It is always exciting for developers from all over the world whenever they get to showcase their best code editor at computer expos and tech conferences. On that note when we talk about free code editors for Windows and Mac to use in the year 2023, we cannot help but wait in anticipation of brand-new features to use right away.
In this write-up, we will talk about the best coding software for multiple platforms. However, we will lay extra emphasis on Windows OS and Mac OS because they are popular operating systems out there right now.
Most of these best code editors are free; you do not have to buy any expensive licenses or whatever to start working on them. Just download a trial version of the said software and see if it fulfills your requirements. Afterward, you can convert to paid software for yourself or the company you are working for.
In addition, we will also fill you in on the most amazing code editors that you and your development team can use feature-wise. Since not all code editors are alike, some of them cannot be used for wide-scale projects.
Likewise, a basic version code editor can be used as a standalone application. If the app itself allows, it can be integrated into an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Let’s take a look at our best code editor list and see what we have handpicked so far.
11 Free Best Code Editors for Windows & Mac to Use in 2023
One of the most well-known code editors that developers all over the world have been using for quite a while is Notepad++. This amazing application was developed in C++. The initial launch version was very simple. It didn’t have a lot of functions back then, but Notepad++ garnered tons of positive reviews.
Not only developers but casual users also prefer using this tool over Windows’ native notepad application.
Using the pure win32 API, Notepad++ has an amazing execution speed, which is great for modern gen machines. Thanks to improved execution times, code compilation spans over a matter of a few seconds. This helps programmers to get things done right away.
This application is only compatible with the Windows platform at the moment. It uses a GPL license to work. If you are a Mac fan, don’t worry. We have a couple of code editors appended to the list. Just keep glossing over it.
- Auto-completion: Word completion, Function completion
- User-defined Syntax highlighting and folding
- Multi-view and Multi-Language support
- Macro recording and playback
- Entirely customizable GUI
- Guided indentation
- Split-screen editing and synchronized scrolling
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One of the most famous and useful code editors on this list is Atom. Used by millions of developers all over the world, it is an amazing application with a very simple UI that increases its usability.
One of the cool features of this best free code editor is that the developers can submit packages straight from the application. Atom is available for download at multiple platforms: Windows, Linux, and Mac devices. If you are a Mac OSX user, this is the perfect time for you to give this app a shot.
- Package Manager Integrated for Plugins support
- Supports Command Palette
- The feature of smart autocompletion
- Cross-platform editing
- Built-in package manager
- File system browser
- Find and replace the tool
- Smart autocompletion
- Multiple panes
- Packages and themes
3. Visual Studio Code [VS Code]
One of the most effective and time-saving features of this application is its infusion with AI.
That means that all of the code that the developer writes in the application is read by the software. As a result, it generates auto-responses for code writing. These responses are based on variable types, function definitions, and essential modules.
This application is available for download on Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX.
- Code refactoring & debugging
- Easy working with Git and other SCM (Software Configuration Management) providers
- Easily extensible and customizable
- Visual Studio Code CLI
- Live Share
- Helpers (Intellisense, Context Menus)
- Plugins and Themes
- Split Views, Zen Mode
- Integrated Terminal
Although this list recommends some of the best code editors in the market, there is still no comparison to the Brackets code editor. Yes, it is free, but what makes it really useful is the full barrage of extensive new features.
This application has a lightweight framework designed by the people over at Adobe. Believe me, those people know what they are doing. It is one of the best code editors that is completely open-source and you can modify it to your liking.
One of the most amazing features of this application is that you can choose between a browser view to look at how your code is doing or you can view the source code in its original form and modify it from there.
This application is available to be used on Windows, Linux, and Mac devices.
- Offers live preview, pre-processor support, and inline editors
- Especially developed tool for macOS
- Quick Edit UI feature puts context-specific code and tools inline
- Pleasant looking UI
- It comes with the inbuilt extension manager for fast & effective extension management
- Quick Docs
- Live Preview
- LESS support
Another code editor on this list that as one of the most famous code editors is NetBeans. It is open-source software that developers can use to develop applications using programming languages like PHP, Java, and C++, among many others.
This software also contains features like code analyzers that can debug your code for you and also convertors to change anything that needs modification.
If your applications were developed in the recent past, be advised that NetBeans allows you to upgrade all your applications to benefit from the new and improved Java 8 language constructs.
This application is ready to be used on Windows, Linux, and Mac devices.
