A Comprehensive Guide to Adopt WYSIWYG Editors

Updated on :June 15, 2024
By :Vincent Lambert

“What You See is What You Get” is not a catchy phrase. Instead, it's an HTML editor in which the content on a blog or web page appears as it would when it's live. This editor focuses on the results, allowing you to create a clear sense of your ideas. A WYSIWYG editor is simpler and accurate in comparisons to other similar types of editors.

How the term “WYSIWYG” was coined?

Earlier the editor was designed to focus on the description of the technology to allow creators to visualize the end product look and the final copy of its result. Later on, WYSIWYG became popular.

Today, the editor is available in many forms as a web editing tool with more related terms WYSIMOLWYG (what you see is more or less what you get) to WYSIWYG (what you see is almost what you get). These abbreviations are generally described to depict the limitations of the editors, designed on the basic idea of "what you see is what you get"  The exact WYSIWYG functionality allows you to develop web pages with your own choice.

Historical Facts of WYSIWYG:

  • Before WYSIWYG editors came into existence in the 1970s, content creators had very little control over the way their documents appeared. To manage content, typists used "control codes" that represent the desired formatting. The formatting functions such as center alignment or justify content were a manual process.
  • Charles Simonyi, the Hungarian-born software executive, the man behind the invention of Microsoft Office and Excel is responsible for innovation of the modern computer; WYSIWYG word processing, or the “what you see is what you get” interface that made desktop publishing a user-friendly interface.
  • Simonyi and his fellow engineers developed the first WYSIWYG word processor in 1974 while working at the Xerox PARC. The program was called Bravo and written for the Xerox, Alto. Initially, the Xerox employees would type a generic memo on the screen featuring the Xerox logo. Then, they would place printed transparency over the screen, showing that, indeed, “what you see is what you get.”
  • Xerox Alto was the first personal computer and enabler of the first WYSIWYG editing system for developers.
  • Simonyi and Richard Brodie at Microsoft developed a word processor called Multi-Tool became famous as Microsoft Word in 1983.
  • While the enormous popularity of Microsoft Word, WYSIWYG first editor came for the MS-Dos version known as MicroPro. Though it took time to gain popularity, the first WYSIWYG editor started growing up slowly.

Modern WYSIWYGs: Adobe Creative Cloud

  • The new editor of WYSIWYG, by the name WebMagic, came in 1995 by Silicon Graphics which proved to be an excellent help for non HTML coders to build websites.
  • Silicon Graphic's  COO Tom Jermoluk, John McCrea decided to launch a product line for web authoring and came up with the WYSIWYG, new editor.
  • With great dedicated efforts of McCrea, Ting and David Koplas (IBM’s coder) were the primary resources to come with WebMagic, a new editor for WYSIWYG.
  • Soon Vermeer Technologies was acquired by Microsoft in 1996 and came up with FrontPage, like a WYSIWYG HTML editor compatible with Windows. FrontPage became popular especially during Microsoft’s "browser war" against Netscape. Soon, Microsoft SharePoint Designer and Microsoft Expression Web in 2006 took over the Front Page editor.
  • Dreamweaver was another WYSIWYG HTML editor launched during this time. It was a product of Macromedia and quickly became another powerful WYSIWYG HTML editor, creating a user-friendly environment for website development.
  • In 2005, Macromedia was taken over by Adobe taking the rights of the dream weaver editor. Since then, Adobe has maintained the development on the software, which now exists as the leading tool in Adobe's Creative Cloud, the present day tool used for WYSIWYGs.

With the previous experience of designing WYSIWYG HTML editors, editors available today are more streamlined. Some of the top HTML editors functions exceptionally well today.

Let us understand a few of them here;

Google Web Designer

In 2013, Google unveiled a Web Designer, a WYSIWYG tool for developing interactive HTML5 websites and ads. Google’s Web Designer along with the integrations facilitates designing a high-quality website effortlessly in a responsive manner.

 Today Google web designer is used to create the latest websites using graphics and animation. It is a fantastic tool. Some of the features are:

User-friendly Interface

Google web designer is a user-friendly tool equipped with all modern features, for instance, HTML5 logo animation. With the ease of programming, it is no wonder that people prefer this tool for creating interactive websites.

