Top 10 Best Code Editors for Software Developers in 2024

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best code editors

Building applications can be hard. Not only do you need advanced coding knowledge and technical know-how, but you also need to be able to break down complex problems into smaller, manageable pieces and then design and implement solutions.

This difficulty means demand for applications – and those who can write code – has never been higher. 

The software development market is expected to reach $1039 million by 2027 with a CAGR of $22.54% from 2020 to 2027, and the median annual salary for experienced software developers in the US reached a record-breaking $106,090 in 2023, according to Glassdoor.

With demand for software development reaching new heights, software development platforms like code editors are emerging as popular solutions for developers looking to streamline the development process and cut costs along the way. 

What are code editors?

Code editors are specialized text editors designed to make writing and editing code easier and more efficient for developers. They offer a variety of features that regular text editors lack, making them essential tools for anyone working with code.

Most code editors also use color coding to differentiate different parts of the code, like keywords, variables, and functions This makes it easier to understand the structure and logic of your code, saving you time and reducing the chance of typos. 

Many can also identify syntax errors and other issues as you write and format your code according to the specific language's indentation rules, helping you catch mistakes early on before they become bugs.

best code editors what is a code editor

Code editors support a wide range of programming languages, allowing you to work on different projects without switching tools. This is convenient for developers who work with various technologies.

Compared to a basic text editor, code editors offer a significant advantage in terms of speed, efficiency, and accuracy when working with code. They are essential tools for any developer or programmer.

Key features of code editors

1. Syntax Highlighting

Syntax highlighting is a crucial feature in code editors that uses colour and another formatting to differentiate different elements of the code, making it much easier to read, understand, and write. 

The code editor breaks down the code into smaller meaningful units called "tokens." These tokens can be keywords (like "if" or "for"), variables, functions, strings, comments, and other elements. Based on the type of token, the editor applies different colors, fonts, and styles to each one. This creates a visual distinction between different parts of the code, making it easier to see the structure and relationships.

2. Auto-completion

Auto-completion is a powerful feature in code editors that helps developers write code faster and more efficiently. It works by suggesting possible completions for code snippets as you type, saving time and reducing errors.

Most code editors have a keyboard shortcut to trigger auto-completion, such as Ctrl+Space or Tab. Some editors also trigger it automatically when you start typing certain characters, like a dot (.) in JavaScript or a colon (:) in Python.

3. Indentation

Indentation helps to visually structure your code, making it easier to understand the relationships between different parts. This is especially important for code with nested blocks, such as loops and conditional statements. By indenting the lines within a block, code editors make it easy to see which lines belong to that block and how they are nested within each other.

4. Error Checking

Some editors can identify syntax errors and potential problems in your code as you write, helping you catch issues early on. Instead of waiting until you try to run your code and encounter errors, the editor can highlight them as you type, allowing you to fix them immediately. This saves time and frustration compared to debugging issues later.

5. Code Navigation

Navigating code is easier with code editors. Features like jumping to definitions, finding references, and searching within files make it easier to navigate large codebases. This helps you quickly locate specific parts of the code and understand their context.

Most editors have a built-in file explorer that allows you to browse your project directory and open files quickly. You can often use a keyboard shortcut (like Ctrl+P) to open a specific file by typing its name, even if it's located deep within your project structure.

Many editors also keep track of recently opened files, allowing you to easily switch between them without having to navigate the file system again.

Best Code Editors

There are a variety of code editors available today that can help you write code and build applications faster and more effectively. But, as is usually the case with these things, not all of these tools are made the same. 

In this list, we’re counting down ten of the best code editors on the market, exploring the features that make them so popular amongst software developers in 2024.

Coffeecup HTML Editor

CoffeeCup HTML Editor is a powerful and user-friendly code editor specifically designed for web development. The editor has been around since 1996 and has gained a loyal following for its user-friendly interface and powerful features. It offers a clean and customizable code editor with syntax highlighting, code completion, and built-in validation, making writing and editing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code efficient and error-free. And while not a true WYSIWYG editor anymore, CoffeeCup provides a visual preview alongside the code editor. This allows you to see how your website will look as you code, making it easier to design and visualize your layout. You can also pload your website directly to your web server from within the editor. This simplifies the publishing process and eliminates the need for separate FTP software.

