8 Online Text Editors To Consider For Your Projects

Many times when developing a custom website, a clients needs to be given the ability to edit the text directly from an administration section. As many people don’t know the nuts and bolts of html, they have to use a simple editor to create their markup. This article discuses the pros/cons of the most used online text editors.

1. TinyMCE

TinyMCE is one of the most used text editor on the web, at least in a lot of custom applications, and it’s my text editor of choice. It features a lot of useful plugins like image insertion, text alignment, even css styling — basically all you need to make adjustments to html code or even templates. There are two more commercial plugins from the makers of TinyMCE, MCFileManager, a PHP file browser and MCImageManager, an image upload utility to upload / delete of photos. If you don’t want to pay for a commercial image upload utility, there is also a plugin called iBrowser for photo upload. TinyMCE has a lot of implementations, even with AJAX callbacks for saving files, which makes it a very solid structure to build your next killer app.

TinyMCE Homepage

2. FCKeditor

FCKeditor is another often used text editor on the web. It features many functions, and it’s especially light-weight, when compared to tinyMCE. It also supports multiple languages for the toolbars and comes with plenty of languages, which makes it pretty useful. One of the advantages of the FCKeditor is its built-in file manager in conjunction with a PHP script on the server, and its included spell checker. It’s the best lightweight editor when you need a fast and clean development cycle.

FCKeditor Homepage

3. Yahoo Rich Text Editor

Actually a component of Yahoo’s YUI Library, the Rich Text Editor is a very impressive, feature filled editor, even if it doesn’t provide as much functionality and plugins as the above editors. A big advantage to this online editor is that it can be used on mobile A-grade browsers, so when you need to build a mobile app, this editor is the best choice.

YUI Rich Text Editor

4. WYMeditor

WIMeditor is an xhtml editor with special focus on clean markup and Strict XHTML. The advantage of this editor is that it doesn’t use fonts, text formatting, or color. It instead focuses on CSS markup. This is actually a very good editor for beginners and clients that may produce poorly written html, because it only uses CSS rules which are already created. It is skinnable and supports custom menus / commands.

WIMeditor Homepage

5. FreeRichTextEditor

FreeRichTextEditor is another go for an online text editor. This editor has a sleek Microsoft Office 2002 skin, and looks and feels like Microsoft Office! It is also feature packed, having a lot of basic functionality. It has three mode views: Design, Code, and Preview — which feels quite similar to Dreamweaver.

FreeRichTextEditor Homepage

6. Xinha

Xinha is a fantastic editor with a very large community in its wing. What makes this online editor unique is the formula editor, which supports MathML tags, essential for any math blog or website. Xinha also has additional plugins that extend its functionality.

Xinha Homepage

Commercial editors

7. rtePad

rtePad is a powerful editor, similar in functionality to tinyMCE. One important tool present in rtePad is the Word import tool. It costs $149.

rtePad Homepage

8. SPAW Editor

SPAW Editor is another powerful commercial editor with great tools for editing tables, and a great color picker tool. It has a cool metal skin and costs $45 per domain.

SPAW Editor Homepage

If I have forgotten one, and I’m sure I have, please let us know via the comments.


  • Arthur says:

    SPAW Editor is nice. too bad its not free.

  • Elijah Manor says:

    Ahh nice, FreeRichTextEditor has spellcheck & its free!

  • Paul Lyons says:

    TinyMCE is great, at least you are able to trim the functionality for your content management application.

  • Another great article. I will make use of TinyMCE and FCKeditor.

  • dj says:

    On windows, also consider Edit Plus.
    On Linux, consider Kate.

    For both, users can supply syntax highlighting and keyword completion files.

  • Serge says:

    Juste want to say there are an excellent editor called nicedit

    see http://nicedit.com/

  • Tanzmusik says:

    You definitly missed some: MarkItUp
    Its a great jquery markup editor for serveral syntaxes

  • Tanax says:

    About text-editors, you should do a list of all those scripteditors you used before. Aptana, notepad++, dreamweaver, etc..

    That’d be a cool list aswell :)

  • brad says:

    eww i dont like any of these…their supposed to be BASIC text editors? how about a post on the best coding progs….notepad++, coda, simpleTextEditor etc etc!!! nice list though, ive never heard of a lot of them!

  • Dave says:

    @brad I’m not sure what you mean. What do you suggest using when a client needs to write and format text etc without writing html?

