I searched for this and found Maudite's question about text editors but they were all for Windows.

As you have no doubt guessed, I am trying to find out if there are any text/code editors for the Mac besides what I know of. I'll edit my post to include editors listed.


  1. Textwrangler
  2. XCode and DashCode
  3. Mac Vim
  4. Smultron
  5. Aquamacs and closer to the original EMacs
  6. JEdit
  7. Editra
  8. Eclipse
  9. NetBeans


  1. Textmate
  2. BBEdit
  3. SubEthaEdit
  4. Coda

Articles related to the subject

  1. Faceoff, which is the best text editor ever?

Thank you everybody that has added suggestions, if I miss your suggestion then I'm sorry, I'm sure you can find me on Twitter or via Google.

+2  A: 
Every time someone uses one of those on a Mac, Jesus kills a kitten.
Jonathan Sterling
+1  A: 
+7  A: 

I haven't used it myself, but another free one that I've heard good thing about is Smultron.

In my own research on this, I found this interesting article: Faceoff: Which Is The Best Mac Text Editor Ever?

+2  A: 

Smultron is another good (and free) one.

Link doesn't work - double http
+4  A: 

MacVim and SubEthaEdit are two nice options

Adam Mika
+4  A: 

Best open source one is Smultron in my opinion, but it doesn't a torch to TextMate.

+1  A: 

I use Eclipse as my primary editor (for python) but I always keep SubEthaEdit handy as my supplemental text editor (free trial, 30 euros to license). It's not super-complicated but it does what I need.

Matthew Christensen
+2  A: 

I've tried Komodo out a bit, and I really like it so far. Aptana, an Eclipse variant, is also rather useful for a wide variety of things. There's always good ole' VI, too!

Brian Warshaw
+7  A: 
  • Emacs
  • Vim

But I use TextMate, and can say that it is, without a doubt, worth every penny I paid for it.

Nate Smith
Just a +1 from a very satisfied TextMate user (reg. #63).
+1 for Emacs and Vim
+1  A: 

TextMate is my favorite.

Brock Boland

You might consider one of the classics - they're both free, extensible and have large user bases that extend beyond the Mac:

  • Aquamacs - emacs for OS X (emacs in a shell window is also an option)
  • Mac Vim - VI with a Mac-specific GUI (vim in a shell window is also an option)
Grant Goodale
+2  A: 

jEdit runs on OS X, being Java-based. It's somewhat similar to TextMate, I think.

Editra looks interesting, but I've not tried it myself.

+15  A: 

I thought TextMate was everyone's favourite. I haven't met a programmer using a Mac who is not using TextMate.

I'm using MacVim and I can say that it is worth every penny I paid.. for TextMate. =)
Sergio Acosta
I use SubEthaEdit. I'm still happy with it, and whilst I've looked at TextMate, there's never been a real reason for me to change.
Matthew Schinckel
Oh, and I still use Xcode for Cocoa and Java programming.
Matthew Schinckel
Once you learn to use some of the shortcuts in TextMate it will become clear why so many developers use it :) Second choice: VIM :)
You must live in a box then.
+2  A: 

If you ever plan on making a serious effort at learning Emacs, immediately forget about Aquamacs. It tries to twist and bend Emacs into something it's not (a super-native OS X app). That might sound well and all, but once you realize that it completely breaks nearly every standard keybinding and behavior of Emacs, you begin to wonder why you aren't just using TextEdit or TextMate.

Carbon Emacs is a good Emacs application for OS X. It is as close as you'll get to GNU Emacs without compiling for yourself. It fits in well enough with the operating system, but at the same time, is the wonderful Emacs we all know and love. Currently it requires Leopard with the latest release, but most people have upgraded by now anyway. You can fetch it here.

Alternatively, if you want to use Vim on OS X, I've heard good things about MacVim.

Beyond those, there are the obvious TextEdit, TextMate, etc line of editors. They work for some people, but most "advanced" users I know (myself included) hate touching them with anything shorter than a 15ft pole.


Another vote for Smultron. I used it when doing some XQuery programming and being able to define a keyword files for syntax color highlighting was great.


I have installed both Smultron and Textwrangler, but find myself using Smultron most of the time.

Marie Fischer

I would love to use a different editor than XCode for coding, but I feel, that no other editor integrates tightly enough with it to be really worthwhile.
However, given some time, TextMate might eventually get to that point. At the moment though, it primarily lacks debugging features and refactoring.

For everything that does not need XCode, I love TextMate. If I had another Mac-user in my workgroup I would probably consider SubEthaEdit for its collaboration features. If it is Emacs you want, I would recommend Aquamacs (more Mac-like) or Carbon Emacs (more GNU-Emacs-like)


I've been using BBEdit for years. It's rock-solid, fast, and integrates into my Xcode workflow decently well. (I'm not sure anything integrates into Xcode as well as the built-in editor, but who has time to wait for the built-in editor?)

For small team projects which don't use a source control system, or for single user editing on multiple machines, SubEthaEdit comes highly recommended.

Scott Marcy

I prefer an old-school editing setup. I use command-line vim embedded in a GNU Screen "window" inside of iTerm.

This may not integrate well with XCode, but I think it works great for developing and using command-line programs. If you spend any significant time working in a terminal, GNU Screen is worth the 30 minutes it takes to master the basic terminal multiplexing concepts.

John M. P. Knox

Eclipse and Netbeans have text editors among a whole lot of other stuff. I don't think you would want to wait 10 seconds for your text editor to become ready :/...If you are going to spend some serious time coding then spend some time and learn to use vim (emacs too but, I recommend vim)

  • BBEdit makes all other editors look like Notepad.

