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The best code editors in 2021: our guide to the top options

Best code editors: Notepad++

(Image credit: Notepad++)

07. Notepad++

Classic code editor still popular among Windows users.

Price: Free | Platform: Windows | Developer: Don Ho

Continually updated
Supports tabbed editing
Windows only

It's been around for a long time now, but Notepad++ deserves a place on this list, because it can still compete with the best text editors around. This option is for Windows users only, and is still being actively updated. For no money whatsoever, you get a capable (if sometimes workmanlike) editor with plenty of features, and you can also mess about with the interface to suit your preferences. It's the work of Paris-based software engineer Don Ho. 

best code editors: GNU Emacs code editor

08. GNU Emacs

Feature-rich code editor for Emacs.

Price: Free | Platform: Windows, OS X, Linux | Developer: Richard Stallman

Free forever
Content-aware editing modes
Unicode support
Learning curve

There are various incarnations of Emacs but one of the most often-used is GNU Emacs; a free-forever, extensible and customisable text editor. It's one of the most powerful editors out there and as such takes a while to learn your way around. Features include content-aware editing modes and full Unicode support for nearly all script types. 

best code editors: Komodo Edit code editor

09. Komodo Edit

Simple yet powerful code editor.

Price: Free | Platform: Windows, OS X, Linux | Developer: ActiveState

Multi-language support
Track changes
View a Markdown version
Fully featured IDE requires payment

Komodo Edit is a powerful but basic code editor. It offers multi-language support, multiple selections and autocomplete, plus the ability to track changes or view a Markdown version. There's also a more fully featured IDE, which you'll need to pay for.

Best code editors: Buffer interface

(Image credit: Buffer)

10. Buffer Editor

Code on the go using your iPhone or iPad

Price: £9.99 | Platform: iOS | Developer: Jesse Kuronen

Split view and fullscreen 
Fast interface
Multiple terminals in tabs
iOS only

If coding on the go is your thing (and you're an Apple fan), Buffer Editor could be a great option for you. This iOS app is designed to make it easy to make quick changes to your website via your iPhone or iPad. It offers split view or fullscreen modes, and you can quickly switch between tabs. It also connects with BitBucket, GitHub, GitLab, Dropbox, iCloud ,Google Drive, SFTP, SSH and FTP servers.

Coffee Cup HTML editor

(Image credit:

11. CoffeeCup HTML Editor

Slick code editor with free and paid options

Price: Free version, or $29 (free trial available) | Platform: Windows | Developer: CoffeeCup Software

Free version
Customisable themes
Components library
Must pay to unlock some features

CoffeeCup HTML Editor offers two different code editor options. There's a free version, which is great for beginners looking for a simple text editor. With it, you can create new HTML and CSS files from scratch or edit existing site files. Alternatively, there are a bunch of customisable responsive themes you can use to kick-start a new project. There's also a paid version, which includes a more features, such as HTML and CSS validation tools and a table designer.

best code editors: Coda code editor

12. Coda

Fast and clean code editor.

Platform: OS X | Price: $99 | Developer: Panic

'Wildcare' find-and-replace
Quickly create colours
OS X only

Text editor Coda (now on version 2) is a OS X app that offers plenty of handy tools. Alongside the usual code editor options, there are some interesting features – for example, Find and Replace includes a 'Wildcard' token that makes RegEx one-button simple, and Coda Pops enables you to quickly create colours or gradients, using easy controls, as you type. 

best code editors: DroidEdit Pro code editor

13. DroidEdit Pro

Code editor for Android.

Platform: Android | Price: $2.49/£1.99 | Developer: André Restivo

Simple interface
Supports syntax highlighting
Android only

DroidEdit Pro is a slick code editor for Android tablets and phones. For the low price tag you get an app that looks great and works nicely for coding on the move. The simple interface gets out of the way, and the app supports syntax highlighting, bracket matching, Dropbox, and SFTP/FTP. There are also configurable shortcuts, to cut down on hunting and pecking on smaller Android device keyboards.

best code editors: Textastic code editor

14. Textastic

Code editor for use on the iPad

Platform: iOS | Price: $9.99 | Developer: Alexander Blach

Optimised for iPad
Extra keyboard keys
TextExpander support for snippets
iOS only

Textastic is a code editor aimed specifically at coding on the iPad (although there are iPhone and Mac versions). Along with all the usual bits and bobs you'd expect (FTP/SFTP support, local and remote preview, syntax highlighting), you get a handy additional row of keys on the virtual keyboard that provides fast access to regularly used characters. There's also TextExpander support for working with and expanding snippets.

Next page: How to choose the right code editor