    Thanks for the roundup.I like the look of yahoo rich text editor. Looks like it has enough functionality for most of my projects

  • Jayaprakash says:

    Innova editor seems to be a good choice http://www.innovastudio.com/. It is a commercial product.

  • Grundy says:

    Best editor was Interakt KTML by far, commercial but now discontinued by Adobe but still beats all these hands down. Its ability to integrate with htmltidy on the server and keeping many options available was awesome, easy for client to understand the interface and pretty too, unlike Tiny and FCK which are just plain UGLY.

  • Phillip says:

    Just released a few days ago for all you .NET developers:

  • Michael says:

    I think you should have included jQuerys text editor: http://code.google.com/p/jwysiwyg/

    I use it in my apps and it works perfectly :D

  • As I said before, these are online editors. They are supposed to work in an online application. We are not talking about real code editors, you cannot compare a full-blown text editor with a javascript one ( although these are pretty powerful ).

  • I prefer tiny_mce because it’s well documented. It requires extensive tweaking though to get it the way you want it.

  • Anton says:

    SPAW Editor is not commercial per se. It’s released under GPL so for GPL or in-house projects you can use it for free.

  • Gareth says:

    Great list!

    Have noticed an issue with fck editor when pasting from notepad that it replaces all line breaks as soft line breaks. Anybody know of any others that don’t do that?

    Extremely annoying when needing to style pasted-in text.


  • Nicedit is another good javascript editor. I like it because it’s unobtrusive and easy to install.

  • brad says:

    @dave I guess the better coding editors on regular text mode? lol, I didn’t even write a complete sentence up there. What I meant was I’de like to see a list of the TOP say 10 or so coding environments, and i forgot the question mark beside ‘jus plain text editors?’ so yeah i guess these definitely top any notepad…but what about Coding Editors? :D anyone second that?

  • Amy says:

    One thing I have found really annoying with a lot of free wysiwyg’s is that they don’t know when to put a or a in… a lot of the time they will just put a crapload of breaks in… and if you are picky about your code, this is a major pain in the arse. I use FCKeditor even though I find it a little bloated… I like the fact that you can customize it really easily.

  • Amy says:

    that first sentence should read “One thing I have found really annoying with a lot of free wysiwyg’s is that they don’t know when to put a paragraph tag or break tag in” haha :P

  • Amy says:

    Thanks for the list, useful info here.

    I would have to say that I dislike TinyMCE. The code it generates is invalid, a table nested inside a . It’s nice that it’s so customizable, but the fact that it’s not standards-compliant bugs me.

  • PRAVEEN says:

    hi all,

    how to edit .doc…

  • Jash Sayani says:

    SPAW Editor looks great… But its a bit too expensive. I’d rather spend on getting TextMate. And as of the “online” part is concerned, I have eyeOS on my domain so I can use the Word processor of that…

  • Derek says:

    In Joomla, I find TinyMCE to be a serious pain; JCE is the best. Much easier to work with, and it doesn’t filter out custom HTML.

  • Kasper says:


    You missed one which I use for smaller projects since it is so easy to figure out :D
    DSRTE – http://www.avidansoft.com/dsrte/


  • Raspo says:

    I don’t understand…
    …why lot’s of them use tag instead of ???

  • Raspo says:

    I mean DIV tag instead of P

  • Ano says:

    WYMeditor would be the best by its elegant approach to the problem of rich text editing. Alas, its implementation is nothing but hell, it’s a real pain in some delicate bodypart to customize, it lacks a proper and efficient javascript API…
    TyniMCE is way too heavy, though its API is clever.
    FCKEditor is nice, that’s the one I stick to, except the configuration and skinning is a bit hackish.

    I’d love to get something that looks and feels like WYMEditor, with no skin option because I mostly don’t care, but an easy and useful and clear API to create text editors with the controls I decide (most of the time we simply don’t need classes or containers, as well as we don’t need image integration, bold, italic, super/subscript, underline, eventually strikethrough and bulleted and numbered list and that would be more than enough).

  • I like SPAW Editor, and if you use CodeIgniter I have written a class to include it with multiple tabs.

    Check out my blog post about it http://sheldon.lendrum.co.nz/codeigniter-spaw-editor-tabs_411/10/

  • Opperjacky says:

    I’ve been using the .Net Editor that came with the AJAX Control toolkit since the update was released and I’m really happy about it. It’s fully and really easily customizable, I love it !