2017 - The 10 Best Free HTML Editors for Windows

HTML editors for Web pages don't have to cost a lot to be good.

HTML code on computer screen
Denis Belyaevskiy/iStock

Originally published in February, 2014, this article has been updated as of January 2017 to ensure that all the HTML editors listed are still available for free download. For those that are still available, any new information on latest versions has been added to this list.

During the original testing process, over 100 HTML editors for Windows were evaluated against more than 40 different criteria relevant to both professional and beginning web designers and web developers, as well as small business owners. From that testing, ten HTML editors that stood above the rest were selected. Best of all, all of these editors also happen to be free! 

All the reviews of these platforms were originally completed between October 2013 and February 2014. The information was audited and updated as of January 2017.

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Notepad++ text editor
Notepad++ text editor.

Notepad++ is my favorite free editor. It is a more robust version of the Notepad software that you would find available in Windows by default. That being the case, this is a Windows-only option. It includes things like line number, color coding, hints, and other helpful tools that the standard Notepad application does not have. These additions make Notepad++ an ideal choice for web designers and front end developers.

It can be downloaded for free from the company's website. More »

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Komodo Edit
Komodo Edit. Screen shot by J Kyrnin

There are two versions of Komodo available - Komodo Edit and Komodo IDE. Komodo Edit is open source and free to download. It is a trimmed down counterpart to IDE. 

Komodo Edit is my favorite text web editor. It includes a lot of great features for HTML and CSS development. Additionally, you can get extensions to add language support or other helpful features, like special characters.

Komodo doesn't outshine as the best HTML editor, but it's great for for the price, especially if you build in XML where it truly excels. I use Komodo Edit every day for my work in XML, and I use it a lot for basic HTML editing as well. This is one editor I'd be lost without. More »

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Eclipse. Screen shot by J Kyrnin

Eclipse (the latest version is dubbed "Eclipse Mars") is a complex development environment that is perfect for people who do a lot of coding on various platforms and with different languages. It is structured as plug-ins, so if you need to edit something you just find the appropriate plug-in and go to work.

If you are creating complex web applications, Eclipse has a lot of features to help make your application easier to build. There are Java, JavaScript, and PHP plugins, as well as a plugin for mobile developers.

CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor
CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor. Screen shot by J Kyrnin

The CoffeeCup Free HTML comes in two versions - a free version as well as a full version which is available for purchase. The free version is a good product, but be aware that a lot of the features this platform offers do require you to buy the full version.

CoffeeCup now also offers an upgrade called "Responsive Magic" that supports Responsive Web Design. This version can be added into a bundle with the "full" version of the editor.

One important thing to note: Many sites list this editor as a free WYSIWYG editor, but when I tested it, it required the purchase of CoffeeCup Visual Editor to get WYSIWYG support. The free version is a very nice text editor only.

This editor scored as well as Eclipse and Komodo Edit for Web Designers. It ranks fourth because it didn't rate as highly for Web Developers. However, if you are a beginner to Web design and development, or you're a small business owner, this tool has more features appropriate to you than either Komodo Edit or Eclipse. More »

Aptana Studio
Aptana Studio. Screen shot by J Kyrnin

Aptana Studio offers an interesting take on web page development. Instead of focusing on HTML, Aptana focuses on JavaScript and other elements that allow you to create rich internet applications. That may not make it the best fit for simple web design needs, but if you are looking more in the way of web application development, the tools offered in Aptana may be a great fit.

One concern I do have about Aptana is the lack of updates that the company has done over the past few years. Their website, as well as their Facebook and Twitter pages, announce the release of version 3.6.0 on July 31, 2014, but there have been no announcements since that time. 

While the software itself tested great during initial research (and it was originally placed 2nd in this list), this lack of current updates must be taken into consideration. More »

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NetBeans. Screen shot by J Kyrnin

NetBeans IDE is a Java IDE that can help you build robust Web applications.

Like most IDEs, it has a steep learning curve because it doesn't often work in the same way thatweb editors work. Once you get used to it you’ll find it very useful, however.

The version control feature included in the IDE is especially useful for people working in large development environments, as is the developer collaboration features. If you write Java and web pages this is a great tool.

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Microsoft Visual Studio Community

Visual Studio
Visual Studio. Screen shot by J Kyrnin courtesy Microsoft

Microsoft Visual Studio Community  is a visual IDE to help web developers and other programmers get started creating applications for the Web, mobile devices and the desktop. Previously, you may have used Visual Studio Express, but this is the latest version of the software. They offer a free download, as well as paid versions (that include free trials) for Professional and Enterprise users.

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BlueGriffon. Screen shot by J Kyrnin - courtesy BlueGriffon

BlueGriffon is the latest in the series of Web page editors that started with Nvu, progressed to Kompozer and now culminates in BlueGriffon. It is powered by Gecko, the rending engine of Firefox, so it does a great job of showing how work would rendered in that standards-compliant browser.

BlueGriffon is available for Windows, Macintosh and Linux and in a variety of languages.  

This is the only true WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor that made this list, and as such it will be more appealing for many beginners and small business owners who want a more visual way to work as opposed to a purely code-focused interface.

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Bluefish. Screen shot by J Kyrnin

Bluefish is a full-featured HTML editor that runs on a variety of platforms, including Linux, MacOS-X, Windows, and more.

The latest release (which is 2.2.7) fixed some of the bugs found in previous versions.

Noteworthy features that have been in place since the 2.0 version are code-sensitive spell check, auto complete of many different languages (HTML, PHP, CSS, etc.), snippets, project management and autosave.

Bluefish is primarily a code editor, not specifically a Web editor. This means that it has a lot of flexibility for Web developers writing in more than just HTML, however, if you’re a designer by nature and you want more of a web-focused or a WYSIWYG interface, Bluefish may not be for you.

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Emacs Profile

Emacs. Screen shot by J Kyrnin

Emacs is found on most Linux systems and makes it easy for you to edit a page even if you don't have your standard software.

Emacs is a lot more complicated some other editors, and so offers more features, but I find it harder to use.

Feature highlights: XML support, scripting support, advanced CSS support and a built-in validator, as well as color coded HTML editing.

This editor, whose latest version is 25.1 which was released in September 2016, can be intimidating to anyone who isn't comfortable writing plain HTML in a text editor, but if you are and your host offers Emacs, it is a very powerful tool.

What is your favorite HTML editor? Write a review!

Do you have a Web editor that you absolutely love or positively hate? Write a review of your HTML editor and let others know which editor you think is the best. Original article by Jennfer Krynin. Edited by Jeremy Girard on 1/4/17.
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Your Citation
Kyrnin, Jennifer. "2017 - The 10 Best Free HTML Editors for Windows." ThoughtCo, Aug. 5, 2017, thoughtco.com/best-free-html-editors-for-windows-3471313. Kyrnin, Jennifer. (2017, August 5). 2017 - The 10 Best Free HTML Editors for Windows. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/best-free-html-editors-for-windows-3471313 Kyrnin, Jennifer. "2017 - The 10 Best Free HTML Editors for Windows." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/best-free-html-editors-for-windows-3471313 (accessed February 25, 2018).