- Offers fast & Smart Code Editing
- Helps you to write bug-free code
- Easy & Efficient Project Management
- Rapid User Interface Development
- Cross-platform support
- Visual debugger
- Static analysis tools
- Code Editor
- Code converters
- Multiple language support
- NetBeans Profiler
- Project management
- Batch code analyzers
If you are a fan of working on dozens of different software at once and not wasting time for the code editor to take its sweet time to run your code, then Bluefish is the code editor that was designed with you in mind.
It is an excellent cross-platform editor that can handle many files of code at once and run them simultaneously. One other feature that the developers love about this application is that they can edit their code from their remote working station, which can be anywhere in the world.
This application contains many different options for web developers and programmers that can help them write code, websites, and scripts for quality testing of their software.
This application is available to be used by Windows, Linux, and Mac device owners.
- Auto-recovery of changes in modified documents after a crash, kill or shutdown
- Unlimited undo/redo functionality
- Loads hundreds of files within seconds
- The project support feature helps you to work efficiently on multiple projects
- Dialogues for many HTML tags, with all their attributes
- User-customizable toolbar for quick access to often-used functions
- Fully featured image insert dialogue
- Multi-thumbnail generation for easy creation of photo albums or screenshot pages
Another software that is reportedly comprehensive and can be considered an IDE within itself is called: Vim. It is an extremely advanced code editor that is open-source which gives you the ability to modify the application to your liking as a developer.
With the help of Vim editors and UNIX systems embedded in the software, the application can manage all of the text-editing activities of the developers in no time at all, whether the application is used online or on the premises.
This application is available to be used by Linux Devices.
- It is a command centric which lets you perform complex text-related tasks with few commands
- There are many plug-ins available for Vim. Its functionality can be extended in a great manner using these plug-in
- Same as multiple windows, it also supports multiple buffers
- It supports recording features that allow you to record and play Vim commands in a repeated manner
- Its memory footprint is exceptionally low
- It is highly configurable and uses a simple text file to store its configuration
- It supports multiple windows. Using this feature screen can be split into multiple windows
- It supports multiple tabs which allow you to work on multiple files
Next on this list of amazing code editors, we have the software Geany. This application is quite effective because it uses the GTK+ toolkit to accommodate all of the code that the developers push on the software.
An amazing feature of this application is that it has all of the necessary basic components that make up an effectively integrated development environment (IDE).
The developers can use this application to produce applications thanks to the software’s library which is full of different file types and other important features.
Geany supports Mac OSX, Windows, and Linux operating systems.
- Navigating through the source code is easy
- Show status message on attempt to execute empty context action
- Allows you to add a note for applying the indent settings in the project preferences
- Allows popup menu on message window notebooks and sidebar
- Syntax highlighting
- Autocompletion of symbols/words
- Auto-closing of XML and HTML tags
- Many supported filetypes including C, Java, PHP, HTML, Python, Perl, Pascal, and others
- Code navigation
- Simple project management
- Code folding for an overall organized approach to coding huge programs
- Construct completion/snippets
- Call tips
- Symbol lists
- Build a system to compile and execute your code
- Plugin interface
9. Komodo Edit
The software Komodo Edit is an intuitive but immensely powerful code editor that can easily run those long codes that you spent your sprints on.
The application allows you to perform the following functions straight from the application. These functions are integrations with other technologies like Docker, Grunt, Vagrant, PhoneGap, and many others like them.
You can also perform unit testing for all your quality assurance processes, debugging to make your code error-free and code refactoring.
This application is available to be used by Windows, Linux, and Mac device owners from all over the world.
- A lot of contemporary color schemes
- Easily integrates into the desktop environment
- Multi-Language Editor
- Native Unicode support and Unicode compatibility checking
- Track Changes
- Multiple selections
- Quick bookmarks
- Smart language detection
- Split view and multi-window
- Variable highlighting
- Symbol browser
- Autocomplete and call tips
- Soft characters and matching braces
- A free trial is available
Spacemacs is a popular code editor for Mac that is available for free. It is an Emacs-based code editor that aims to combine the best features of Emacs and Vim into one powerful tool. Spacemacs offers a wide range of features, including syntax highlighting, auto-completion, and code folding.
The tool is highly customizable and allows users to change settings, themes, and keyboard shortcuts to match their preferences. Spacemacs also includes a variety of plugins and extensions, including support for multiple programming languages and frameworks.
Additionally, it is easy to use, making it an excellent choice for both beginner and advanced coders. Spacemacs has a vibrant community of users who contribute to its development and offer support through forums and documentation. Overall, Spacemacs is an excellent code editor for Mac users who are looking for a powerful and free tool with a wide range of features and customization options.
