11 Best Notepad++ Alternatives For Mac 2024

Notepad++ is a lightweight text and code editor, designed to replace Notepad on Windows. It takes up minimal space and allows you to write text or code in various programming languages.

It is free and open source.

However, Notepad++ is only available for Windows. If you are looking for a Mac alternative, though, we’ve got you covered.

Today, I will be showing you some of the best alternatives to Notepad++ if you use a Mac.

Let’s get into it.

Quick Summary

The best alternatives to Notepad++ for macOS include:

  • Sublime Text
  • BBEdit
  • Phoenix Code
  • CotEditor
  • UltraEdit
  • Visual Studio Code

All of these options are great for text and code editing. Some are simple text and code editors, while others have advanced features like debugging.

11 Best Notepad++ For Mac Alternatives

1. Sublime Text

Sublime Text is a text and source code editor for Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can write regular text or code.

It supports Apple Silicon processors and various programming and markup languages by default, including new languages like JSX, TSX, and TypeScript.

Sublime Text has many useful features to make writing code easy. It has auto-complete suggestions to help with programming methods.

Syntax highlighting in multiple languages allows you to easily spot errors.

It highlights method definitions in code, allowing you to easily jump to where the method is defined. Furthermore, when showing you auto-complete suggestions when writing methods, it also allows you to quickly jump to the method definitions.

Not only that, but when renaming variables that are mentioned more than once in a source code, you can rename them all at once with simultaneous editing to save time and avoid runtime errors.

The ability to split your screen into multiple tabs makes editing source code even easier and more seamless.

For example, you can open the definition of a method in another tab in split screen mode. That way, you can view them side by side and ensure there are no programming errors that don’t align with the definition of the method.

One of the programming languages most popular on Sublime Text is Python, for which the API (Application Programming Interface) has been updated to Python 3.8. However, backwards compatibility is still maintained.

Sublime Text is powerful and fast, with GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) rendering on Mac that results in a smooth user interface.

While it has many customization options, including different color schemes, it’s also designed for optimal productivity. Distraction-free mode, for example, hides user interface elements so that you can only see the code you are working on.

It also features a command line tool and Git integration.

A large community is available to help with support, and you can benefit from the community-developed plugins for Sublime to enrich your programming work.

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2. BBEdit

Another excellent alternative to Notepad++, especially if you are looking for a lightweight editor, Is BBEdit, from Bare Bones Software.

BBEdit has been around for over 30 years, as it was first released in 1993.

It’s designed specifically for Mac and written in C. It’s a great text editor that won’t take up too much space; it’s called Bare Bones for a reason.

However, it’s designed primarily for text and HTML (HyperText Markup Language) only.

It has powerful search capabilities, allowing you to quickly find and format text. It supports all the Mac keyboard shortcuts you are accustomed to using, and you can save time by using Text Factories to speed up repetitive tasks.

Although primarily designed for HTML, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and JavaScript, it has native support and recognition for over 20 languages.

It supports syntax recognition, custom place markers, automatic function detection, automatic indenting and line numbering, and other features to help you easily navigate your source code.

With automatic code completion and inline function parameter assistance, you can ensure you write clean code. Errors and warnings will show up when your code contains mistakes or bad code, allowing you to rectify mistakes that could impact the smooth operation of your code.

You can collect all of a website’s HTML files or all of an application’s code files into a single window, organizing your files for easy access and switching between them with ease.

Furthermore, you can use it to edit files in disk browsers and FTP (File Transfer Protocol) browsers, giving you full control over file systems, disks, and servers.

BBEdit is free to use, but some features, such as the HTML tools that make working with HTML easy, require a license. You can get a free 30-day trial of the premium version, after which you can continue to use BBEdit’s free version.

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3. TextMate

If you’re looking for an alternative to Notepad++ for Mac that is entirely free and open source, TextMate is the answer. It’s not just for editing text, though, as it has native support for a wide range of programming languages.

It offers many features that make it easy to work with. For example, you can search for code or text and jump from one result to another.

You can also create macros to automate repetitive tasks. You can create snippets as replacements for commonly used lines of code, allowing you to easily insert such lines without much effort.

A clipboard history also allows you to go back and recover snippets of code or text you have previously copied and pasted.

If you are working on HTML, you can benefit from the live previews, allowing you to see how your markup will look in real life and make adjustments accordingly.

Extensive documentation is provided.

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4. UltraEdit

Next, we’ll be taking a look at UltraEdit, a code editor for macOS, Linux, and Windows that has been around since 1994, originally called MEDIT.

A single license allows you to use it on three devices, including all three supported operating systems.

It’s more than just a text and code editor, though. It’s one of the best multipurpose editors, as you can use it as a hex editor and XML/JSON (Extensible Markup Language/JavaScript Object Notation) viewer as well.

And I haven’t even gotten started on UltraEdit All Access, which gives you access to all of the following:

  • The UltraEdit Text Editor
  • UltraEdit Studio, which is almost like an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and includes debugging, Git integration, and other powerful features
  • UltraFinder, a file and folder search utility for FTP servers
  • UltraCompare, a data comparison tool for various file types
  • UltraFTP, a secure FTP client

For now, though, let’s focus on the UltraEdit Text Editor itself.

When writing code in UltraEdit, you can benefit from Intellitips, which provides auto-complete suggestions for functions and methods for most modern programming languages.

With multi-selection editing, you can save time and avoid code inconsistencies.

If you are working with HTML, you can see a live preview of your code as you write it. It also works for markdown languages.

In the live preview, you can double-click on an element to land on its source code and make any necessary adjustments. That avoids the need of searching through the source code until you find the element.

Column mode allows you to edit vertically rather than horizontally. While not really my cup of tea, I can see how it can be useful.

The user interface is customizable in many other ways as well. There are even ready-to-use themes you can choose from.

UltraEdit, unlike simple text editors, has integrated FTP, SSH (Secure Shell), and Telnet support. That allows you to upload code to a file server, for example, or connect to servers remotely to work on files.

This contrasts with Notepad++, which requires external plugins for FTP connections.

UltraEdit is especially useful if you work with large files, as it can work seamlessly with files of up to 4 GB in size.

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5. CotEditor

CotEditor, another alternative for macOS, is free and open source.

It has built-in syntax highlighting for over 50 programming and markup languages, including HTML, Python, Ruby, PHP, and other popular ones. If you write in a language that is not natively supported, you can create your own settings.

In split mode, you can split your editor into multiple panes to make working on code easier.

To make your life easier, you can automate things with macros in your favorite language, be that Ruby, Python, JavaScript, etc. Meanwhile, the powerful find and replace tool allows you to easily replace problematic code or a text snippet with a more suitable one.

CotEditor supports automatic backup. That ensures that you don’t lose the source code you have been working on, which would understandably be very frustrating.

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6. Visual Studio Code

If you need a more comprehensive source code editor than Notepad++ for Mac, you can always use Visual Studio Code. VS Code was created by Microsoft for Windows, macOS, and Linux, and it is a very popular code editor.

It has a beautiful interface, and it has IntelliSense to provide autocomplete suggestions based on function definitions and variable types in popular languages.

It allows you to debug straight from the editor, identifying runtime errors from your console. It also has Git commands built in.

However, one of the best things about working with Visual Studio Code is the huge number of extensions available for the software.

The extensions are available from the Visual Studio Code Marketplace. Some features extensions include:

  • GitHub Copilot
  • Azure API Center
  • AIConfig Editor
  • Excalidraw

The extension marketplace also allows you to add support for new programming languages. Some of the programming languages supported include C#, C++, C, Java, TypeScript, YAML (Yet Another Markup Language), JavaScript, JSON, and many others.

In fact, the massive range of languages is one of the top reasons people prefer Visual Studio Code. In addition, it provides plenty of advanced features like debugging.

Even though Visual Studio Code is made by Microsoft, it is built on open-source software and entirely free to use, even for commercial purposes.

