A Definitive Guide to the Best Code Editors for Mac

A Definitive Guide to the Best Code Editors for Mac


Apple sold almost 18 million computers last year alone. There are millions of people out there using Macs for everything from streaming to data modeling and much more.

Many people also write and edit code on Macs these days. If you’re new to coding or new to Mac, you might wonder what code editors are out there. You may also wonder which ones are best, since there’s plenty of choice.

This guide aims to help you weed through the many different choices out there.

Best Free Code Editors

If you’re looking for a free code editor, you’ll doubtless encounter recommendations for Notepad++. Notepad++ is one of the oldest editors around. Despite its age, it remains one of the best options for editing code on the market today.

That is, unless you’re using a Mac. Notepad++ is a Windows-only program, which leaves Mac users out in the cold.

Luckily, there are plenty of great alternatives to Notepad++ Mac. Many of them are also free, which means you don’t need to break the bank for them either.

Atom is one of the best open-source options out there. It was developed for free by GitHub members. It’s perhaps the most user-friendly, cross-platform option out there.

Atom syncs with GitHub. It’s also considered one of the best for editing HTML. You can get plugins that offer additional programming languages to extend its functionality.

Another popular option is Sublime Text. It’s another cross-platform option, and it supports many different programming languages. Better yet, its compact interface lets you handle many development tasks at once.

Mac Code Editors for Beginners

One of the biggest appeals of Notepad++ on Windows is its simplicity. If you’re just getting started with coding, Atom and Sublime Text may look a bit daunting to use. What options do beginning programmers have for Mac?

TextMate is one of the best entries out there. It’s a plain text editor, like Notepad++. Don’t let that fool you into thinking it isn’t powerful though.

TextMate has some unique and innovative features, which lends to its versatility. It also offers support for many programming languages.

Another excellent option is Brackets, which is a free code editor. It uses JavaScript as its base, and it approaches coding with a minimalist ethic. That means the interface is clean, simple, and inviting.

The minimalist design doesn’t mean there’s no support or tools with this editor, though. One example is its DevTool Connector, which allows you to connect to Chrome DevTools.

Brackets is open-source. That said, it’s best for front-end web development. It supports several popular web programming languages, but not much more.

Still, it can be an excellent way to get into coding and web development.

Best Code Editors for Advanced Users

If you already know programming, then you want something with more power. You may even find Atom and Sublime Text don’t offer you the tools you want and need.

More advanced code editors exist. One of the most talked about is Visual Studio Code, also known as VS Code.

VS Code is developed by Microsoft, but it is available for macOS. It’s considered one of the very best code editors out there, which is why you can find programmers using it across a variety of platforms.

What makes VS Code so great? One of its major advantages is AI integration. It also offers built-in support for TypeScript, Node.js, and JavaScript.

There’s also a command-line interface, and smart support for GitHub. Despite all this, it remains user-friendly and simple to use.

CodeLite is another option for programmers looking for more. It’s an integrated development environment, which means it offers more tools for developers.

Despite that, CodeLite is aptly named. It’s lightweight and easy to use. Dedicated plugins extend its functionality beyond the core language support.

You’ll also get compiler support, debugging, integrators, and more. It also offers tools that make managing files in even the most complex projects simple.

Online Code Editor Options for Mac Users

Finally, you can look at browser-based code editors. This can help you get around the need to download a program.

Since these options are web-based, you don’t need to worry about whether you’re using macOS or Windows or any other operating system.

Part of the reason developers adopt these tools is to improve collaboration. They also need no set-up, so you can get started with them immediately. As an added bonus, they’re accessible anywhere, so they’re a great pick if you’re on the road a lot.

There are plenty of options in this category, which can make it tough to pick just one. Some of the best include PlayCode and CodePen.

Best Overall Code Editors for Mac

After this quick review of some of the top picks for code editors, you’re still wondering which code editors are really the best.

So, which of these programs are the best code editors for Mac overall? You won’t go wrong with Visual Studio Code. It’s popular, which means you won’t have trouble collaborating with other devs.

It also comes packed with features and support. Despite that, it still manages to be user-friendly.

Sublime Text is a close second. It’s popular for a reason, and its features give VS Code a run for its money. Sublime Text has a free trial, but you will need to pay for it after.

That said, it’s still an affordable option. If you’re looking for a free code editor with lots of features, then Atom might be the right pick.

For beginners, Brackets or TextMate will help you get started.

Make Your Tech Work for You

There are plenty of code editors for Mac out there, but not all of them are created equal. This list highlights just some of the best code editors for Mac. There are many more that offer developers more specialized environments to write, edit, and develop code.

Looking for more technology tips, tricks, and insights? You’re in the right spot! Check out our archives for more helpful how-to guides and all the latest tech trends.

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