High-quality logo animation

The logo of the brand, its representation on the webpage is the recipe to succeed on the web. The logo animation tool of Google Web designer is a great experience to create an animated logo.

3D content

The websites are using all those tricks which can attract new users. Creating a 3D content is one of the features which sites are implementing. In the multi-functionality websites or the eCommerce website, the 3D element is a great help for having animation and content display in the same window.

Compatible with any device

Google Web Designer is a well-accepted editor, and so far no compatibility related issues have been reported. Therefore, while using Google Web Designer, you won’t have to worry that your HTML5 banner animation is working on the iPhone or not.

Google web designer is used even by professional designers because it is a single tool used for animation designing, editing and so on. For designing a web page, this is a complete tool.


 It is an open source, the platform-independent editor used for the content management system (CMS). The editor goes well with the Word Press, Drupal and all other web tools used for creating CMS based web pages. TinyMCE allows users to convert HTML areas to editor instances, which is a big advantage for eCommerce websites. TinyMCE has several advantages; some of them are:

  • Easy Installation: The editor is easy to install and learn. By following the instructions, you can quickly start working on the tool. It offers various designing facilities just like setting the layout as per the content requirement.
  • Fully Compatible with Microsoft: The editor was designed to support Microsoft technologies. It is fully compatible with IIS server. However, the editor becomes slow on other processors.
  • Multiple configuration options: The editor has various options to choose different configurations which make it a familiar tool for web designers.
  • Super lightweight: Among the other qualities of the editor, it is a light weighted component which is transferable from one system to another. It has all the features of a lightweight CMS editor to use on any platform.

Open Element

OpenElement is a free web authoring editor with WYSIWYG features. The automatic generation of the code for a website is one of the attractive features of the editor. The software allows the users to define and drive the exact path to their website. Some of the main features include:

Intuitive interface

It’s a significant advantage in dynamic sites. With this feature, web page editing is quite easy, and again and again, you are not required to create a web page from scratch.

Managed code

The layered coding is done to provide the flexibility to handle a big system easily. If any coding related issue is occurring or you are willing to modify the page. You can select the layer and change the specific part’s coding.

Reusable styles and element packs

The CSS and styles created can be reused which reduces the pain of writing them again. Also, the coding becomes easy and readable. It supports the latest versions and HTML editors.

SEO  Support

It supports multilingual websites environment which is the latest demand of the coders. The editor makes the coding process as easy and interactive as if you are explaining the functionality to someone.

Responsive design

With the growing use of mobile and other platforms, responsive designs have become a mandatory requirement. With OpenElement, you can create fully customized CSS based web pages which are supporting the mobile platform too.

Element editor

Open Element can create and share new element required for accessing data from the other resources or while creating an eCommerce type of website. The shared features are the latest requirement of today’s programmers.

Easy integration of scripts

One of the significant advantages of the editor is the ability to integrate with the databases. You don’t need an explicit connection to create a relationship with the database; instead, the editor automatically establishes a link by adding a script.

Image and code optimization

The editor is capable of providing image and code optimization feature to make the various interfaces communicate through the universal coding. Open Element editor supports all the major image formats.

The Google Chrome browser fully supports the Open Element editor and allows you to create multifunctional web pages.

HubSpot's inline editor

 It is a new WYSIWYG system for customers. The editor allows creating more compelling content and web pages to fully adopt the features of WYSIWYG experience. The main features of the editor include:

  • Easy Update: inline text editing allows anyone who knows how to use a word processor to makes updates to your website.
  • Mobile Friendly: your website and emails look good on all platforms, from phones to tablets to boardrooms.
  • Contact Database: stop managing website form submissions via email and spreadsheets.
  • Add-on Functionality; The scope of smart content tools allow your site to use a visitor's perspective rather than sounding like a broken record.
  • Better Visitor Analytics: simplified dashboards provide the most critical information at-a-glance with drill-down capabilities for more detailed metrics.
  • Maintenance-free: your site software is kept up-to-date automatically to prevent security breaches and ensure optimum performance; no more need to upgrade plugins and themes continually.
  • Customer support: HubSpot provides top-notch phone and email support if you have questions or ever find yourself unsure how to accomplish a task.