CoffeeCup HTML Editor is a valuable tool for web developers of all skill levels. You can create new HTML or CSS files from scratch, choose from pre-designed themes, or even open existing websites for reference and modification. Meanwhile, its user-friendly interface, code editing assistance, and various development tools make it a powerful and efficient choice for building and maintaining websites.

GNU nano

GNU nano is a popular and user-friendly text editor designed for Unix-like operating systems and the command line. It offers a simple interface and a straightforward approach to editing text files, making it a favourite among both beginners and experienced users. Unlike complex editors like Vim and Emacs, Nano is easy to learn and use, even for those unfamiliar with the command line. It provides all the basic text editing functionalities, including cutting, copying, pasting, searching, and replacing. Beyond the basics, it also offers features like syntax highlighting, line numbers, regular expression search and replace, spell checking, and more.

GNU Nano's combination of simplicity, powerful features, and ease of use makes it one of the strong contenders for the title of best code editor in 2024. The platform lowers the barrier to entry for those new to coding, making it a great starting point. Meanwhile, Its lightweight nature and efficient resource usage make it ideal for working on older machines or in situations where resources are limited. This range of features it offers caters to both basic and advanced editing needs, making it suitable for everyone from beginners to experienced programmers. 


Brackets is a free and open-source code editor specifically designed with web development in mind. Developed by Adobe and maintained by the open-source community, it offers a lightweight and powerful platform for building websites and web applications. Brackets boasts a unique feature called "Live Preview," which allows you to see your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript changes reflected in a live browser window instantly, eliminating the need to constantly switch between the editor and the browser, significantly improving your workflow. The editor also seamlessly handles preprocessors like Sass, Less, and CoffeeScript, providing syntax highlighting, autocompletion, and live compilation.

Instead of switching between tabs, Brackets lets you open a window within the editor itself to focus on specific code sections. This makes the editor particularly helpful when working with complex layouts or nested code, allowing you to focus on specific section code that needs debugging or rewriting. Brackets also boasts some of the industry’s best extensions thanks to its vibrant community of contributors and developers. You can find extensions for everything from linting, code formatting, code completion, and more.


Notepad++ is another free and open-source code editor that has become a popular choice for developers of all levels thanks to its lightweight and user-friendly interface and robust set of features for coding and text editing. The editor supports syntax highlighting for over 70 programming languages, making code easier to read and understand by visually differentiating keywords, functions, variables, and other elements. It also comes with auto-completion for keywords, functions and variables, speeding up coding processes and reducing typing errors. 

Notepad++ offers extensive customization options, allowing you to personalize the editor's interface, themes, and keyboard shortcuts to suit your preferences. The powerful search and replace functionality also supports regular expressions, allowing for complex pattern matching and text manipulation. And with a vibrant community of developers contributing to a vast library of plugins that extend Notepad++'s functionality, you can customize Notepad to suit your coding needs. This combination of features, ease of use, and extensive plugin ecosystem makes it a valuable tool for various coding tasks.


Vim is a free and open-source text and code editor known for its incredible efficiency and extensive customization options. While the editor has a steep learning curve due to its unique modal editing style, mastering it can significantly enhance your coding workflow. Vim operates in different modes, including Normal, Insert, Visual, and Command mode. Each mode has specific keybindings for different actions, allowing for efficient navigation and editing without relying on the mouse. The platform also offers an array of commands for moving the cursor, editing text, and manipulating files. These commands are often based on single keystrokes or combinations, making editing incredibly fast once you learn them.

Vim is one of the most customizable code editors available today thanks to its configuration files and plugins. You can personalize the editor's appearance, behavior, and even keybindings to perfectly suit your preferences and workflow. These extensive customization options enable you to tailor the editor to your specific needs and preferences, creating a highly personalized and optimized editing environment. While Vim's learning curve is notorious, its unmatched efficiency and customization potential make it a powerful tool for dedicated users. It’s a favourite among programmers seeking maximum control and speed in their text editing workflow.


TextMate is a powerful and customizable code editor designed specifically for macOS. It offers a clean and efficient interface with extensive features for various programming languages and markup formats. TextMate allows extensive customization through its "bundles" system. These bundles are collections of configuration files, snippets, and commands that can be easily installed and managed to tailor the editor to your specific needs and preferences. The editor also offers a powerful code-snipping system, allowing you to create and insert frequently used code blocks with just a few keystrokes. 

