HTML Editor Software

The Best 10 Free and Open Source HTML Editors

The Best 10 Free and Open Source HTML Editors

It was not so late when Tim Berners-Lee discovered something during the 1990s that takes you from ‘tags’ to ‘text’. His invention of HTML code helped the world to enjoy a big transformation today on the World Wide Web, and that is HTML. For sure!

Very basic, but not avoidable, Hyper Text Markup Language has now become the standard language for creating web pages, and web applications. The features and functions of HTML involve easy creation of websites utilizing extraordinary software tools.

Here, ‘HyperTexts’ are some particular texts called hyperlinks that bring you to the next page or roam around the internet, anywhere you want to. ‘Markup’ covers the HTML tags inside the hypertexts. Together they form a ‘Language’ as it comprises code-words and syntaxes as any other language has.

HTML editors or editing software programs are used to edit the HTML and the markup of the web page. Though the HTML markup can be controlled with any text editor, still the specialized editing software programs are suggested to use for better convenience and added functionalities.

Free or premium, proprietary or open source, HTML editor software solutions have always been helpful in editing or evaluating the default code for web & layout designing and creating internet pages & websites.

What are HTML Editors?

An HTML editor is used either to convert text and layout interface input into the actual HTML code or to allow the users to scan the code in search for an appropriate syntax in design.

The former ones are WYSIWYG or 'what you see is what you get’ kind of editors that allow the users to perform HTML coding effectively using the visual platform, even when they are not much proficient in it. The later ones are textual HTML editors that show you the code you have written in it line by line.

HTML editors give more emphasis over the syntactical efficiency and effectiveness of HTML as a coding language. The language stresses more over opening and closing of the tags, text formatting, colour schemes, hyperlinks, and many other relevant commands.

Many other languages like Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) etc. supplement the further successive versions of HTML and are supporting their best being a more sophisticated and advanced form of web development.

How does an HTML Editor work?

As a standalone tool, an HTML editor often plays a significant role in the larger Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for a developer. IDE seems like a huge toolbox that doesn’t just provide an arena to the developers for code editing, but also to compile, interpret and debug the code.

An HTML editor helps you explicitly in tracking the code. When you technically type a code into any word processor, you will automatically get the tools for HTML editing to ensure that the code is written perfectly.

Syntax correction and spell-checking are the most basic facilities that are provided by HTML editors. Syntax tracking is also included in their job-list to highlight different parts of your code. This way, the code becomes easily readable when it gets separated line by line. Also, these tools usually allow you to auto-complete or insert the common elements related to HTML.

HTML Editor vs. Text Editor

While comparing the two, an HTML editor seems more functional than the simple text editor and this functionality feature relates to assisting in the creation of web pages easily and quickly.

Though you can code HTML using a basic text editor, an advanced tool - HTML editor makes your tasks much more comfortable. For example, an HTML editor can easily detect where the opening HTML tag is, so it will automatically place the closing tag at the needed position. Hence, it reduces your typing efforts and makes things easier for you.

The "WYSIWYG editors" allow you to edit the texts and codes in the WYSIWYG mode. Therefore, creating a website becomes extremely easy with them.

Key Features of an HTML Editor

HTML editors are helpful for the developers for many reasons. They take up the headache of manual creation and editing of the web apps & websites and impart an advanced approach of using hi-tech web-building and editing tools. It is time and effort saving of course.

Key features of HTML Editors

Why should you use an HTML Editor?

For the dedicated writers and coders, it seems like a boon to have an HTML editor. Drafting lots and lots of words and codes every day will only give you the peace of mind when your final document looks and sounds excellent. The best online HTML editor works much better than a master coder with no typo mistakes while writing codes all day. It helps you to catch the errors so that you would not have to roam back to entire code manually to find where the mistake has happened.

If we focus on the abilities of such tools, many HTML editors can handle other languages as well like PHP or CSS. Hence, it gives you more options if you want to explore other branches like web designing, as well.

Are HTML editors free?

There is a big list of coding tools on the internet today. But, if you are learning about the basics of coding or just striking out on your own to commence a website designing business, you probably uninterested  in finding a costly solution.

You are lucky that the world of technology also caters some good free and open source HTML editors. ‘Free’ does not mean that they compromise in terms of quality, but are economical for the users who cannot afford the premium ones. Simultaneously, the ‘open source’ category makes them more trusted as they are flexible enough to get modified.

Free and Open Source HTML Editors

Like any software, all HTML editors have different features. Here, you can see an assortment of some of the best free and open source HTML editors that will not just serve your purpose, but also save some bucks.

Lets us check out the list of most exceptional free and open source HTML editor software programs:

List of HTML Editors

Comparison Chart between different Free and Open Source HTML Editors

This article compiles a detailed comparison and description of some of the best free and open source HTML editing software programs. The comparison in the chart given below describes different aspects of these software programs and helps you to choose the best according to your needs.

Comparison Chart of HTML Editors

Let us check all the above-listed HTML Editors in detail and have a good insight about them.

