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What do you use to write your CSS?

Published by Chris Coyier

I promise I won't go poll crazy, but since we had so much fun with the CSS Skill Level poll I thought I'd open up a new one. This one asks for your CSS editor of choice.


If I have omitted anything major, let me know quick and I'll add it to the poll before too many responses come in. Cast your vote in the sidebar. Sorry (again) for RSS readers, you'll have to make the jump to vote.


  1. Permalink to comment#

    My editor of choice is text mate…

    All the best, Oli

    (graphic designer and web developer from germany…)

  2. jon
    Permalink to comment#


  3. On Windows I use Notepad++ or Microsoft Web Expression.

    On OSX I use BBedit or Textmate.

  4. Mostly e-text editor but sometimes Dreamweaver

  5. Daryn Haynes
    Permalink to comment#

    I use a combination of Dreamweaver and the Web Developer extension for Firefox.

  6. Permalink to comment#

    I used to use Dreamweaver only, for the syntax highlighting and autocomplete, but lately I’ve switched to Notepad++. Like Daryn, I also use the web developer toolbar for firefox, and the web developer toolbar for IE. I also use the Aardvark plugin for Firefox too, it’s not really a CSS editor, but you can use it to highlight different blocks and see if you forgot to close any tags, etc.

  7. Alex
    Permalink to comment#

    By “highlighting” do you mean syntax coloring? VIM? I can’t be the only one…

  8. Permalink to comment#

    i use notepad++ and recently FreeCssToolbox

  9. intype!

  10. Permalink to comment#

    Dreamweaver is easy to use especially when doing coding for all other documents within the same pane. Trying to keep it simple.

  11. TextMate and occasionally CSSEdit

  12. Permalink to comment#

    CSSEdit rules.

    I use Coda for writing my (X)HTML, but I always thought CSSEdit was a bit nicer to use for the CSS end. Saving milestones to turn back the code to previous versions, built in validation, and a nice DOM inspector make it nice. (albeit, CODA has a few of those things).

  13. Permalink to comment#

    I use VI.

    OK, yes, I know. Old habits are hard to kill.

    I have started using Bluefish more, but I just cannot seem to break away from VI.

  14. Notepad always has and always will be the best for me. So much control over what you do.

    Nowadays I use Programmer’s Notepad, however, but only because it has tabs. So you can work on many files in the same place. I use it with Autocomplete turned off, and CSS doesn’t even have syntax highlighting.

  15. I use Notepad++ for the most part. But I also use Dreamweaver, once in a while, for it’s autocomplete functionality. I also use Firebug for figuring out what’s wrong in my page, in real time.

    I’ll have to check out FreeCssToolbox.

  16. I forgot NVU!

  17. … and PSPad and AlleyCode

  18. If I start a design I use TopStyle because I can have IE and Firefox preview and the when It’s time to code I use e – Text Editor even for CSS, TopStyle it’s only to start.

  19. Dan Wroblewski
    Permalink to comment#

    I use Coda… since I use it for my HTML writing, I find it easier to stay within the same program to work on my CSS as well. I just use the text editing functionality for my CSS because I find the WYSIWYG CSS editor in Coda confusing… maybe it’s just me.

  20. Micecreations
    Permalink to comment#

    On Windows : Notepad++
    On Linux : Nedit
    On Mac : CSSEdit

    but i think i will try Coda soonly ;)

  21. Kyle Kinnaman
    Permalink to comment#

    Homesite… really. I’m usually editing js or html at the same time so why open another editor?

  22. chris Jangelov
    Permalink to comment#

    Top Style. I do the xhtml-coding in Top Style too.

  23. John Schires
    Permalink to comment#

    UltraEdit for everything

  24. Permalink to comment#

    I write out all of my CSS in hex using pen and paper (in the dark of course!), then transfer to punch cards.

    Seriously though, I used to use Textmate and then switched to CSS Edit a few months ago. Both are great options, but I really like the live-preview features of CSS Edit–enough to ditch the tight transmit integration and ability to handle multiple levels of tabbing that TM affords me.

    I’ll use vim or pico if i’m making a quick-fix and I’m already SSH’d into my server, but beyond that I think that anybody still using notepad and the like should consider the immense productivity boost that tailor-made products can give you.

  25. Notepad++

  26. Permalink to comment#

    im a Coda guy. I really dig codas features.

  27. Jesse
    Permalink to comment#

    Dreamweaver w/ Firebug in FF.

