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Free Text Only Editors for Templates, PHP, HTML, CSS, and More

Over and over again on the WordPress Support Forum and WordPress Codex, I and other volunteers keep saying “Use a TEXT ONLY editor to edit your files.”

A is one that only works with raw text. But what does that really mean?

When you are working with Word, WordPerfect, or any word processing program, the program does the “thinking” for you and automatically converts “quote marks” into curly cute character codes. On the screen they look like quote marks, but underneath in the code, they are actually character codes or character entities. The quote mark actually looks like & #34; and the apostrophe looks like & #39;. Quote marks, apostrophes, and ampersands, among other characters, are a critical part of HTML, PHP, and other programming code. If you write programming code in a word processor and save or copy it over to the actual file, those character codes may come with it, causing all kinds of errors.

So we recommend that you do your code work on WordPress Themes, template files, PHP, HTML, and CSS in a text only editor to prevent such character conversions.

Some of the following free text editors include spell checking. Some don’t. It depends upon what you are looking for.

For me, the “perfect” text editor includes spell check, search and replace, multiple line search and replace, and programming code recognitioin (colorizes programming code commands). You’ll have to pour through the lists here to see which ones will meet your needs and then take them for a test drive.

Even though many of these are open source and free, please consider donating the cause if you really like the program to help continue the motivation for upgrading and developing the program.

Here are a list of free or shareware text editors lists. May of these lists include reviews, features, and commentaries on the different text editors to help you choose.


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  1. [...] Open theloop.php in a text editor. Notepad++ is a good, free one, but there are others; choose one that is able to show you the line numbers, it’ll make things easier for you [...]

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  6. [...] will need a text editor and the footer PHP file of your WordPress Theme. Make a backup copy, and copies along the way, just [...]

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  8. [...] all times when working with code, use a text editor not a word processor so the quote marks, apostrophes, and other code will not be automatically [...]

  9. [...] by opening a text editor (not word processor – NoteTab Pro, TextMate, or other text editor) and copy and paste every static HTML page you wish to import into [...]

  10. [...] by opening a text editor (not word processor – NoteTab Pro, TextMate, or other text editor) and copy and paste every static HTML page you wish to import into [...]

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  12. […] copy the digg link from the “More…” link for each dugg post and pasted it into a text editor, creating a list of links to my dugg […]

  13. […] learn how to do it manually, you will need a text editor and to read Writing Code in Your Posts in the WordPress Codex for full version blogs or Signatures […]

  14. […] a text editor, you can manually search and replace character codes into something browsers will reproduce […]

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