It handles gigantic files with ease; most text editors (TextMate especially) slow down to a dead crawl or just crash when presented with a large file.

The regexp and multiple-file Find dialogs beat anything else for usability.

The clippings system works like magic, and has selection, indentation, placeholder, and insertion point tags, it's not just dumb text.

BBEdit is heavily AppleScriptable. Everything can be scripted.

In 9.0, BBEdit has code completion, projects, and a ton of other improvements.

I primarily use it for HTML, CSS, JS, and Python, where it's extremely strong. Some more obscure languages are not as well-supported in it, but for most purposes it's fantastic.

The only devs I know who like TextMate are Ruby fans. I really do not get the appeal, it's marginally better than TextWrangler (BBEdit's free little brother), but if you're spending money, you may as well buy the better tool for a few dollars more.

  • jEdit does have the virtue of being cross-platform. It's not nearly as good as BBEdit, but it's a competent programmer's editor. If you're ever faced with a Windows or Linux system, it's handy to have one tool you know that works.

  • Vim is fine if you have to work over ssh and the remote system or your computer can't do X11. I used to love Vim for the ease of editing large files and doing repeated commands. But these days, it's a no-vote for me, with the annoyance of the non-standard search & replace (using (foo) groups instead of (foo), etc.), painfully bad multi-document handling, lack of a project/disk browser view, lack of AppleScript, and bizarre mouse handling in the GVim version.


I've been using TextWrangler, it's pretty decent.

But I REALLY miss the Search and Replace and other capabilities of UltraEdit... enough that it's usually worth firing up Parallels to use it instead (UltraEdit runs poorly under Wine at the moment).

Command+F gives you a pretty powerful search and replace window.. A cursory glance over the UltraEdit website doesn't show anything that might not be possible in TextWrangler.
+2  A: 

TextMate not for "advanced programmers". That does not make sense, TextMate contains everything an "advanced programmer" would want. It allows them to define a bundle that allows them to quickly set up the way they want their source code formatted, or one that follows the project guidelines, quick easy access to create entire structures and classes based on typing part of a construct and hitting tab.

TextMate is my tool of choice, it is fast, lightweight and yet contains all of the features I would want in a tool to program with. While it is not tightly integrated in Xcode, that is not a problem for me as I don't write software for Mac OS X. I write software for FreeBSD.


Definitely BBEdit... I code, therefore I eat... and BBEdit is what I use to code.


I have to say that i love Coda, it can do almost anything you need in 'plain' text WebDevelopent, i use it daily to develop simple and complex projects using XHTML,PHP,Javascript,CSS...

Ok, it's not free but compare it with many other development suits and you'll find that that 100$ are really affordable (i bought many months ago when it was at about 60$) In the last version they included a lot of new nice features and whoa... just look at the panic WebSite

Before using coda i was a hardcore ZendStudio User, i used that in Windows,Linux and Mac (i have been user for a long time for all that platforms) as it was developed in Java it was really slow even in a modern MacBookPro.. so i also tested a lots of diferent IDEs for developing but at this moment any of these are as powerful and simple as Coda is


I used to use PageSpiner from optima Software (http://www.optima-system.com/pagespinner/) but converted to Coda when Panic first released it and haven't looked back.

Now that the latest version has multi-file find and replace it has just about everything I need and I use it on a daily basis. Another vote for Coda from me.


I used BBEdit for years, but recently converted to Panic's Coda.

I love Coda. It does everything that I need and now that I've begun programming plug-ins for it, it's become a far more rich tool. The support team are responsive and the community that is growing around it is fantastic. There is still a lot of room for improvement, but that's the cool thing about being part of the kind of community that surrounds it; you have a say in what that improvement is.

Panic - Coda


Coda's great for PHP/ASP/HTML style development. Great interface, multiple-file search and replace with regexp support, slick FTP/SFTP/etc integration for browsing and editing remote files, SVN integration, etc.

It now supports plugins and the plugin editor can import TextMate bundles, so there's a bright future there. There aren't a lot of must-have plugins yet because the plugin support was newly introduced with version 1.6 a few months back. It's a popular app, though, so I expect more in the future.

The "killer features" for me are: * Seamless editing of remote files * Code navigator (symbol browser; pane that lists functions etc)

Most people aren't really into using symbol browsers but as I have to maintain a lot of unfamiliar code I find them invaluable.

I'm not sure that Coda has the "raw power" of TextMate though. I plan on getting familiar with TextMate next.

John Booty

My vote would be for BBedit's free little brother TextWrangler.


I am glad I found this question. I have been wrangling with the same question. I use Eclipse for my "heavy" development in Java. I use TextMate (purchased a couple of years ago) but I have yet to find it as amazingly useful as many purport it to be. (That comment should be taken with a a grain of salt. I don't think I use TextMate enough to be qualified to say "use it" or "don't use it."

I just downloaded the demo of BBEdit. Many of the old school programmers say it's the best. I'm looking for a good reference resource though. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


I purchased Textmate because I liked it so much, one of the few apps I paid for. Other editors are just not worth it. If you are going for an IDE, eclipse or netbeans are great and free.


I make use of Komodo IDE. It supports a huge number of languages, and is customisable but is a bit expensive (my company bought me a copy). A really good alternative is the free version called Komodo Edit. Loads really quickly and has a decent feature list and I find myself turning to it rather than the full IDE for a lot of jobs.

+1  A: 

Fraise is a nice free option. It has some rough edges, but you can't beat the price. I believe it's a fork or successor of Smultron.

Fraise Text Editor for MacOS

It is a fork of Smultron. Unfortunately, it's the only fork of Smultron and the author has abandoned it in favour of a ground-up rewrite.

I use Xcode and TextMate.