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How Do I Choose the Best Open Source Text Editor?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2016
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To choose the best open source text editor, you should consider the types of features and functions you want from such a program and any additional support or plugins that have been developed for the software. If you want a text editor for writing computer code and programming, for example, then you should look for a program that includes features like syntax highlighting and a graphical user interface (GUI) that can make such programming easier. You might also look for an open source text editor that runs on whatever operating system (OS) you use and has community support to make it as powerful as possible.

An open source text editor is a program used to open plain text files, view the contents of those files, and make changes to them. Such programs can be used simply to open and read plain text files, such as those used by some writers. An open source text editor can also be used by computer programmers for creating code and programming software. Open source software is developed under a general use or public license that typically releases any copyright ownership over the software and allows others to use and modify the software in any way they choose.

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You should typically consider the uses you might have for an open source text editor before choosing one. If you simply want to write or create text in this type of editor, then there are a number of different programs that can facilitate this need. For more complex uses of an open source text editor, such as creating code and programming, you might look for software that includes tools that can better facilitate such needs. Some programs include automatic syntax highlighting that changes the color of different types of coding to make it easier for you to find while programming, as well as other features like a user-friendly GUI and text wrapping that can make it easier for you to navigate and read through lines of code.

Regardless of why you want an open source text editor, you might also consider the community that exists for a program before choosing it. Open source software often has a number of developers and programmers who support the software and develop new plugins or other applications to use with the program. Therefore, the community to support a program can impact what types of additional features might be available for the software. Any open source text editor you choose should also be fully functional with your OS and other software and hardware you use.

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