  28. I use dreamweaver but I do all my coding by hand. I use dreamweaver bc of the color coding, the customizing of colors and so that i can see the updates to my page in dreamweaver. I like using the files menu and having all my sites organized that way. helps do any updates, image changes and cuts down on trouble shooting later. plus the browser compatibility test takes the cake.

  29. CSSEdit, I really really love it.

    I tried to get into Coda for CSS, but CSSEdit just kicks ass so much.

  30. Permalink to comment#

    I like to have one editor for everything.
    That’s just one reason why I use Textmate for CSS, too.
    Greets, Ingo

  31. Permalink to comment#

    E – Texteditor and Intype

  32. WanitaT
    Permalink to comment#

    Dreamweaver all the way. I hand code only and it handles all files well (.aspx, .asp, .php, .html, .txt, .ini, etc.), color codes, autofills and can be customized to exactly the way I want. Bonus – saves to hard drive and ftp simultaneously and checks to see which is more current so you don’t accidentally overwrite your work. One beautiful program that multi-tasks like a pro.

  33. Valamas
    Permalink to comment#

    Microsoft Visual Studio 2008

  34. Visual Studio 2005/2008 — surprising awesome. I’ve used a lot listed above, but I alway come back to VS. It’s very fast, has great intellisense and does solid formatting.

  35. Permalink to comment#

    I started with Dreamweaver (which I sometimes still use at home); then switched to Expression Web when I began work as a Web Designer. I sometimes use Notepad too, if it’s a single file.

  36. For CSS editing only, CSS Edit is the way to go. The live preview, tabs, and auto-complete save me so much time.

  37. Permalink to comment#

    always NotePad :)

  38. NotePad standard all the way!

  39. Permalink to comment#

    I use CSSEdit and Textmate in combination with ZopeEditManager for live editing on our CMS.

  40. I use HTMLKit with integrated Top Style Lite.

  41. webmack
    Permalink to comment#

    homesite and firebug

  42. Michel
    Permalink to comment#

    I use Top Style Lite and Notepad++

  43. Permalink to comment#

    I love my Notepad++. I work for a professional web development company, and all I use is Notepad++.

    Really, the only reason I love it so much is because there isn’t any bullshit. The interface is clean, there’s no distractions, the syntax highlighting works as you would expect it to, and it’s lightning fast.

  44. Permalink to comment#


  45. Aptana, Dreamweaver, Notepad…….

  46. Permalink to comment#

    Textmate and Firebug, no question!

  47. Permalink to comment#

    I use Coda for my CSS-Stuff

  48. Permalink to comment#

    Notepad / EditPad Lite

  49. Permalink to comment#

    Textmate of course.

  50. Normal Notepad!!!

    Will one day move over to Notepad ++ but at moment I like no hassle and ability to control everything myself :)

  51. Taqin
    Permalink to comment#

    CODA !! It rocks..

    PS: If only they had a function to display “Live Changes” (when we save) on different browser views. So that we can code and preview seamlessly…

  52. (Windows) I used to use Topstyle, but now use Notepad++. As I develop some sites using WordPress, I’ll also occasionally tweak a style sheet using the built-in theme editor.

  53. grzybu
    Permalink to comment#

    mostly Textmate

  54. Permalink to comment#

    aptana or notepad++

  55. Sascha
    Permalink to comment#

    WeBuilder 2007 (great Code-Editor!!), Firebug and Webdeveloper in Firefox

  56. Kevin
    Permalink to comment#

    Dreamweaver, but in the Code View makes it faster to type in a few characters and then enter, move on to the next.

  57. ksienrzyc
    Permalink to comment#

    Aptana and PSPad

  58. Permalink to comment#

    I always use Dreamweaver. (html, css, php, js) I like the color highlightning.

  59. Rob
    Permalink to comment#

    I Use TopStyle

  60. Permalink to comment#

    I use Komodo IDE, earlier used Aptana.

  61. Permalink to comment#

    I use GoLive from Adobe. It is far superior to any other CSS-editor I’ve ever tried, with full preview and pre-written syntax. Tried Coda and think it has potential, but lacks autocompletion and other stuff that makes your work faster and more acurate…

  62. I use EmEditor, it is a no-nonsense tekst-editor with code-highlighting for a lot of different languages.

  63. Rajko
    Permalink to comment#

    i use UltraEdit for CSS, xHTML, PHP,XML and XSLT.

