Apple’s TextEdit is the standard text editor for Macs. It is free and available to the public, just like macOS. It can be used as a word processor and editor. When compared to other text editors, however, its features fall short. Therefore, it’s not the finest option for coding and won’t help you handle application projects effectively.
You should thus check at some of the third-party text editors available if you require a more full experience from a text editor. The top Mac text editors are listed below to assist you in this endeavor.
Top-Rated Text Editors for the Mac
There are many varieties of text editors, but they can all be broken down into two general categories: plain text editors and rich text editors, and source-code editors. The primary distinction between the two types is the functions they perform.
Whereas text editors’ features are narrowly focused on streamlining the document creation and editing processes, source-code editors’ focus expands to include tools that expedite the coding procedure. In contrast to a regular text editor, a source-code editor provides helpful tools like syntax highlighting, autocomplete, indentation, and bracket matching.
Therefore, a source-code editor can be used for general document authoring and editing, but a simple text editor should not be used for coding. A standard text editor may not provide as pleasant an experience for developers as a dedicated source-code editor or an IDE (integrated development environment), but it is possible to do so.
Now that we have that out of the way, I will list the top Mac text editors.
Substantial Code Editor
Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code (also known as VS Code) is a free, open-source code editor. The Electron foundation it was developed on allows it to run on Linux, macOS, and Windows equally well.
Differentiating VS Code from other source-code editors is its support for numerous folders and their separation into individual workspaces, much like a language-independent code editor.
Visual Studio Code has features like IntelliSense and Peek Definition that can assist beginners learn about many facets of programming.
Get the coding software Visual Studio
GitHub, which was recently acquired by Microsoft, created Atom, a free and open-source code editor. Therefore, many of its features are created and maintained by its user base. Atom, like Visual Studio Code, is built on the Electron framework, however it lacks some features that are present by default in VS Code. However, because to its plugin architecture, Atom can be customized to your needs and project workflow in a variety of ways.
Syntax highlighting, intelligent autocompletion, and a file system browser are just a few of the standard features you’ll find in Atom, along with plenty of configuration options. It also integrates with Git for storing and managing projects within the editor, and it has a built-in package manager to help you search for and install new packages on your system.
Sublime Text is a shareware source code editor, meaning that you can use the vast majority of its capabilities for free but must pay for access to the remaining ones. It’s one of the most popular Mac text editors, and it’s built from the ground up with Python and web development in mind. But it may be used for other languages as well, like programming and markup.
Sublime Text, like Atom, has plugin support so you may add any missing features and make your editing experience even better. Sublime Text’s command palette, snippets, code auto-completion, goto anything, goto definition, and split editing are all very helpful features. Sublime Text’s integrated package manager streamlines the process of locating and installing add-ons for the editor.
In addition to Sublime Text, SublimeHQ now offers Sublime Merge, a graphical user interface (GUI) version control (Git and merging tool) for Sublime Text that speeds up repository searches, commits, and conflict resolution.
Get Sublime Text here.
This is a BBEdit
Bare Bones Software’s BBEdit is a text editor for Mac computers exclusively. It’s effectively a no-cost replacement for the popular TextWrangler text editor, which was only ever made for Macs and was eventually discontinued.
However, BBEdit’s free tier, unlike TextWrangler’s, includes sufficient features and programming functionalities to make it a worthwhile alternative to the variety of other text editors available. It’s a basic text editor that can be used for everything from working with text files to writing code or making scripts. AppleScript, Python, Perl, RegEx, and Shell are just some of the scripting languages BBEdit is compatible with.
Among BBEdit’s many features are tools for defining projects, syntax coloring, code folding, automatic code completion, and a fast search and replace capability. Integration of code management systems and support for the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and the Secure FTP Protocol (SFTP) round out the package.
The Mac App Store features BBEdit.
Get BBEdit here.
Vim, short for Vi Improved, is a modified version of the popular text editor Vi. Vi, an editor that conforms to the POSIX standard, is pre-installed on most classic Unix distributions, including macOS. When compared to the other text editors on this list, Vim is in a league of its own visually.
Vim is a text editor that puts an emphasis on getting the fundamentals right, in contrast to other modern text editors which emphasize presenting a pretty interface packed with a ton of features and functionalities. And it excels at that task. However, the editor offers robust plugin support, with new plugins being produced on an ongoing basis, so that you can tailor it to your own coding methodology and workflow.
Since Vim lacks a graphical user interface, all of its operations must take place in a command line or terminal window. As a modal editor, Vim also features a variety of modes that may require some practice before you can use them effectively. However, once you master Vim, you’ll find that it greatly enhances your productivity. And it’s quite unlikely that you’ll ever return to using a more traditional text editor.
Get Vim Here
Another well-liked Mac text editor is Emacs, also known as Editor MACroS. Many developers prefer it to other options. Its primary competitor is Vim, and supporters of either text editor will proudly proclaim their preferred program is the best.
Emacs, like Vim, allows for customisation, but its configuration options are more complex and flexible. There are more than ten thousand commands available, and the UI makes it easy to combine them into macros that automate routine activities.
Like Vim, Emacs has a learning curve when it comes to ease of use. However, the features included make it a promising text editor for programmers who seek a setting in which they can perform and control virtually every step of their development process. The features offered by Emacs are much too numerous to list in detail here, but to name a few: text editing, project planning, an integrated mail client and news reader, a packaging system, and an integrated IRC client.
Get Emacs here.
Advanced Text Editors for Coding and Writing
The aforementioned text editors make it possible to have more precise control over the text while composing and revising documents on a Mac. Since you are probably going to use them for coding, you can get the most out of them by taking advantage of their features tailored to developers.