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7. Zed

Zed is a code editor and an alternative to Notepad++ for macOS.

It optimizes your GPU and CPU (Central Processing Unit) to load files and work more efficiently, claiming a much faster response time than the industry standard (when compared to other popular code editors) in terms of latency and startup time.

Zed works with GitHub Copilot, with native support built in, allowing you to harness the power of AI as you code. By typing a prompt, you can get AI-generated code from ChatGPT 4 (you can also use AI to refactor code).

With autocomplete and syntax highlighting, you can code more efficiently and write clean, error-free code.

Zed also has many features that make team collaboration easy, allowing you to work with your fellow programmers on a project. You can create channels for your teams, with nested channels for subprojects, with shared documents accessible to all members in the channel.

Channels also support live audio and text chat, allowing software engineers to collaborate on coding projects.

They’re also great for senior developers who are mentoring junior developers. You can “follow along” with someone as they code, and the roles can be switched at any time.

In other words, the senior developer can allow the junior to follow along to watch and learn, and then switch the roles, so the developer can follow along and monitor the junior’s skills.

Furthermore, you can connect to remote or local servers and edit code as if it were on your own computer, without latency.

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8. Typora

If you write in Markdown, then Typora is a great alternative to Notepad++ on macOS.

It’s a clean, simple, and distraction-free editor for Markdown. It provides a live preview while removing distractions such as syntax symbols.

Typora even has something called Focus Mode, which blurs lines you are not working on so they don’t distract you. In addition, TypeWriter Mode keeps the line you are working on in the middle of the window; pairing these two modes together leads to an ultimate distraction-free environment.

You can organize your files and upload them to cloud storage services,

With autocomplete, you can pair words and brackets to save time and insert snippets of code without writing them out entirely.

Typora provides custom themes for customizing your workspace; you can customize these themes with CSS.

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9. Atom

Atom is a text and code editor with embedded Git control.

With GitHub for Atom, you can create new branches on GitHub, view pull requests, and more. GitHub for Atom is supported out of the box, without the need to add any other extensions.

It offers the ability to code with others in real time, remotely, with Teletype. Simply open a portal and invite collaborators to create a shared workspace.

Atom offers a built-in package manager, autocomplete suggestions, and a file system browser.

It has several themes built-in, and you can also install themes from the community. Not only that, but there are numerous open-source packages you can add to customize Atom (you can also create your own).

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10. GNU Emacs

GNU Emacs is a free text editor for macOS and other operating systems. It is the most widely used version of Emacs, an editor that was first developed in 1976 (EMACS originally stood for Editor Macros).

It features syntax highlighting, full Unicode support, built-in documentation, and a packaging system for extensions.

In addition, GNU Emacs has features such as a project planner, debugger interface, calendar, IRC (Internet Relay Chat) client, mail reader, newsreader, and more. It’s a lot more than just a text editor.

It is free to use and has a large community of developers who use it.

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11. Phoenix Code

Finally, the last alternative to Notepad++ we will be looking at for macOS is Phoenix Code, which is natively available for macOS, Linux, and Windows.

Unlike Notepad++, though, it also has a web-based editor, which you can access from any browser on any operating system, including macOS and others. This is in addition to the downloadable version for macOS.

The online version even allows you to use extensions, and it also has debugging capabilities. You can import files or projects from GitHub.

With live previews, you can see how your web pages will look in real time, allowing you to make adjustments to poorly designed interfaces immediately.

It’s best for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and TypeScript, but you can use it for other programming languages as well.

There are thousands of extensions and themes that allow you to customize your experience, set up automations, and more. Additionally, you can create your own extensions.

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As you can see, some of these alternatives are basic, just like Notepad++, and offer simple text and code editing, with elementary features like syntax highlighting and autocomplete.

Others include advanced features, like extensions and debugging, allowing you to write code efficiently and quickly, including with the help of AI.

While some are open source, others require a license.

Either way, I hope this article was insightful. Regardless of your needs, you will be able to find a code editor in this list that meets your requirements.

About Author

Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.