TextMate stands out for its unparalleled level of customization through bundles. You can create a highly personalized and efficient editing environment that perfectly suits your workflow, and the platform supports user-defined and user-editable commands for various actions, allowing you to create and record macros to automate repetitive tasks within the editor. TextMate also has an incredible search and replace functionality, supporting regular expressions and allowing for complex pattern matching and text manipulation. For users seeking a highly customizable and efficient code editor on macOS, TextMate is one of the best.


PyCharm is a powerful code editor and full-fledged Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that’s specifically designed for Python development. It offers a comprehensive set of tools and features that significantly enhance the coding experience for Python programmers of all levels. One of these features is its smart editor feature, which comes with tools for syntax highlighting, code completion, and code navigation, helping you write code faster and with fewer errors. The editor also comes with a powerful debugger that allows you to step through your code line by line, inspect variables, and set breakpoints. It also seamlessly integrates with popular testing frameworks like Unit Test and PyTest, enabling you to write, run, and view test results efficiently.

PyCharm provides various refactoring tools that help you improve the structure and maintainability of your code. These tools allow you to rename variables, extract methods, and perform other code modifications with ease. The Professional edition of PyCharm also provides advanced features for data science and machine learning tasks, including data analysis, visualization, and scientific computing tools. This, paired with Pycharm’s range of features it for editing code, makes it a worthwhile investment for seasoned python developers.

JetBrains IntelliJ IDEA

JetBrains IntelliJ IDEA is another powerful Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that’s specifically designed for Java development but also supports various other languages and frameworks. The platform offers a comprehensive set of tools and features that significantly enhance the coding editing experience for developers of all levels. Its smart code editor, for instance, comes with features like syntax highlighting, context-aware code completion, and advanced navigation tools, helping you write code faster and with fewer errors. IntelliJ IDEA provides various refactoring tools that help you improve the structure and maintainability of your code. These tools allow you to rename variables, extract methods, and perform other code modifications with ease.

Along with its code editing features, IntelliJ IDEA offers some of the industry’s best project and code navigation features for developing applications. You can quickly jump to specific functions, classes, or files using shortcuts and tools like "Go to Definition" and "Find Usages." IntelliJ IDEA also dedicated support for popular Java frameworks like Spring, Spring Boot, and JSF, as well as other technologies like Android development and web development with languages like JavaScript and HTML. For seasoned developers, the Ultimate edition of IntelliJ IDEA provides advanced features like static code analysis, code profiling, and database tools, making it ideal for larger projects and teams.

Sublime Text

Sublime Text is a popular shareware text and source code editor available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. The editor offers a lightweight and efficient platform with powerful features and extensive customization options, making it a favourite code editor amongst developers. It supports syntax highlighting for a vast array of programming languages and markup formats, making code easier to read and understand. It also offers basic code completion for keywords and functions. The "Command Palette" also allows you to quickly access various features and commands using keyboard shortcuts, providing s a powerful and efficient way to interact with the editor. You can even select and edit multiple lines of code simultaneously, allowing you to skip repetitive edits and write code faster. 

Like many other code editors, Sublime Text offers extensive customization options through themes, plugins, and settings files. You can personalize the editor's appearance, behaviour, and functionality to suit your preferences and workflow. It also has a host to a vast library of plugins made by the Sublime community, including features like advanced code completion, linting, version control integration, and more. 

Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a free and open-source code editor developed by Microsoft that is widely considered to be the best and most popular code editor developers worldwide. The platform comes with intelligent code editing features like syntax highlighting, code completion (IntelliSense), and code snippets built-in, making writing accurate coding quickly a breeze. It also provides a built-in debugger for stepping through code, inspecting variables, and setting breakpoints, integrating with popular testing frameworks like Jest and Mocha for efficient test execution and result viewing. VS Code seamlessly integrates with too, allowing you to manage code changes, collaborate with team members, and track project history directly within the editor.

Thanks to its popularity, Visual Studio code boasts a thriving marketplace with thousands of extensions that can add new features and functionalities, tailoring the editor to your specific needs and preferences. It’s highly customizable too. You can personalize VS Code's appearance, behaviour, and keyboard shortcuts through themes, settings, and extensions, creating a truly personalized and efficient coding environment. Overall, Visual Studio Code is a powerful, versatile, and highly customizable code editor that offers a perfect balance of features, ease of use, and extensibility. Its, cross-platform compatibility and vibrant community make it one of the best code editors for developers of all levels and skill sets.