I really love Notepad++ and I haven't found an alternative for it yet. TextMate and TextWrangler aren't quite there yet. Specifically, two things that I want that are not in TextMate:

  • variable highlighting
  • bracket highlighting

Can you suggest an alternative editor for OS X?

  • 6
    Textmate "quite there yet"? Seriously? I suggest you go back and look again ;) Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 7:44
  • Actually I enjoy TextMate much more than Notepad++. Weird!
    – ySgPjx
    Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 9:10
  • 8
    As Matthew is pointing out in his answer, just tell us what you miss in TextMate or TextWrangler that you would like to find in your mac text editor.
    – LudoMC
    Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 9:35
  • TextMate bracket selection can be done when you're in a bracketed section. See this answer.
    – Ian C.
    Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 14:02
  • The other feature isn't "variable highlighting" it's "show all matches for current selection". Outside of the Find All box I don't think there's a way to do this in TextMate.
    – Ian C.
    Commented Mar 24, 2011 at 14:03

8 Answers 8


I've recently started using Atom - it's modern, lightweight, and does a metric buttload of different things.


It's not clear from your question what exactly you're missing -- I use Notepad++ on the PC and find both TextMate and TextWrangler to be reasonable replacements -- but you'll likely appreciate either TextWrangler's big brother BBEdit 9 or, if you can put up with its alpha nature, Sublime Text 2.


Sublime Text 2 seems to be the real powerhouse for people that are not satisfied with the heavy guns of Mac editors:

  • BBEdit is now on version 10 and "still doesn't suck" (you mentioned it's free mini incarnation - TextWrangler)
  • TextMate (either the venerable v.1 or the long unfinished but now open sourced v.2)

Marco Arment did a nice job of rounding up not only the why but some other editors to consider with Chocolat leading the pack behind ST/BB.


You should also take a look at Sublime 2, even if it is stll in public alpha, and Smultron. Smultron also had a Freeware Spin-Off called 'Fraise' which is now discontinued.


One of my former colleagues swears by jEdit - cross-platform, flexible, and friendly.


Editra on Mac is free, open-source, highly configurable and offers bracket highlighting. I don't think it offers variable highlighting however.

All in all, it's my favorite simple text editor and viewer on Mac.


Ive had the same dilemma. I mostly use TextWrangler, but the interface is archaic. You could try Kod, which has tabs and other nicetities.


If you use java(not java script) there is something called eclipse. It has a built in compiler. A Couple tutorial and you will have mastered it!

  • 3
    This is an IDE, not an editor.
    – bot47
    Commented Nov 24, 2011 at 10:45
  • 1
    But you could use Eclipse as an editor, right?
    – myhd
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 11:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .