Websites are the go-to platforms that we use when we want to put information online in some professional capacity. In the last 20 years, there has been an explosion of websites and web design has become an acclaimed art; easy to learn, hard to master.
New technology plays an important role in this. Most people can quickly pick up the basics of writing CSS, but a true master uses a CSS editor to assist with crafting their art. This can be any text editor with special features for CSS or a purpose-built CSS editor.
There are a lot of free CSS editors that you can choose from and we thought you might need help deciding on one. With a CSS editor,you typically have access to live previews, automatic code completion, and other neat features. Not all CSS editors are created equal, however.
Let’s check out more details in this article created by our team at wpDataTables.
What is CSS?
CSS or Cascading Style Sheets is a style sheet language that controls how HTML is displayed. It lets you easily apply style rules to target elements (selectors) on a web page. It’s the de facto standard for marking up the style of a web page in either HTML or XHTML.
An advantage of CSS is that it helps developers to separate content from the presentation layer. CSS makes setting the style and layout for each page that you see on a site easy. It uses just a single file to control the style and layout of multiple web pages all at once.
CSS code is really easy to read and write, so even non-programmers can delve into the design of their site and make changes to how it looks.
Advantages of CSS Editors
If you’ve been a web developer until now then you know how important a good CSS and HTML editor is. Having the right CSS editor means that you will be able to create beautiful sites with less effort.
The CSS editor that you should choose should complement your web development workflow and any existing tools that you already use. Some of the most useful features to look out for include:
- Live preview
- Auto completion
- Syntax highlighting
Pick a CSS Editor Out of This Selection
In no particular order, and without further ado, here’s the list of the best CSS editors we could find:
If you go for Atom you can get great features for smarter code navigation (e.g. outline view). It works on Mac, Windows, or Linux.
Other cool features include the auto-completion that is a great asset when you are trying to code faster and it also has a built-in package manager that will let you search for new packages and install them. Look for CSS-specific packages to help you write CSS easier.
Sublime Text is a proprietary cross-platform source code editor. It natively supports many programming languages and markup languages, and functions can be added by users with plugins, typically community-built and maintained under free-software licenses.
This CSS editor by Mozilla is quite new and it helps you to test and see instant changes to the code of a page. The screen has half of it focused on the code and the other half focused on the preview of the site that you are trying to build. Any changes that you make to the code can be seen instantly in the preview so take advantage of this feature.
Notepad++ is Notepad on steroids — it’s designed to help you code faster and with less effort, so you can focus on making your website look great. It’s perfect for a pro or a beginner that wants to try coding for the first time.
The web editor for Mac is back. For people who make delightful, innovative, and fast websites — in an app to match. Espresso helps you write, code, design, build and publish with flair and efficiency.
Sophisticated text features, amazing Live Preview with Browser X-Ray, CSS Edit tools, the Navigator, Dynamo auto-building, and Server Sync. Whether you’re starting from scratch or tweaking a live site, Espresso has you covered.
Coda is a powerful, multi-purpose code editor with all the features you need to build clean, elegant websites. It has a special focus on making CSS easy to manipulate with CSS overriding, autocomplete, and much more.
Brackets is an open-source code editor that is focused on front end web design and development. It is highly visual and includes a live preview and inline editing capabilities. The great thing about it is that it has a lot of awesome extensions.
This free CSS editor runs on all platforms including Mac, Windows, and Linux and it allows you to create CSS from zero. You can use it to modify existing sheets and you will enjoy a familiar point-and-click interface that you might have encountered before.
TopStyle CSS editor
This CSS editor is impressive from the start. You can choose a style definition that shows properties and values that are supported by different browsers. Note that development has ended for this editor, but it is still available for download.
PSPad is a freeware text and code editor that looks quite complicated at first. Still, this one does a good job of helping you write basic code, especially CSS. It has many different functions and extensions so it might just be what you were looking for.
This CSS editor helps you with cool tools that can be used quickly in order to develop CSS snippets that will help you style your website.
It’s also got a great live preview feature that works great for testing your changes.
Codepad isn’t exactly a CSS editor, but it is great for a developer that wants to share CSS code snippets with others. Simply paste your CSS into the form, click Submit, and copy the link generated to share your snippet for others to view or edit.
EnginSite CSS Editor
This is an advanced CSS editor that has some hard to find features when compared with other editors. You have an instant preview and the editor can easily be used for new designers that are focused on simple tasks and designs.
This CSS editor was made to run on Windows and Mac. It can be used by anyone no matter if they are a beginner or an expert. The software doesn’t only provide WYSIWYG but also offers access to all the information that you need to check different CSS properties.
Get this CSS editor online and change the way you were coding until now. You can use it for many different web development tasks and it can be a perfect match if you are just starting to learn CSS. See for yourself!
CSS Frame Generator
This is an extremely helpful CSS editing tool that lets you generate a CSS skeleton from existing HTML. It returns all your CSS selectors in the order in which it finds them.
Style Studio CSS Editor
Check out this CSS editor if you aresearching for a powerful one that will help you bring W3C CSS standards into the mix. It has some cool features like a CSS validator and syntax coloring.
CoffeeCup Responsive Site Designer
CoffeeCup’s Responsive Site Designer is a visual CSS editor that makes it easy to change the way your site looks without delving too much into technicalities.
Rapid CSS Editor
If you are writing CSS code daily this might be one of the best CSS editors that you can get your hands on. It provides syntax highlighting, automatic code completion, and a multi-browser preview tool.
Firebug ushered in the Web 2.0 era. Today, the work pioneered by the Firebug community through the last 12 years lives on in Firefox Developer Tools. Use this tool to inspect and modify your CSS on-the-fly.
You can edit the underlined values in this CSS file, but don’t worry about making sure the corresponding values match, that’s all done automatically for you. Whenever you want, you can copy the whole or part of this page and paste it into your own stylesheet.
Astyle CSS Editor
Astyle CSS Editor is a neat piece of software that lets you write and edit CSS with fine-grained control and precision in a visual format. It requires no coding knowledge.
Blue Griffon is a Web and EPUB editor that can be used for editing CSS with its excellent style sheet manager and the CSS Editor Pro functionality. It is able to tell you all the details you need to ensure correct, error-free code.
Sky CSS Tool
Sky CSS Tool is a neat online app that lets you create and define CSS rules in a helpful visual manner. The point-and-click nature of this tool makes it easy for beginners to write their own CSS without knowing much code.
CSS Fly is a bare-bones tool for editing HTML and CSS easily, directly, and in real-time in your browser. It’s great for when you don’t need all the bells and whistles of an IDE or full-featured code editor.
Final thoughts on choosing a CSS editor out of these
In conclusion, choosing your CSS editor depends on several different factors. Most importantly, you should select the editor that has all the features you need, and little else.
Web design is a massive field, and not all the tools listed above will be applicable to your specific workflow or project requirements. Take the time to shortlist the ones you are interested in, and then narrow down your selection based on a test or trial of each.
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If you enjoyed reading this article on CSS editor, you should check out this one about CSS text glow effects.