1. Arachnophilia:

Developed by Paul Lutus, and written in Java, Arachnophilia is a trusted source code editor. It is also regarded as a successor to another HTML editor – WebThing. It is a free and open source HTML editor that works under GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) and its stable version 5.5.2922 release date is November 18, 2016. It works on the Java SE platform.


(Source: Arachnophilia)


  • It is a powerful, full-featured, freeware and non-graphical HTML editor that comes with integrated FTP client software interface and allow the users to upload their web pages to their web hosting server account.
  • It facilitates building frames, tables, and other HTML programming objects.
  • It provides support for international characters and content.
  • A new feature – ‘HTML Validate’ to help you find and correct the structural errors in your web pages.
  • It facilitates an advanced macro editor for creating, deleting and editing commands along with all the controls that one thinks of as difficult into a program.

2. Bluefish:

A powerful text editor – Bluefish supports development in HTML, XHTML, CSS, XML, PHP, C, C++, JavaScript, Java, Google Go, Vala, Ada, D, SQL, Perl, ColdFusion, JSP, Python, Ruby, and shell. It is cross-platform software developed by Bluefish Dev Team and its stable version 2.2.10 release date is January 27, 2017.


(Source: Bluefish)


  • Bluefish HTML editor is fast and lightweight to use. It starts quickly and can load hundreds of files within seconds.
  • It facilitates full-screen editing.
  • It supports customizable programming language.
  • It gives bookmarks functionality and ZenCoding support.
  • It is supported with multiple document interface i.e. more than 500 documents can be tested simultaneously.
  • It provides extensive functionality for undo and re-do activities.
  • Bluefish lets you have an extensible program through plugins and scripts.

3. Aptana Studio3:

Aptana Studio 3 is recognised as the world’s most powerful open source website development IDE. It supports web-applicable based coding languages like PHP, AJAX, JavaScript, and Ruby on Rails, HTML and CSS. It is a product of Appcelerator, Inc. And its latest released version is 3.7.2.


(Source: Aptana Studio 3)


  • Aptana Studio 3 aids in the authoring of JavaScript, PHP, HTML, CSS and Ruby.
  • It supports latest HTML5 specifications.
  • It supports multiple protocols like FTP, SFTP, FTPS, and Capistrano.
  • It facilitates git integration by putting your projects under git source code control.
  • Aptana software quickly accesses the built-in command line terminal to execute commands and language utilities of the operating system.
  • Exceptional IDE Customization with Aptana helps you in setting up the development environment precisely in the way you want.

4. Eclipse SDK:

Eclipse software development kit (SDK), released under the Eclipse Public License is a free and open source IDE software program. It runs on multiple platforms and its stable version 4.10 (2018-12 R) release date is December 19, 2018. The software is written in C and Java languages and is a product of reputed Eclipse Foundation.

Eclipse SDK

(Source: Eclipse SDK)


  • The Eclipse Software Development Kit (SDK) includes all the Java development tools and is meant for Java developers.
  • Eclipse SDK uses plug-ins for providing all the functionality on top of or within the run-time system.
  • Eclipse facilitates the Rich Client Platform (RCP) to develop general purpose applications.
  • Views, editors, perspectives, and wizards comprise an essential part of the Eclipse workbench.
  • It supports Remote Component Environment.

5. Brackets:

One of the prominent source code editor – Brackets primarily focuses on web development. It is free and open source software, written in JavaScript, HTML and CSS, developed by Adobe Systems and is licensed under the MIT License. It operates on Mac OS, Linux and Windows and its stable version 1.13 release date is June 18, 2018.


(Source: Brackets)


  • ‘Brackets’ is a powerful, lightweight and modern text editor.
  • It is most helpful in web designing.
  • The newly released version of the software makes you easily manipulate the folder structure within it using simple drag and drop facility.
  • Now the users can open a web-page accessed remotely from within Brackets.
  • Updating brackets automatically is another opportunity with the new release, without leaving the code editor.

6. Apache NetBeans:

Java-based Integrated Development Environment – NetBeans is the Apache Software Foundation’s product, originally developed by Roman StanÄ›k. The software works on Java SE, Java EE and Java FX, available in 28 languages and runs as per Apache License. The stable version 10.0 release date of the software is December 27, 2018.


(Source: Apache NetBeans)


  • Apache NetBeans is a fast and smart editor.
  • It can be installed on all the operating systems supporting Java, Mac OSX, BSD and Windows.
  • On the NetBeans platform, the applications can install the modules dynamically.
  • The platform facilitates reusable services that are commonly offered by desktop applications and this allows the developers to focus on the logic specific to their application.
  • Maven support, refactorings, version control, and Ant-based project system are among other features of NetBeans IDE.

7. SeaMonkey:

SeaMonkey is a free and open source Internet Suit comprising an HTML editor developed by SeaMonkey Council. It is written in C++, XUL, XBL, and JavaScript operated on Windows, MacOS, Linux, and Gecko platforms and licensed as per MPL/GPL/LGPL. The latest version 2.49.4 release date of this software is July 27, 2018.


