Apple’s default text editor for Macs is called TextEdit. It is pre-installed with macOS and is open-source. It is useful for both writing and editing texts. However, in contrast to other text editors available, its capability is restricted. Because of this, it isn’t the ideal way to develop code and it isn’t very useful for managing application projects.
Therefore, you should seek for some of the third-party text editors available if you want a more feature-rich text editing experience. Here are our top options for Mac text editors to aid you in this process.
Best Mac Text Editors you should use
Although text editors take many different forms, they may be generally divided into two categories: source-code editors and basic text editors (plain or rich text). The main distinction between the two types is the role and goal they fulfill.
Source-code editors offer extra tools to expedite the code writing process, while text editors just focus on making document creation and editing easier. For example, you cannot obtain features like syntax highlighting, autocomplete, indentation, and bracket matching with a basic text editor; only these are available in a source-code editor.
As such, you should not use a basic editor for writing code; instead, use a source-code editor for composing and revising general documents. Because, although it is possible, using a simple text editor without development-specific capabilities may not provide the same level of experience as using an IDE (integrated development environment) or source-code editor.
1. Visual Studio Code
Microsoft offers a freeware source-code editor called Visual Studio Code, or VS Code. Based on the Electron framework, it works with Windows, Linux, and macOS, the three main operating systems.
VS Code is unusual from other source-code editors in that it lets you work with several folders and isolate them into different workspaces, allowing you to use it more as a language-agnostic code editor rather than a project-based system.
If you’re just starting out, Visual Studio Code has tools like Peek Definition and IntelliSense that may help you learn about different facets of programming languages.
The open-source, free Atom source code editor was created by GitHub, which is currently part of Microsoft. Many of the features on it are therefore created and maintained by the community. Like VS Code, Atom is built on the Electron framework, however it has less built-in features than VS Code. However, because Atom supports plugins, you may selectively add functionality and tweak different aspects of the program to customize it to your needs and project workflow.
Atom provides you with the standard set of functionality, including file system browsing, clever autocompletion, and syntax highlighting, in addition to customisation. It also has a built-in package manager that makes it easy for you to search for and install new packages on your system, as well as Git integration that allows you to store and manage your projects directly from the editor.
3. Sublime Text
Since Sublime Text is a shareware source code editor, the majority of its capabilities are available without charge, but some are limited to a commercial version that you may upgrade to or buy if you require the missing functionality. It is one of the most popular text editors on the Mac and was created with Python and web development in mind. However, it may also be used to other markup and programming languages.
Like Atom, Sublime Text supports plugins, allowing you to improve your editing experience by adding missing features. Command palette, snippets, code auto-completion, goto anything, goto definition, and split editing are a few of Sublime Text’s useful features. Additionally, Sublime Text comes with an integrated package manager that makes it simple to locate and install third-party programs on the editor.
In addition to Sublime Text, SublimeHQ now offers Sublime Merge, a GUI-based version control (Git and merging tool) for Sublime Text that facilitates quicker conflict resolution, repository search, and commit modifications.
Bare Bones Software releases BBEdit, a text editor only for Macs. It is essentially a free version of the well-known TextWrangler text editor, which is only compatible with macOS and was discontinued a few years ago.
But in contrast to TextWrangler, BBEdit’s free edition has enough functionality and programming capabilities to set it apart from the many other text editors available. It may be used as a basic text editor to deal with plain text files, write code, and make your own scripts. The languages that BBEdit supports include Shell scripting, Perl, AppleScript, Python, and RegEx.
Project design tools, syntax coloring, code folding, auto code completion, and fast search and replace capabilities are just a few of the features offered by BBEdit. You will also receive code management system integration and support for file transfers through FTP and SFTP.
A clone of Vi with some enhancements is called Vim or Vi Improved. Pre-installed on the majority of conventional Unix-compliant operating systems, including macOS, is Vi, a POSIX standard editor. When compared to the other text editors on this list, Vim seems and feels entirely different.
While the majority of contemporary text editors concentrate on providing an attractive user interface with an abundance of functionality, Vim concentrates on doing the fundamentals well. It does it rather nicely, too. On the other hand, you do get a lot of plugin support, and new plugins are always being created, so you can customize the editor to fit your coding style and process.
Vim doesn’t have a graphical user interface, therefore all of your interactions take place in a terminal window or command line. Furthermore, Vim is a modal editor, so you might need some time to become used to its many modes before you feel comfortable using it. That being said, you can accomplish a lot more using Vim effectively once you learn it. You most likely wouldn’t go back to using a standard text editor either.
Mac users also like Emacs, sometimes known as Editor MACroS, as a text editor. It is the option that many programmers choose. It is in competition with Vim, and users of both text editors aren’t afraid to brag about how great their preferred program is.
Emacs has many of the same customization possibilities as Vim, but its configuration choices are more complex. With the help of the interface, you may mix and match its more than 10,000 instructions to build macros that automate operations in your workflow.
Emacs is similar to Vim in that it takes some time to get used to. But for those who desire an environment that lets them handle/manage pretty much every part of their programming workflow, the features it offers make it a highly promising text editor. To give you a brief overview, Emacs comes with a built-in packaging system, built-in IRC client, built-in mail and newsfeed, project planning, text editing, and more.
Text Editors to Enhance Writing and Editing of Text and Code
You may compose and modify documents on your Mac with more control over the content by using the text editors mentioned above. Assuming that you are reading this and want to use them to create code, you can get the most out of them by utilizing their development-specific capabilities.