10 Free Mac Text Editors for OSX Users

4 Mins read

The text editors featured here can be used as word processors, but are more the sort of text editors that programmers should know about. They are all free, and many of them are open source, which means you can play around with the programming and extend them if you wish. They are all suitable for the OSX, and they all have links to websites where you can download clean copies of them (clean at the time of writing). There are just two that do not have links, but the reasons why not are given in the text. The tools are not ranked in any way.

There are plenty mac text editors, however we have focused on listed down the free to use editors in this page.

1. TextMate 2

This is a MAC word processor and text editor that doesn’t appear on Apple iTunes because the restrictions are a little too tight. This is a word processing tool, and also a programming tool you can use to write code. It has nested scopes, project management, folding code sections, and regex-based search and replace. It is a public build, which means it can be altered and used for free.

2. Brackets

This is a free program that is actually open-source, so you are able to gain access to the code and change it yourself. It is mainly used by developers and web designers. The updates you receive are actually from Adobe. It’s developed using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. If you want to use it for your writing, then the inline editing functions are good, plus you could program the tool and change it to make your own personal word processor (if you have the programming skills).

3. Aqua Macs

This is a text editor that is open source and is a Mac-Friendly distribution of the GNU EmaCustomer support text editor, which is a very complex program that not everybody can make use of. This tool is a repackaged version of the more complex program. It is an editor for text, HTML, LaTeX, C++, Java, Python, R, Perl, Ruby, PHP, and more. They do not ask you to pay for the program, but they are hoping for donations so they may keep the project alive and keep offering updates.

4. TextWrangler

This tool has been around for a long time. It has word processor capabilities and software development capabilities too. It is a smaller offshoot program of the much larger Bare Bones Software’s BBEdit. TextWrangler has core editing and transformation functions that make it a great word processor and text editing tool for writers and programmers.

5. MacVim

The MacVim program is fairly popular in the sense that most programmers and Mac users have heard of it, in the same way that Windows programmers have heard of Notepad++. Vim was released in 1991 for the Amiga and was based on the “vi” text editor that was commonly seen on UNIX systems. The Vim text and code editor is now a cross platform entity and the MacVim editor is simply the OSX version of that same Vim program.

6. Atom

There are a lot of good text editors on Linux, Mac and Windows, and this is yet another one of them that you can get for free. It is open source and maintained through github, plus it has a very large user-submitted package library. It has fuzzy search, a files system browser, code folding, it offers multiple panes for editing, support for TextMate themes, an extension library and multi-section for quick editing.

7. Emacs/Carbon

This is the Mac-friendly distribution of the GNU Emacs text editor. It is a lot more simple and easy to use than the full GNU Emacs (that is also listed on this article). It is still extendable and offers a lot to people that are more technically minded and who value the many advanced features that come with it. Some say it is similar to the Aquamacs program.

8. TextEdit

This is the text editor that comes with your OSX operating system. It is basic and part of the operating system bundle. It will not satisfy advanced users or people that have to use it all the time, but it is enough to give you something instead of leaving you with nothing.

9. GNU Emacs

This is a text editor that was originally created in 1976. It is free and open source and it is still on offer today because it can be extended far more than most any other text editor available for free. It has virtually limitless extensibility. It can be transformed into specialist software that may be used for editing different files and lists, spreadsheets and databases too. Emacs may be used for writing, testing, and compiling software and may be used for writing “human” languages. You can use the software to compare two different types of files, browse files from your command line interface, access mail and/or access RSS feeds. The editor is fairly complex, but very useful if you know how to make the most of it and extend it.

10. Smultron

At the time of writing, the Tuppis developer website has been closed down, which means you will need to pull this tool from a sharing site or program-download website. The Smultron tool is a Leopard-centric text editor that has pleasing icons and a smoothly designed interface. It has code highlighting, a system file management and automatic authentication. It allows for HTML previews and you can get it for free, so do not pay any download-websites.

When you download the tools, even if you download what people consider to be clean copies, do a little work to check to see if they are leaving back doors in their security. Stealing your programming code may be valuable, and it is not beyond or above a tool updater to add a small security hole. Luckily, if you are using the open source tools as a programmer, then you can check the programming yourself to look for problem areas.

The list is not ranked because there is no saying which tool will suit you the best. There are times when you may use a text editor enough times that eventually you get used to it, but since you have a choice when it comes to free editors, why not download and use a few of them to see which one fits you the best? There are sometimes convenience tools hidden in these text editors that may make your life a lot easier.

Stephanie Norman is a professional writer from Sydney with for 4 years of experience. She writes business, creative, and academic content. Also, sometimes she provides editing service at Australian Writings, a company that offers assignment help and assistance for students. You can follow her at Facebook and Google+.

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