Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a design language used popularly for describing the appearance or presentation of a document drafted in a makeup language, like HTML. CSS helps us to style a web page or enhance the appearance of HTML elements on a web page.
This article will introduce you to what exactly a CSS editor is. Also, you will understand the critical difference between open-source and free CSS editors. Finally, we will walk you through some of the popular CSS editors for Windows and Mac systems. So, let us get started!
What is a CSS Editor?
An application or software used to edit or manipulate any CSS file is called a CSS editor. A wide variety of CSS editors are available today, such as online editors, commercial editors, visual style editors, and free editors. CSS editors offer numerous benefits and features, like syntax highlighting, auto-completion, live preview, and validation to help web designers write CSS code efficiently and coherently. Also, most editors can effortlessly address typos and errors in the code.
Open-source or Free Editor - Which to Pick?
Many people get confused that open-source and free editors are the same. However, they are not entirely analogous to each other. The significant difference between the two is that open-source editors enable us to download and manipulate their source code, whereas free editors don’t. Below are some of the key reasons why to pick an open-source CSS editor.
1. Effortless Collaboration
Open-source CSS editors help multiple members of a team to collaborate, as there is no need to purchase licenses. They do not restrict the number of users to join unlike trial or premium editors.
2. Allows Customization
One of the finest benefits of open-source editors is that they are customizable. Users can easily customize an editor depending upon their project’s requirements and scope.
3. Strong Community Support
Many open-source CSS editors have active and robust community support. Therefore, if users encounter any issues, they can get help from experienced developers present in the community.
Top 10 CSS Editors for Windows and Mac
Choosing the best CSS editor can be a challenge considering the huge number of editors out there. However, to make it easier for you to pick the ideal one, we have listed the 10 best CSS editors. Some of the below CSS editors are free and open-source while some require you to purchase a license.
After reading their features and pricing plans, you can pick the best CSS editor according to your requirements.
1. Sublime Text
Sublime Text is one of the most sophisticated CSS editors in the market today. It is a commercial editor licensed under Shareware, supporting a broad spectrum of markup and programming languages. In addition, it is available for Linux, Windows, and macOS.
- Sublime Text supports GPU rendering, meaning that it can utilize the Graphics Processing Unit to render the interface quickly.
- Apple Silicon Processors are natively supported by Sublime Text for Mac systems. In addition, Sublime Text offers support for Linux ARM64 builds for Raspberry Pi and other similar devices.
- It incorporates the ‘tab multi-select feature, enabling users to split an interface to display multiple tabs and navigate code.
- It offers multiple themes and color schemes as well as an auto-dark mode switching feature.
Pricing You can download Sublime Text for free. But you require a license to use it. There are two different Sublime Text licenses - one for individuals and the other for organizations. The individual license costs $99 while the Sublime Merge License costs $168.
- Atom’s built-in package manager enables users to explore and install new packages with ease.
- The smart auto-completion feature helps developers to write code quickly.
- Users can effortlessly browse multiple files of a project or multiple projects in a single window using Atom’s file system browser.
- You can divide the Atom’s interface into several panes using the multiple panes feature.
- Atom comes with eight syntax and four UI themes. These syntax and UI themes support both dark and light interfaces.
- The find and replace functionality enables users to type the text and find, preview, and replace it in a single file or across multiple projects.
Pricing Atom is free to use.
In addition, this cross-platform editor is available for macOS, Linux, and Windows operating systems. It is a lightweight, cutting-edge CSS editor that supports preprocessors and visual tools.
- The live preview feature of Brackets makes it stand out from the crowd. Users can modify any CSS or HTML file and preview those changes immediately.
- Brackets offer preprocessor support. It provides Live Highlight and Quick edit features for SCSS and LESS files, helping developers to edit such files quickly and effortlessly.
- The split view functionality enables users to divide the screen either vertically or horizontally and work on two different files parallelly.
Pricing Brackets editor is available for free.
Espresso is the best CSS editor and web editor for Mac Systems. It is specially designed for developers wishing to create responsive and functional websites. It supports macOS 10.13 and higher versions. Developed initially by MacRabbit, Espresso is now owned by Werewolf. It allows developers to work on web development projects from scratch or tweak live websites.
- Expresso’s Browser Preview and Xray feature enable you to modify your live website’s CSS code and immediately see the changes in the browser.
- It is an ideal web editor to manipulate a CSS file for live websites and view results instantly in the browser.
- Espresso supports an array of languages, such as Ruby, Python, LESS, SCSS, CSS, HTML, and many more.
- Users can easily search for any file or text in a file using the Project Find and Replace feature.
Pricing Espresso comes with two pricing plans - Education and Volume. For the education plan, they offer a 50% discount to students and teachers. You just need to send them an email from your school email address or send a document copy acknowledging that you are a student or a teacher. On the other hand, for the Volume plan, you need to pay $116.82 including GST for a single license.
