HTML Editor

An HTML editor is a software for editing and creating HTML code that is used for websites or other web documents. With text-based HTML editors, the source code can be edited directly. WYSIWYG editors show the document to be edited already the way it displayed in the browser later. HTML editors are usually part of an integrated development environment.

How it works[edit]

An HTML editor is a simple text-based computer program. An experienced programmer can also use a simple text editor to write HTML code.

However, HTML editors differ from pure text editors in that they are integrated in a development environment or offer numerous additional functions:

  • Automatic detection of HTML tags
  • Detection of syntax errors
  • Autocomplete function
  • Shortcuts for common tags
  • Extended use for PHP
  • Editing of HTML code directly in the layout of a web document (WYSIWYG editors)


Two different types can be distinguished, text-based HTML editors, and WYSIWYG editors.

Text-based HTML editors[edit]

This HTML editor format assumes that you are familiar with HTML and know how to use HTML tags. Good, text-based editors also include a correction function, which highlights syntax errors in color. Some programs can also be used with an autocomplete function.

WYSIWYG editors[edit]

A WYSIWYG editor is also suitable for users without HTML knowledge. The acronym "WYSIWYG" stands for “what you see is what you get” and expresses exactly what such an HTML editor does. With it, you can edit the HTML code in the layout of the corresponding website. The editor converts all entries directly into HTML or CSS. The functions are similar to popular office programs. Changes to the text or images are visible right after editing. WYSIWYG editors are used for CMS and blog systems like WordPress or Joomla, for example.

Free HTML editors[edit]

A great number of HTML editors are available for download on the Internet. Free programs are actually not inferior to paid versions with regard to their basic functions.

  • Netbeans: The free HTML editor Netbeans works within an IDE (integrated development environment). It is available for Windows, iOS, and Linux and also supports HTML5. Automatic error correction helps to avoid bugs.
  • Notepad ++: The slim and simple HTML editor has a syntax highlighting and autocomplete function. In addition, several documents can be edited in various tabs.
  • phase 5: The clearly arranged HTML editor provides numerous convenience features such as syntax highlighting and a corrective device. Additionally, the code can also be loaded in a browser view. This editor is free for home use, schools, and clubs. It is available only for Windows.
  • NVU: The NVU is a WYSIWYG editor, which is also suitable for creating sites. An integrated FTP uploader allows you to upload the created HTML page directly to the Internet. A direct descendant of the same function is KompoZer. Both programs can be used with Windows, Linux, and iOS.
  • Google Web Designer: This free software provided by Google Inc., offers comprehensive functions and is also suitable for the design of complete websites. It can be used both in WYSIWYG mode as well as in code view for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, or XML. In addition, the Google Web Designer supports inserting of 3D objects and HTML 5. It is compatible with Windows and iOS.
  • Amaya: The free HTML editor of the W3C is particularly noteworthy because it includes standards that are still in development. For this reason, Amaya is suitable for demonstrations of new software.
  • Hex Editor: This HTML editor is intended for professionals who want to edit the control code in the hexadecimal system in addition to the HTML code.
  • Microsoft Expression Web: This extensive Microsoft software allows the creation of complete web pages. You can select source view or a WYSIWYG editor. A smart correction function for HTML and PHP is integrated.


Paid HTML editors are usually part of a complete development environment for new websites and are used by professional web designers.

  • Adobe Dreamweaver: This editor is one of the most popular programs for professional users.
  • Corel Draw - Graphics Suite: The Graphics Suite Corel is similar to Adobe Dreamweaver and is a powerful program for web designers and developers.
  • RapidWeaver: This editor is suitable for iOs and also for usable for hobbyists.

Relevance to search engine optimization[edit]

HTML editors are important tools for on-page optimization. For one, errors in the source code can be detected and remedied. Errors in programming can lead to the devaluation of a website by a search engine.

On the other hand, editors also help to optimize the source code in order to reduce loading time of a website. After all, the slimmer the code is designed, the better the bots of the search engines can crawl websites. That way, the crawlers reach more documents on the internal linking structure.

WYSIWYG editors have the additional advantage that the user can immediately see how changes to the code affect the final document. Therefore, HTML editors also help in optimizing the usability of a webpage, for example, when images or buttons with call-to-action elements are to be relocated after a web analysis to increase the CTR of the page.