  64. Permalink to comment#

    Dreamweaver, again because of the code colouring, and also because of the auto complete – I haven’t had to manually close a tag for ages :-)

  65. Anders
    Permalink to comment#

    I use Komodo Edit for xHTML and CSS

  66. Romz
    Permalink to comment#

    On Windows : Notepad++

  67. Simon
    Permalink to comment#

    CSS edit, the best by far :)

  68. Adam
    Permalink to comment#

    Dreamweaver, Intype, Visual Studio .Net 2005 (for projects)

  69. Permalink to comment#

    Notepade & Adobe/Macromedia Homesite

  70. Joe
    Permalink to comment#

    Either Notepad 2 or Microsoft Expression Web

  71. Permalink to comment#

    1. TopStyle 2. Aptana 3. Notepad++

  72. Permalink to comment#

    Notepad++, Dreamweaver

  73. Permalink to comment#

    Notepad++ on Win, gedit on Linux.

  74. Permalink to comment#

    PSPad on Win.

  75. I like Rapid CSS and use it along with Dreamweaver

  76. Permalink to comment#

    I’m a hand coder in Dreamweaver (maybe with a couple of clicks on the auto-complete dropdowns!)

    I’ve not used any of the other packages, so I’ve no ideas on pros and cons but having all my files open in one software package makes things simple.


  77. I use a combination of Dreamweaver and Aptana.

  78. Dylan
    Permalink to comment#

    I used to use Dreamweaver, but moved over to Aptana, its just a much cleaner environment, and of course along with an assortment of FF extensions.

  79. Skedit.

  80. I use Dreamweaver

  81. camilo vitorino da costa
    Permalink to comment#

    I use E-TextEditor (similar to TextMate from Mac)
    I cant use anything else.

  82. Sean
    Permalink to comment#

    I use Notepad++ and Microsoft Expressions

  83. Paul
    Permalink to comment#


    Other wise anything from VI to Notepad to TextWrangler to PSPad to GEdit…whatever text editor I have around.

  84. PoV
    Permalink to comment#

    I use…

    * TopStyle Lite
    – Great syntax highlighting, built-in preview, supports 3rd party intergration, nothing useless.

    * Notepad++
    – Nice syntax highlighting (customizable).

    TS Lite is my primary CSS-editor. Notepad++ is for everything else.

    PS. I am just a learner.

  85. Permalink to comment#

    on PC: TopStyle Pro
    on Mac: Coda

    I hace used Aptana, but it works slow.

  86. UltraEdit, nuf said!

  87. Permalink to comment#

    On Windows XP, I’m using Notepad++ (sometimes TopStyle)
    And on Linux, I use Geany

  88. Michael
    Permalink to comment#

    Komodo! Use Dreamweaver at work (all the sites managed in it), but komodo at home. Its really been growing on me.

  89. quanta almost all the time, or for fast opening krusader’s embeded editor, sometimes mc :)

  90. Brendan
    Permalink to comment#

    I like Notepad++ and jEdit

  91. Permalink to comment#

    skedit is do bomb !

  92. Permalink to comment#

    Textmate (for quick edits)
    CSSEdit (for fun)
    Dreamweaver (for development)

  93. L3n1N
    Permalink to comment#

    Check it out E-Texteditor (for all ye windows users) it rocks!

  94. Permalink to comment#

    I just started a new job and we use Vim–what a learning curve. I use Dreamweaver at home, though.

  95. Dhruv Govil
    Permalink to comment#

    I use dreamweaver because thats what I have on windows, but on a side note, isn’t it sad how the CS3 icon looks so ugly next to the others?

  96. Stephen Bunt
    Permalink to comment#

    EditPlus; been using it for years. Tried many others (including most of those mentioned above, such as Notepad++ UltraEdit) but always keep coming back.

  97. Permalink to comment#

    Topstyle for CSS/XHTML/ASP/XSL

    firebug/webdeveloper toolbar for tweaking

    VS for .Net

  98. Permalink to comment#


  99. Permalink to comment#

    AceHTML Pro

  100. InType here.

  101. Permalink to comment#

    mainly Coda – coupled with CSSEdit at times

  102. Permalink to comment#

    FireBug with Coda.. I like Coda for the built in Transmit. I like CSSedit too for the wysiwyg. Sometimes I catch my self using Coda and CSSedit… But I always have FireBug on.

  103. I hand code into Dreamweaver (I just like the layout of the program), and debug with FireBug.

  104. Permalink to comment#

    Notepad++ :)

  105. TopStyle Pro!!!

  106. I’ll second the Editplus comment. I’ve used it now for about 4 or 5 years and it’s excellent. Lightweight, fast, supports RegEX, and the underlying files are user editable.

