HTML Editors You Could Use

For HTML editing, we of course recommend BBEdit, because it saves in the right format, foregrounds the actual HTML tags, gives you access to powerful HTML editing tools without taking away your control over tags or limiting your understanding of what is going on. However, as it is a Mac-only program, and is not freeware, here are a few other possibilities...

Some HTML books discuss a PC program called Homesite, implying that it is similar to BBEdit. Unfortunately, I cannot make any other comments regarding the program, because I have never used it.

You could also use plain text editing programs like Simpletext (Mac OS 9), or Notepad (older PC?) to work on pages. These programs are what many people used to use to edit their HTML, and they automatically choose text format when you save your pages. They do not have any helpful tools built in, but they do work well as basic HTML editors.

TextEdit (Mac) and or Wordpad (PC) can also be used to edit code on HTML pages. TextEdit and Wordpad don't necessarily choose text-only format when saving, and this will cause you problems if you save in the wrong format (you must consciously make the program choose to save in text format). So for this and other reasons, these last two programs are harder to use correctly for editing HTML.

To make TextEdit work correctly as a useful HTML editor, you need to change its Preferences:

  1. Make sure the TextEdit program is running.

  2. If a TextEdit document window is already open, close the window (even after resetting preferences, this window will still be messed up). Closing the document window will not quit TextEdit.

  3. Go to the TextEdit application name at the top left of the screen, hold down, and choose Preferences. A Preferences window will open.

  4. Make sure the Format for new documents is set to Plain Text (NOT rich text).
    This option in the newest version of TextEdit may be under the New Document settings.

  5. Make sure that Smart Quotes is NOT checked.
    This option in the newest version of TextEdit may be under the New Document settings.

  6. Make sure the setting for opening a file is set to ignore rich text commands in HTML files.
    This option in the newest version of TextEdit may be under the Open and Save settings.

  7. Click the red button at the top left of the Preferences window to close the window. When you now open a new TextEdit document, the window should be a totally blank, plain text window.

Unfortunately, I don't have access to Wordpad (PC) to see if there are similar Preferences changes that you could make to use it easily as an HTML editor. But NotePad is probably better for our purposes than Wordpad.