10 Best Free Source Code Editors to Download

With professional code editor like Dreamweaver, Coda, Textmate and others, its no surprise that more and more people have partially forgotten about simpler code editor such as Window’s Notepad. We do understand that simpler does not mean the best option however, there are simpler yet professional code editors that might just suits what you need!

These are what I found to be the best bang for zero bucks (with an added bonus). Feel free to share your personal favorite in the comments.

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Notepad ++

Notepad++ is an open source replacement for the original Notepad program (which comes with Windows) and supports several languages. Even though it is built for Microsoft Windows, it can also run on Linux, Unix, BSD and Mac OS X (using Wine).

Immediately upon starting Notepad++ you will notice the difference between it and the original Notepad. There are loads of additional buttons and features like plugin support, tabbed editing, drag and drop, split screen editing, synchronized scrolling, spell checker, find and replace over multiple documents, file comparison, zooming and much more.

"Notepadd++ supports syntax highlighting and syntax folding for 48 programming, scripting, and markup languages" (source).

As the website explains, the program is written in C++ and uses pure Win32 API and STL which ensures a higher execution speed and smaller program size. If you want to learn how to make Notepadd++ your default text editor, you can find instructions here.

notepad ++
Pros
  • Lightweight and launches quickly
  • Tabbed editing interface
  • Plugin support and macros
  • Ability to add bookmarks
  • Drag and drop support
  • Find and replace across multiple documents
  • Full screen mode
  • Minimize to system tray
  • Style configurator for a customizable interface
  • Syntax and brace highlighting
  • Auto indentation
  • Auto completion
  • Code folding
  • Text folding
  • Compiler integration
  • Search and replace
  • Spell checker (via plugin)
  • Collaborative editing (via plugin)
  • FTP support (via plugin)
  • Multiple instances
  • File comparison
Cons
  • No HTTP, SSH or WebDav support for remote file editing
  • Does not support large files
  • Another program is needed in order to run on Mac OS X

BBEdit

Unlike Notepadd++ mentioned above, BBEdit is a Mac-only program and a very "powerful text editor, and Unix and server administrator’s tool."

While on the surface it looks like just a plain and basic text editor, it possesses a lot of powerful features. There’s a complete set of HTML Tools for fast, easy, and correct markup and supports current standards including HTML5, HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.0, and XHTML 1.1.

As a code editor it includes editing Markdown with syntax coloring and navigation. With BBEdit, you can automatically backup files when saving and an option to multi-file search and replace with multiple simultaneous search and replace operations.

BBEdit gives an extensive FTP and SFTP support with open and save text files located on remote FTP/SFTP servers, use of alternative ports and the FTP/SFTP Browser provides persistent view of remote site directories.

textwrangler
Pros
  • Syntax coloring and navigation
  • Multi-file search and replace
  • Great file tools that access the file system, including hidden files and folders
  • change file encoding
  • extensive FTP and SFTP support
  • Automatic file backup with saving
  • complete set of HTML Tools
Cons
  • Doesn’t give you hints about ways to improve or optimize your code
  • Syntax checking is relatively basic
  • Doesn’t work on Tiger on the Power Macintosh G4 (Quicksilver) series
  • Some of the best features can only be accessed in the paid version

jEdit

jEdit, a program for Windows, Mac OS X, OS/2, Linux, BSD, Unix and VMS, is said to be for mature programmers only. Written in Java, it is open source and supports hundreds of plugins and macros. The main window can be split horizontally or vertically and also comes with "auto indent, and syntax highlighting for more than 130 languages."

There are many customization options for making everything from the dock to the status bar to the toolbar look and feel exactly the way you want. You can even "copy and paste with an unlimited number of clipboards."

Programming languages supported include: ActionScript, ColdFusion, LOTOS, Ruby, Python and COBOL. All of jEdit’s features cannot possibly fit into this paragraph, but you can view them all here.

jedit
Pros
  • Powerful search engine for regular expressions
  • Syntax highlighting with customization options
  • Auto-indentation
  • Auto completion
  • Code folding
  • Text folding
  • Compiler integration (via plugin)
  • Plugin support and macros
  • Tabbed editing interface
  • Integrated FTP browser
  • Spell checker (via plugin)
  • FTP support (via plugin)
  • HTTP and WebDav (via plugin) support for remote file editing
  • Multiple instances
Cons
  • Heavyweight and often slow on startup
  • Inistant spell checker
  • Can be buggy on the Mac
  • No collaborative editing
  • No large file support
  • No SSH support for remote file editing

Crimson Editor

Crimson was written in C, is open source and is known as a professional source code editor for Windows only. It is also a suitable replacement for Notepad and supports programming in 60+ languages like Maple, LotusScript, C/C++, MySQL, Ruby, Perl and JScript.

Currently it only supports the English language. Unfortunately, the last release of Crimson was in 2008, but it has been replaced by Emeral Editor.