(Source: SeaMonkey)


  • SeaMonkey facilitates powerful yet simple HTML editor.
  • It provides a dynamic image and table re-sizing facility.
  • It provides the facility of quick ‘insert’ & ‘delete’ table cells.
  • SeaMonkey Composer is a WYSIWYG HTML editor.
  • The main user interface of this software features four tabs: Normal (WYSIWYG), HTML tags, HTML code, and browser preview.
  • As said by their reviewers, it is the best composer for all of their documents and website projects.

8. SynWrite:

SynWrite is another prominent name in context to free and open source HTML editing, source code editing and Notepad replacement. Written in Python language and licensed under Mozilla Public License 1.1 (MPL 1.1), SynWrite runs on different Windows-based platforms like: Windows XP, Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 8, and Windows 10. SynWrite is a product by UVViewSoft and its stable version 6.38.2770 release date is August 30, 2017.


(Source: SynWrite)


  • SynWrite possesses a fully customizable syntax and can make the codes readable in many languages.
  • It supports almost all encoding systems, i.e. ASCII, Unicode, etc.
  • Regarding panels, it facilitates tree view for source code, text clips, tabs list, external tool outputs, document mini-map, clipboard history, file manager, project management and FTP/SFTP client.
  • Regarding coding, it facilitates auto-completion, auto-closing of tags and brackets, code templates, colour picker, colour preview, insert image tags, portable bookmarks, column markers, insert date/time stamps etc.
  • The software supports multiple-caret editing and multiple selections.

9. Atom:

Atom is one of the best free and open source text and source code editors. It works on Mac OS, Linux and Windows, written in Electron (back-end), CoffeeScript / JavaScript / Less / HTML (front-end/UI), available in English language and licensed as free software under MIT License (free software). The stable version 1.34.0 release date of this software is January 8, 2019.


(Source: Atom)


  • Atom software comes with a built-in package manager so that you can search for and install new packages or create your own package right from Atom.
  • The software helps in writing code faster with a smart and flexible auto-complete.
  • Users are facilitated to split their atom interface into multiple panes for comparing and editing code across files.
  • The file system browser helps in easily browsing and opening a single file, a whole project or multiple projects in the same window.
  • Easy opportunity to find, preview and replace text as you type in a file or across your all projects.

10. Maqetta:

A free and open source HTML editor – Maqetta is a web-based WYSIWYG editor that is designed to edit the web applications and documents based on HTML5. The software is written in JavaScript and HTML and works on any HTML5-enabled web browser. It is an IBM product and licensed as per BSD or AFL. The final version 9 release date of this software is February 6, 2013.


(Source: Maqetta)


  • Maqetta facilitates on-screen visual editing and drag & drop page assembly.
  • The specific toolbar is available for common editing operations like cut, copy, paste, delete, undo, redo, preview in browser, save and save as.
  • Widget palette is made available for HTML elements or widget libraries.
  • It provides built-in desktop and mobile themes and assures custom theme creation as well.
  • It assures simultaneous editing in design, source or split view and relocation of libraries in the workspace.

CoffeeCup is an interesting commercial HTML editing software. We have included this in the popular category.  Let us see key aspects of this software below:


CoffeeCup came into existence 26 years ago as an American software development company. It provides users with great and affordable software solutions. The initial version of the CoffeeCup HTML editor was released during August 1996 and its stable version 15.4 was released on June 5, 2012. The software holds Freemium Trialware license and it operates on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.


(Source: CoffeeCup)


  • The CoffeeCup HTML editor comes with handy tag preferences, and intuitive tools like code completion.
  • It is a WYSIWYG based HTML editor.
  • It get starts in seconds with either creating new HTML or CSS files from scratch or a jumpstart on a professional design using an existing layout or theme.
  • The component library is a gigantic timesaver that automatically updates everywhere, if you have once edited an item.
  • Exceptional built-in validation tool allows the users to check all types of codes for perfectly valid pages.

Apart from the list and detailed description given above about the top free and open source HTML editors, you can also check Evrsoft, Bluegriffon, GNU Emacs, TinyMCE, CKEditor, and Crimson Editor. In case, you have used any of these software programs earlier; you can share your reviews with us.


There are so many reasons that justify that writing or coding alone cannot do justice to your esteemed web project; associating with good HTML editing software will make the things easier and comfortable. Certain things that you cannot specify, edit or modify, easily gets accomplished using such kind of tool.

For example, if you wish to format certain characters as HTML entities, then you can simply use a character tab available in the software to insert these entities.

Apart from appearance, it is necessary to keep your website structured and organized.

Nonetheless, the free and open source HTML editors are an excellent choice for sure to have a qualitative and economical solution for your web development needs. Just select the most appropriate software and enjoy the benefits.

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Lisa Brian
Lisa Brian

Lisa Brian is an Engineering graduate and a content writer with GoodFirms. She has 5+ years of experience in content writing and marketing. A tech enthusiast, Lisa loves to write about cutting-edge technologies and emerging trends in the software industry.

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