If you are ready to grow, consider the HubSpot website platform for your next website. If you think HubSpot might be a good fit for your site, you can use the trial version. HubSpot editor provides a chance to accelerate your web pages and compare with the other modern interfaces available for the web page designing.

Importance of WYSIWYG for software localization

The website development requires the integration of many components such as design, code, databases, interfacing from other resources and so on. No doubt, the designing and content creation are the two significant factors, but desktop publishing using WYSIWYG editing eliminates you to edit the coding pages as you write the simple word files. In creating web images, this is an excellent tool which has raised the popularity of these editors.

There is nothing on the web which can claim that this is the only tool to survive, but WYSIWYG editors have provided a direction to the web site pages created securely. Not only the simple web pages creation has become easy, but WYSIWYG editors have alsoincreased the scope of adding new elements in the form of graphics, images and small animations making it more interactive and user-friendly.

Thus, the above sections clearly clarifies that WYSIWYG editors will be a significant part of next-generation web page creation. Some of the major benefits will include:

  • A quality author experience
  • A complete CMS
  • Best  Content Explosion
  • Creating Value-based original Content
  • Effective creation and innovation in web pages
  • Betters services and elaborated information
  • API Documentation
  • Easy portability and compatibility for other platforms such as mobile

Finally, when you are convinced to use WYSIWYG editors, now to choose the best editor for yourself to follow these tips:

  • Understand Your Editors and Your Content
  • Bring It Together (A Web Page = HTML + Scripts + CSS + Media + database)
  • Image Editing Accessibility including  Style Sheet Classes
  • Don’t Expect Editors to Understand Metadata
  • Get The Basics Right Using a rich text editor is an unconscious skill. Don’t underestimate the importance of the UX, and UI
  • Less, But Better, editing never gets over
  • Adaptable web format in easy content creation way
  • Adapting mobile platform in a more challenging way to adjust and carry forward with the content
  • From the Desktop to the Web Word processing has now shifted to web Google Docs, Office 365, IBM Docs and so on.
  • Editing in the Cloud is becoming a mandatory experience for supporting services,
  • Reusable content templates Real-time collaboration Content portability

When a new technology or process starts gaining popularity, the criticism is obvious to come. Some of the professional web designer’s oppose the use of the WYSIWYG editors. Let’s get to know their point of view:

 Most of the web developers believe that every website has some unique features further enhanced with the developer's creativity and intelligence. Everything shouldn’t be made available with a push button or a single click.  The WYSIWYG editors are ready to use a tool. Using these tools and step by step follow up, anybody who is unaware of the web development tools will be able to create a website. In the longer run, we will lose authenticity and integrity, and the entire site will look more or less similar.

Moreover, some of the significant concerns shown by the developers are:

  • Web pages are inherently more complicated than a Word document
  • WYSIWYG tools aren’t intelligent enough, yet
  • WYSIWYG Distracts users with the formatting
  • WYSIWYG often hides critical technical details.
  • WYSIWYG seldom gets you WYG

Final Thoughts – Scope of Regeneration

The need for web editors has become a necessity, and WYSIWYG editors can fulfill the requirements for now. However, in the future, we can see enhancements. For now, the WYSIWYG editors offer a wide acceptance as:

  • Easy to grasp the basics
  • A worthwhile investment to replace simple HTML pages
  • Provide advanced tools, at least cost and changes in the web environment.
  • And lastly, it provides a superior experience in the long term for complete CMS and web authoring experience.

WYSIWYG HTML editors have proved its legitimacy and there are many who have invested and benefited in these editors. Free and Open source HTML editors are doing big rounds now.

Vincent Lambert
Vincent Lambert

Vincent Lambert is the co-founder and president of TactikMedia, an innovative digital marketing and web development agency. Vincent’s biggest priority is to attract quality traffic to websites, which ultimately will bring in quality leads, thanks to top-notch work in organic and paid searches. He has a solid understanding of everything relating to SEO, cost per click, remarketing, and conversion optimization.