As you can see from the image below, it resembles Notepad++ from the toolbar to the tabbed editing. It also supports plugins, which are called "tools," and macros. There is even a built-in FTP client and you have the ability to manage groups of related files and save them as projects.

crimson editor
Pros
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Auto indentation
  • Compiler integration
  • Ability to add bookmarks
  • FTP support
  • Instant/live spell checker
  • Macros
  • Multiple instances
Cons
  • No auto completion
  • No code folding
  • No text folding
  • No collaborative editing
  • No large file support
  • No HTTP, SSH or WebDav support for remote file editing

Araneae

Araneae is an editor for Web professionals that runs on Windows only. You can download extensions to use with it and it includes syntax highlighting, drag and drop support, tabbed editing and the ability to insert customizable quick clips.

"Araneae includes several extensions and localizations right out of the proverbial box’”no extra downloading required! This includes HTML, XHTML, CSS, XML, JavaScript, PHP and Ruby files, as well as English, French, Greek, Spanish, and Estonian localizations!" All toolbars are viewable by default and can be rearranged to suit your preference.

Araneae
Pros
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Drag and drop support
  • Tabbed editing interface
  • Quick clips
  • Search and replace
  • Multiple instances
Cons
  • No plugins or macros

EditPad Lite

EditPad Lite is another Windows-only, general-purpose text editor and is written in 10 different languages. It was built with Delphi and is small, compact and free for non-commercial use only.

So, if you will be getting paid for the work that you do with it, then you’ll need to purchase EditPadPro. Features are limited, but it does have tabbed editing, can remain running in the system tray, supports auto indenting and can be configured to suit your own taste and eyesight.

EditPad Lite also resembles Notepad with the exception of the formatting toolbar and tabs.

EditPad Lite
Pros
  • Tabbed editing interface
  • Auto indentation
  • Unlimited undo and redo even after saving a file (as long as it remains open)
  • Large file support
  • FTP support
  • Multiple instances
Cons
  • No syntax highlighting
  • No auto completion
  • No code folding
  • No text folding
  • No compiler integration
  • No macros
  • No collaborative editing
  • Spell checker not included in free version
  • No HTTP, SSH or WebDav support for remote file editing

ATPad

ATPad is not much different than most of the others mentioned above: it’s another rendition of Notepad with a few upgrades. Besides English, you can get ATPad in 11 other languages.

You get tabbed editing, customization options, line numbering, word wrapping, bookmarks (so that you don’t lose your place when returning), customizable snippets, sending via email and more.

Since ATPad doesn’t require installation, you can open it from virtually any kind of drive and it doesn’t leave any traces behind. To remove it simply delete the ATPad directory.

ATPad
Pros
  • Allows tiling and cascading of windows
  • Tabbed editing interface
  • Line numbering
  • Text snippets
  • Can send documents via email
  • No installation required
  • Ability to add bookmarks
  • Unlimited find/replaces and undo/redo
Cons
  • Does not come with spell checker

RJ TextEd

RJ TextEd is for Windows only and supports 18 different languages and 20 programming languages. It was built on CodeGear Delphi and is not open source. There is both a PC and portable version for download along with a handful of plugins and tools that you can download separately.

Unlike most of the clean cut programs mentioned above, RJ TextEd has toolbars, panes and tabs galore. You can also create projects and macros and customize your work environment.

RJ TextEd
Pros
  • Has a portable version
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Spell checker
  • Auto indentation
  • Auto completion
  • Code folding
  • Text folding
  • Compiler integration
  • Macros
  • FTP and Secure FTP support
  • SSH support for remote file editing
  • Multiple instances
Cons
  • No collaborative editing
  • No large file support
  • No HTTP or WebDav support for remote file editing

Komodo Edit

Komodo Edit is a fast open source program that can be used on Windows, Max OS X and Linux. It supports the following programming languages: PHP, Python, Ruby, JavaScript, Perl, Tcl, XML, HTML 5 and CSS 3.

It also comes equipped with "customizable syntax coloring, folding, background syntax checking, and excellent auto-complete and calltips (called ‘code intelligence’)." Their pages and pages of extensions are equivalent to Firefox’s and their "tricked out" editor is one of the most advanced featured on this list.

Along with all that you get remote file editing, a toolbox with shell command integration, macros, snippets and the list goes on. For more advanced features you can purchase Komodo IDE for Teams.

RJ TextEd
Pros
  • Extension support and macros
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Auto indentation
  • Auto completion
  • Code folding
  • Text folding
  • Code snippets
Cons
  • Spell checker not included
  • No compiler integration
  • No collaborative editing
  • No large file support
  • No multiple instances
  • For more advanced features you’ll need to upgrade for a hefty fee of $295 (without support and upgrades) or $382 (with support and upgrades)

TouchQode

As an added bonus we have TouchQode, which is an editor just for smartphones. It’s currently only available for Android, but you can subscribe to be notified about the iPhone release.

For a smartphone editor, it has some great features like syntax highlighting, the ability to run (simple) scripts, an integrated FTP client, file syncing and more. TouchQode really gives the the ability to code anywhere you go!

TouchQode
Pros
  • Android app
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code suggestions
  • Incremental search
  • File synchronization
Cons
  • No iPhone app (but coming soon)
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