Free Text Editors for Mac Users

Free Text Editors for Mac Users

My father always told me that I could do anything if I learned to choose the right tool for the job. If you’re a writer who has been struggling to get words on the page using a word processor, a free text editor might just help you win the battle.

There are a lot of text editors available on the market. Some text editors are designed for programmers, coders, and web developers who may have very different needs than many writers. So, how do you choose the right text editor to suit your current writing needs?

As a writer, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the how, the what, and the why of your writing so you can choose a text editor that is the best tool for your writing projects. When it comes to text editors, you’ll find they range from do-it-all and fully hackable, to basic text manipulation and minimalist appearance when it comes to features and function.

For Mac users that write website content, program, or dabble at all in website design, a more powerful, feature-packed text editor will let you adjust its look and function, so it better fits your style. For writers just looking for a distraction-free writing environment, all the bells and whistles of a feature-packed text editor are distracting, and one of the basic or minimalist text editors may work just fine for you.

Benefits of a Text Editor:

  • Rich text (formatted) to plain text conversion
  • Edit Config Files
  • Highlight or color code syntax when working with code
  • Reduce document size and layers of text files by eliminating formatting
  • Distraction free writing
  • Reusable Text Snippets or Clips
  • Quicker capture of notes and clipboard data
  • Handy utilities (unit converters, hash generator, date encryption or decryption)

TextEdit Free Text Editor Default for Mac

As a Mac user, you’ve probably come across TextEdit which is the default text editor for Mac. If you haven’t experimented with it yet, take some time to try it out. It’s free; it can handle basic word processing needs, and you may find that it’s enough for your current needs.

TextEdit offers rich text formatting that lets you change font size, color, and font styles similar to word processors such as Apple Pages and MS Word. You’ll find TextEdit beneath the Preferences section of the menu. Just select “Plain Text” in the Format section of the New Document Tab.

If after experimenting with TextEdit, you find it just doesn’t cut it for you, explore some of the alternative free text editors for Mac users listed below:

Ommwriter Dana

(Download Ommwriter Here)

  • Free and available for OS X, iPad, PC
  • Distraction-free text editor for Mac
  • Change settings from simple menu that pop up when you hover over the side
  • Default background is soothing light gray with leafless tree in one corner
  • Comes with sound effects designed to promote concentration
  • Choose font types
  • Premium version has larger selection of audio and visual themes
  • Save to multiple formats including omm., txt, .rtf, or pdf
  • Cannot print directly from Ommwriter


(Download Brackets Here)

  • Free and available for OS X, Windows, and Linux
  • Open source
  • Simple, usable editor that can be easily customized by experienced coders
  • Easy to use right in the browser
  • For web designers and front-end developers
  • Visual tools blended into the editor
  • Support community is active and passionate
  • Made by web developers
  • Inline editors
  • Live preview


(Download Sublime Here)

  • Available for OS X, Linux, and Windows
  • Free trial available with no forced time limit on evaluation period; $70 after evaluation
  • Crowd favorite with its amazing feature-set
  • General-purpose text editor with plenty of power for website work
  • Ideal for keyboard users with powerful shortcuts and tools
  • Open files with a few keystrokes
  • Distraction free mode
  • Split editing
  • Python based plugin API and built-in Python console for real-time experimentation
  • Easy to switch between projects
  • Tabbed interface to open multiple documents at once


(Download Vim Here)

  • Free and available for OS X, Windows, and Linux
  • Not for the faint of heart, steep learning curve but tech gurus will be in heaven
  • Sky’s the limit once you learn to use it
  • Extensive help feature for beginners
  • Flexible tools, macros, customization
  • Rock stable
  • Multi-level undo tree and version history
  • Extensive plug-in system
  • Supports hundreds of file formats and programming languages
  • Search and replace function


(Download Textmate Here)

  • Free and designed for OS X exclusively
  • Designed specifically, by a UNIX geek, for the Mac platform.
  • Provides features not even available in an IDE
  • More features than the popular BBEdit
  • Search and replace
  • Auto pair brackets and other characters
  • Clipboard history
  • Foldable code blocks
  • Plug-able through your favorite scripting language
  • Fantastic macros and snippets
  • Visual bookmarks within a file
  • External editor for SFTP
  • Works with Xcode and can build Xcode projects

GNU Emacs

(Download GNU Emacs Here)

  • Free
  • OS X, Linux, and Windows
  • Customizable editor using Emacs Lisp code or graphical interface
  • Syntax color for many file types
  • Built-in documentation plus tutorial
  • Full Unicode support for all human scripts
  • Includes project planner, news and mail reader, debugger, calendar, and more
  • Packaging system for downloading and installing extensions
  • Try for Free

Text Editors for Mac Users:

If you find you need something different than a free text editor, the two below are not completely free, but they do offer you an opportunity to test drive their capabilities and kick the tires for a short period before you decide to buy. BBEdit has satisfied Mac power users for over two decades.


(Download Bare Bones Edit Here)

  • 30-day Free Trial available for OS X
  • Bare Bones company founded in 1993
  • Replacement for Text Wrangler
  • Designed for web authors and software developers
  • Award winning
  • Powerful and configurable text and HTML editor used by professionals
  • Fast, scriptable
  • Find and replace
  • Syntax highlighting for multiple languages
  • Version control support
  • Text suggestion feature for string matching

Komodo Edit

(Download Komodo Edit Here)

  • OS X, Linux, and Windows
  • 21-day fully functional free trial
  • Multi-language editor
  • Track changes
  • Markdown viewer
  • Autocomplete
  • Multi-selection
  • Skins & Icon sets
  • Toolbox
  • Projects & Places Manager
  • For advanced features consider Komodo IDE

Experiment with free text editors for Mac or one with a free trial period until you find the one that lets you write most effectively. With the right tool in your belt, you’ll get more words on the page and have more time to edit which could just propel your book to the best seller list!

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