- Combines the best features of Emacs and Vim into one powerful tool
- Free and open-source code editor for Mac users
- Offers syntax highlighting, auto-completion, and code folding
- Highly customizable, allowing users to change settings, themes, and keyboard shortcuts
- Includes a variety of plugins and extensions, such as support for multiple programming languages and frameworks
- Easy to use, making it an excellent choice for both beginner and advanced coders
- A vibrant community of users who contribute to its development and offer support through forums and documentation
- It is free to download
11. GNU Emacs
GNU Emacs is a free and open-source code editor that is highly customizable and extensible. It has been around since the 1970s and has evolved into a powerful programming environment over the years.
GNU Emacs supports a wide range of programming languages and offers features such as syntax highlighting auto-completion, and debugging tools. It also includes an extensive set of customization options, such as keyboard shortcuts and themes, which can be adjusted to match the user’s preferences.
GNU Emacs can be extended with a wide range of plugins and extensions, making it a flexible and versatile tool for developers. Additionally, the editor includes support for version control systems such as Git and Subversion, which can be a valuable asset for developers working on collaborative projects. Overall, GNU Emacs is a highly customizable and powerful code editor that is available as free programming software, making it accessible to developers of all skill levels.
- Free and open-source code editor
- Highly customizable and extensible
- Supports a wide range of programming languages
- Offers feature such as syntax highlighting, auto-completion, and debugging tools
- Includes an extensive set of customization options, such as keyboard shortcuts and themes
- Can be extended with a wide range of plugins and extensions
- Includes support for version control systems such as Git and Subversion
- Has been around since the 1970s and has a long history of development and evolution
- Suitable for both beginners and advanced users
- Available for multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux
- GNU Emacs is a free and open-source code editor.
What is a code editor?
A code editor is a text editor specifically designed to help people who write software and web development code.
It provides users with features such as syntax highlighting, auto-complete, debugging tools, built-in libraries of functions, and data structures for use in coding activities, among other things. Code editors can also be used for more general tasks such as writing HTML or CSS.
They are essential tools when creating software applications or websites. They allow developers to quickly read through their code, look for mistakes, and make changes without having to rewrite the entire program.
Many different types of code editors exist on the market today, ranging from basic ones that are completely free to more comprehensive ones that cost money but offer additional features.
Some popular examples include Visual Studio Code, Atom, and Brackets from Adobe.
Generally speaking, though, any code editor will have similar basic capabilities, such as line numbers and tabbing functions. Search/replace options – all of which make it easier for developers to work through large segments of source code much faster than would otherwise be possible by manually scrolling up and down, trying to find specific lines of interest.
Code editors provide users with an interface to type out their source code (using the correct language syntax).
What to look for when selecting a Code editor?
When selecting a code editor, whether you are using paid or free programming software, there are several factors to consider that can impact your coding experience and productivity.
Firstly, it is important to look for a code editor that is compatible with the programming languages you work with. A good code editor should also include features such as syntax highlighting, auto-completion, and debugging tools to make coding faster and less error-prone.
Customizability is also an important factor to consider when selecting a code editor. A customizable code editor allows you to adjust settings to suit your workflow and style, which can save time and increase productivity. Performance and speed are other crucial factors to keep in mind, particularly when working with larger codebases.
Additionally, community support and documentation are essential resources to have when selecting a code editor. By taking these factors into account, you can choose a code editor that meets your needs and helps you write code efficiently.
How do I pick a code editor?
When picking a suitable code editor, you must consider your requirements carefully before deciding on one particular product over another. What may seem like minor details could end up making quite a difference if you don’t take them into account.
The most common requirements include:
- Whether you need an open-source solution so that others can help develop/maintain your project;
- How fast does your computer run? Some editors require more system resources than others;
- What languages do you need support for;
- And finally, budget constraints, if applicable – spending lots of money upfront isn’t always necessary!
Before selecting any particular product, however, it’s wise to look around online first – check out reviews from other users who have tried different products already (either good or bad), so you can get an idea about which one might best suit your needs before purchasing anything outright just yet.
Also, be sure to try out demo versions provided by many vendors if available – this way, you’ll know exactly if certain features work well enough within their respective environments before making any thoughtful decisions either way.
Afterward, instead of wanting too much surprise later, only now, choose wisely upon checkout decision, double-check everything again just later – better no mistake here, else hereafter until happy, content with the result outcome wants to happen.
There you have it; these are the 11 best code editors available right now. They are free to download and use. They are designed and loaded with the best functionalities that developers regularly need.
Of course, our standard of a “best” free/ paid code editor may not be the same as yours. If you have a favorite software that wasn’t on this list, feel free to share your input through the comments section below. We will add that program for you in a follow-up extension write-up.
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