How Do I Choose the Best Open Source CSS Editor?

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  • Written By: Page Coleman
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2019
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When choosing an open source cascading style sheet (CSS) editor, consider the operating system your editor will run on. Evaluate the features you consider essential, other web technology languages you write, and language version your editor must support. You might also want to use an open source CSS editor that allows you to collaborate more easily with coworkers.

Not all CSS editors run on all operating systems. Before downloading an editor, check its system requirements to see if you will be able to use it. Not doing so first will cause issues when running the program.

Next, review the features you would like the open source CSS editor to offer. Some useful features include the ability to work with external, internal, and inline style sheets. Color coding makes it easier to visually differentiate code syntax. An autocompletion feature, where you begin typing code and the editor displays options to complete it, can save you a lot of time.

Other useful features include support for absolute, relative, and float positioning. A validator can help you ensure your code will run correctly across most browsers. The ability to work on several documents at once will be helpful for many web designers and developers.


Some open source CSS editors work with other programming languages, such as HTML, XHMTL, Javascript, or PHP. Choosing one that does so can make using your open source software easier and more efficient if you consolidate to one application. Check that the open source CSS editor your are considering supports the version of languages you are using. It can be frustrating if these are out of sync.

If you work with other web designers or developers, you may want their opinions on the best open source CSS editor. If they recommend the one they use, you may wish to use the same application. Using the same editors may make collaborating on documents smoother.

You may decide to support the open source community by helping with open source design and development. In this case, you may find that a particular editor’s development group appeals to you. Using that group’s open source CSS editor may help you as you work to improve it.

At times, people refer to something as open source software when they actually mean free software. When software is open source, the application’s source code can be downloaded and modified, which is generally not the case for non-open source free software. If you aren’t limited to just open source applications, you will have several more free CSS editor options to evaluate.


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