Notepad++ is a popular source-code editor that supports CSS, and it is specially designed for Microsoft Windows. In addition, it is available in 90 distinct languages.
Developed by Don Ho, Notepad++ was released on SourceForge in November 2013. Notepad++ is created using the C++ language and is based on the robust editing element called Scintilla.
- Notepad++ supports code folding, syntax highlighting, and limited autocompletion for markup, programming, and scripting languages.
- It can highlight components of 78 syntaxes, including Objective-C, C, C#, CMake, Python, Ruby, SQL, and many others.
- The plain text files are re-interpreted in multiple character coding and transformed into UCS-2, ASCII, or UTF-8.
- Notepad++ currently has the support for more than 140 plug-ins.
- Some other functionalities of Notepad++ include autosave, simultaneous editing, guided indentation, line operations, split-screen, and tabbed document interface.
Pricing Notepad++ is available for free.
6. Komodo Edit
Komodo Edit is yet another free, open-source, and robust CSS editor. It is an original product of ActiveState and supports various operating systems, like Windows, CentOS, Ubuntu, SUSE Linux Enterprise, Fedora, and macOS. Initially, Komodo Edit was only a free product, but later, ActiveState Inc. made it open-source.
- Komodo Edit is developed using the Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) with the help of the editing component Scintilla.
- It incorporates all basic editing features, such as syntax highlighting, line numbers, etc.
- It permits users to compare two code files parallelly.
- The remote edit feature of Komodo Edit enables users to make changes to web pages that are not available on their systems.
Pricing Komodo Edit is a free-to-use code editor.
7. Visual Studio Code by Microsoft
Visual Studio Code is a code editor developed by Microsoft. This open-source and free CSS editor is compatible with macOS Linux, and Windows. In addition, Visual Studio Code is available in 14 distinct languages and is available under the MIT license.
- Visual Studio Code comes with IntelliSense, which is a smart code completion feature.
- It supports code debugging from the editor itself.
- Visual Studio Code is customizable and extensible. You can install and add extensions to enhance its functionality.
- Extensions in Visual Studio Code do not slow down the editor’s performance, as they run in different processes.
- Visual Studio Code seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Azure, enabling users to deploy and host their websites.
Pricing Visual Studio Code is free to download and use.
Bluefish is a robust and free CSS text editor, designed to work on several operating systems, including macOS, Windows, FreeBSD, Solaris, OpenBSD, and Linux. It is a free text editor developed in the C language and licensed under the GPL license.
- The syntax highlighting feature of Bluefish parses a lengthy code, examines particular items or item types, and highlights them with different colors, fonts, and backgrounds.
- It incorporates the auto-completion feature that quickly completes any function or expression.
- The find and replace feature helps to find the specific code lines and replace them with the desired commands.
- The code folding feature enables developers to hide the desired portion of code.
- Bluefish supports a wide variety of extensions and plugins that allow users to add more robust features and functionalities to the editor.
Pricing Free to download and use.
Scintilla is one of the well-known and popularly used text editing components. It is an open-source and free-to-download editing component. Neil Hodgson developed Scintilla in 1999 using the C programming language.
It is compatible with various operating systems, such as macOS 10.16 or later, Windows NT and higher versions, MorphOS, and Unix-like systems.
- The syntax highlighting feature allows users to highlight code using distinct styles, fonts, backgrounds, and colors.
- It incorporates features like line numbering in the margin, code breakpoints, and error indicators.
- Scintilla also comes with auto-completion and code folding functionalities.
- It supports only the right-to-left (RTL) languages and not boustrophedon ones. RTL languages are those that begin from a page’s right side and end on the left side. On the other hand, the boustrophedon language is a style for writing a code in which each alternative line is written reversely with reverse letters.
Pricing Scintilla is open-source and free to download.
Stylizer is a commercial CSS editor specially developed for Windows and macOS operating systems. It supports macOS 10.9 or higher and Windows 7 or later versions.
- The size grip feature of Stylizer allows users to resize any CSS dimension accurately just by clicking and dragging the mouse.
- The two-click color change feature helps designers use any color in the style sheet that offers a perfect look.
- Stylizer supports the cutting-edge CSS3 standards. Also, it offers a warning list that updates you about syntax errors without any delay as you type the code.
Pricing The latest version of Stylize is 7 and is available at a one-time license purchase of $79. In addition, it also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
A CSS editor helps web designers and web developers write code quickly without errors or typos. Most CSS editors offer features like auto-completion, code folding, and syntax highlighting to help developers write robust code. In this article, we have introduced you to some of the most popular CSS editors.
In our list, only Sublime Text, Espresso, and Scintilla are premium or paid CSS editors. On the other hand, some text editors are free and open-source, whereas the remaining are only free to use. Try to understand the benefits of open-source CSS editors and choose from them if possible. Nonetheless, you can choose the one that is ideal for you depending on your project requirements.
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