  107. WOW.

    Thanks everyone very much for participating in this. The number of responses blows me away. I’ll be compiling of this information and sharing soon.

    For the record, I’m about 80% Coda (I’m all about going commando), 19% TextMate (I actually prefer TextMate above all else), and 1% Dreamweaver (Once and a while I use some really specific feature I know it does a good job with).

    I have used pretty much all these tools at one time or another – either through testing or just using it for a while to get a feel for it. Some of the things people have mentioned I’ve never heard of though, especially the obscure windows ones.

  108. Jseen
    Permalink to comment#

    It’s the best.

  109. Gemma
    Permalink to comment#

    Coda or Dreamweaver on a mac depending on the project. On a pc I use notepad.

    I use the Web Developer and Firebug plugins on FF and Xylescope for cascade highlighting, etc.


  110. Permalink to comment#

    Notpad until now but after reading all these responses, I will be test-driving some others starting with Notepad++.

    Looking forward to the compiled results.

  111. Jonathon
    Permalink to comment#

    Coda & BBedit on Mac
    PSPad on PC

    sheesh your comment entry is very borked in netnewswire

  112. Permalink to comment#

    Coda or gEdit in linux

  113. anon
    Permalink to comment#

    Don’t forget kate/kwrite.

  114. notuo
    Permalink to comment#

    Rapidphp (webuilder, rapidcss, rapidphp are just variants)

    Great product

  115. Permalink to comment#

    Since I met Coda and CSSEdit, I don’t need annything else.
    Coda for complete sites and rough styling, CSSEdit for CSS only, templating and retocuhing.

  116. Dreamweaver

  117. Kreskin
    Permalink to comment#

    I use telepathy.

  118. Wordpad

  119. dreamweaver and nothing but dreamweaver so help me god :D

  120. Isaac Seymour
    Permalink to comment#

    Dreamweaver. What else?

  121. Permalink to comment#

    I use Aptana and used to use Dreamweaver

  122. Permalink to comment#

    Aptana studio (because its free and almost as good as dreamweaver) at work, dreamweaver at home (i get free licences for personal use :) ).

  123. Permalink to comment#

    I use intype!

  124. Permalink to comment#

    Win – Webuilder, Top Style, EmEditor.
    Linux – BlueFish, gedit.
    MacOS – I don’t use it )

  125. corsa
    Permalink to comment#

    TextMate + Transmit + Terminal. Also, just got CSSEdit as part of MacHeist II, so I will give that a whirl too.

    I tried and really liked Coda, but already purchased TextMate & Transmit so couldn’t justify spending more money just to have all that functionality in one app. I’m keeping an eye on it though.

  126. Firebug…. ok well that and the Aptana plugin in Eclipse when needed.

  127. Permalink to comment#

    I always use plain oldé Notepad. (Which is what I use for HTML, PHP, CSS, etc…)

  128. Dale…

    You’re doing yourself an AMAZING disservice by using Notepad. Notepad offers NOTHING in the way of productiving improvements such as line numbering, syntax highlighting, autocomplete, etc.

    HTMLKit is free, Eclipse (and Aptana) is free, there are many other free, or cheap editors out there. Do yourself a favor and try one of them.

    I’d have to say that you can’t be a professional and use Notepad as your primary editor. Note that there’s nothing wrong with using Notepad occasionally, or when nothing else is available, but seriously…

  129. Permalink to comment#

    I have to partly disagree – notepad is very useful for quick editing on a Windows desktop/server. You can easily find lines by using ctrl+g and autocomplete can become an annoyance. Sevel HTML editors chuck in un-needed code too. The only thing missing is syntax highlighting as you mention.

  130. You’re actually arguing that the “only thing missing” from Notepad is “syntax highlighting”? That’s amusing. As I mentioned, there are times for using Notepad, quick edits directly on the server would be one of those times, as would editing code on another user’s machine in a pinch. However Notepad is nothing more than an utterly basic tool. If you’re really wanting to see what it’s missing:

    Find & replace
    Regex support
    Syntax highlighting
    Project Management
    Split windows
    Tabbed interface (mutiple files open within one window instance)

    Do I need to continue? I said it before…Notepad is good for very basic editing, or emergency situations. But to use it as your primary editor is just foolish.

  131. Ray
    Permalink to comment#

    I use Dreamweaver CS3.

  132. Permalink to comment#

    VIM – for almost everything; I find it very rewarding to code from scratch and often gives me the feeling of writing [not so] great poetry/prose.

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