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 21:29:20


TextMate not for "advanced programmers". That does not make sense, TextMate contains everything an "advanced programmer" would want. It allows them to define a bundle that allows them to quickly set up the way they want their source code formatted, or one that follows the project guidelines, quick easy access to create entire structures and classes based on typing part of a construct and hitting tab.

TextMate is my tool of choice, it is fast, lightweight and yet contains all of the features I would want in a tool to program with. While it is not tightly integrated in Xcode, that is not a problem for me as I don't write software for Mac OS X. I write software for FreeBSD.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 22:01:35


Definitely BBEdit. I code, and BBEdit is what I use to code.

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 22:05:26


jEdit runs on OS X, being Java-based. It's somewhat similar to TextMate, I think.

Editra looks interesting, but I've not tried it myself.

~ Answered on 2008-08-21 17:18:56


I actually prefer EditRocket over TextMate. I use it on both my Mac and Ubuntu machines. It is nice to use the same editor on multiple operating systems.

~ Answered on 2011-01-13 14:33:59


Coda's great for PHP/ASP/HTML style development. Great interface, multiple-file search and replace with regexp support, slick FTP/SFTP/etc integration for browsing and editing remote files, SVN integration, etc.

It now supports plugins and the plugin editor can import TextMate bundles, so there's a bright future there. There aren't a lot of must-have plugins yet because the plugin support was newly introduced with version 1.6 a few months back. It's a popular app, though, so I expect more in the future.

The "killer features" for me are: * Seamless editing of remote files * Code navigator (symbol browser; pane that lists functions etc)

Most people aren't really into using symbol browsers but as I have to maintain a lot of unfamiliar code I find them invaluable.

I'm not sure that Coda has the "raw power" of TextMate though. I plan on getting familiar with TextMate next.

~ Answered on 2008-12-17 06:10:06


Textmate is state of the Art editor, but if someone is thinking about developing on several platforms without awkward memory eaters monsters like jedit, eclipse, netbeans etc take a look at geany ( It is free. The only problem the editor has not esthetic look and feel on Mac OS X :)

~ Answered on 2011-09-16 12:22:22


Fraise is a nice free option. It has some rough edges, but you can't beat the price. I believe it's a fork or successor of Smultron.

Fraise Text Editor for MacOS

~ Answered on 2010-10-07 12:20:59


I prefer an old-school editing setup. I use command-line vim embedded in a GNU Screen "window" inside of iTerm.

This may not integrate well with XCode, but I think it works great for developing and using command-line programs. If you spend any significant time working in a terminal, GNU Screen is worth the 30 minutes it takes to master the basic terminal multiplexing concepts.

~ Answered on 2008-09-15 15:59:08


~ Answered on 2008-08-21 17:05:38


I make use of Komodo IDE. It supports a huge number of languages, and is customisable but is a bit expensive (my company bought me a copy). A really good alternative is the free version called Komodo Edit. Loads really quickly and has a decent feature list and I find myself turning to it rather than the full IDE for a lot of jobs.

~ Answered on 2010-03-27 15:27:53


Smultron is another good (and free) one.

~ Answered on 2008-08-21 17:08:08


~ Answered on 2008-08-21 17:07:51


I use Eclipse as my primary editor (for Python) but I always keep SubEthaEdit handy as my supplemental text editor (free trial, 30 euros to license). It's not super-complicated but it does what I need.

~ Answered on 2008-08-21 17:09:26


You might consider one of the classics - they're both free, extensible and have large user bases that extend beyond the Mac:

  • Aquamacs - emacs for OS X (emacs in a shell window is also an option)
  • Mac Vim - VI with a Mac-specific GUI (vim in a shell window is also an option)

~ Answered on 2008-08-21 17:15:20


I have installed both Smultron and Textwrangler, but find myself using Smultron most of the time.

~ Answered on 2008-08-28 11:41:13


Another vote for Smultron. I used it when doing some XQuery programming and being able to define a keyword files for syntax color highlighting was great.

~ Answered on 2008-08-21 19:08:09


I have to say that i love Coda, it can do almost anything you need in 'plain' text WebDevelopent, i use it daily to develop simple and complex projects using XHTML,PHP,Javascript,CSS...

Ok, it's not free but compare it with many other development suits and you'll find that that 100$ are really affordable (i bought many months ago when it was at about 60$) In the last version they included a lot of new nice features and whoa... just look at the panic WebSite

Before using coda i was a hardcore ZendStudio User, i used that in Windows,Linux and Mac (i have been user for a long time for all that platforms) as it was developed in Java it was really slow even in a modern MacBookPro.. so i also tested a lots of diferent IDEs for developing but at this moment any of these are as powerful and simple as Coda is

~ Answered on 2008-10-16 09:31:59


I used to use PageSpiner from optima Software ( but converted to Coda when Panic first released it and haven't looked back.

Now that the latest version has multi-file find and replace it has just about everything I need and I use it on a daily basis. Another vote for Coda from me.

~ Answered on 2008-11-05 08:45:24


I use Xcode and TextMate.

~ Answered on 2010-10-07 12:21:55


I purchased Textmate because I liked it so much, one of the few apps I paid for. Other editors are just not worth it. If you are going for an IDE, eclipse or netbeans are great and free.

~ Answered on 2009-03-13 08:30:56


I've been using BBEdit for years. It's rock-solid, fast, and integrates into my Xcode workflow decently well. (I'm not sure anything integrates into Xcode as well as the built-in editor, but who has time to wait for the built-in editor?)

For small team projects which don't use a source control system, or for single user editing on multiple machines, SubEthaEdit comes highly recommended.

~ Answered on 2008-09-15 15:46:02


Eclipse and Netbeans have text editors among a whole lot of other stuff. I don't think you would want to wait 10 seconds for your text editor to become ready :/...If you are going to spend some serious time coding then spend some time and learn to use vim (emacs too but, I recommend vim)

~ Answered on 2008-09-15 16:52:48


Mac UltraEdit is out as of 2011 -

Very much a 1.0-ish feel and sluggish (though labeled 2.0.2), has all the great features of the Windows version (column edits, true hex mode, full out macro recording, and plugins for every language under the sun).

~ Answered on 2011-01-23 03:11:19


My vote would be for BBedit's free little brother TextWrangler.

~ Answered on 2009-01-20 19:52:08


I've been using TextWrangler, it's pretty decent.

But I REALLY miss the Search and Replace and other capabilities of UltraEdit... enough that it's usually worth firing up Parallels to use it instead (UltraEdit runs poorly under Wine at the moment).

~ Answered on 2008-09-16 21:55:48


I would love to use a different editor than XCode for coding, but I feel, that no other editor integrates tightly enough with it to be really worthwhile.
However, given some time, TextMate might eventually get to that point. At the moment though, it primarily lacks debugging features and refactoring.

For everything that does not need XCode, I love TextMate. If I had another Mac-user in my workgroup I would probably consider SubEthaEdit for its collaboration features. If it is Emacs you want, I would recommend Aquamacs (more Mac-like) or Carbon Emacs (more GNU-Emacs-like)

~ Answered on 2008-08-29 09:58:24


I used BBEdit for years, but recently converted to Panic's Coda.

I love Coda. It does everything that I need and now that I've begun programming plug-ins for it, it's become a far more rich tool. The support team are responsive and the community that is growing around it is fantastic. There is still a lot of room for improvement, but that's the cool thing about being part of the kind of community that surrounds it; you have a say in what that improvement is.

Panic - Coda

~ Answered on 2008-12-15 13:23:21


I like Aptana Studio and Redcar for rails programming.

~ Answered on 2012-03-21 00:26:13

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