Landing : Athabascau University

In search of open and free PC HTML editor


An editor at AU wants to make corrections to an HTML file content without destroying the original document structure such as hidden syntax, including hard and soft returns.

The existing software options are to stay with Arachnophilia (, move to commercial products, or find another open/free HTML editor.


Find an application that reveals all hidden codes and preserves the entire structure after modifing the content.  Preferably open-source, user-friendly, stable, and PC Windows 7 compatible.

In Search:

A small experiment was conducted to find out which PC applications could pass the litmus test of the 'solution'.

The following software were installed on a Windows 7 system:

  • Arachnophilia   <>
  • AceHTML   <>
  • CoffeeCup HTML editor   <>
  • Seamonkey Composer   <>
  • KompoZer   <>
  • Amaya   <>
  • Notepad++   <>

The test:

  1. Use an HTML document as the master calibration file
  2. Make a test copy for each of the aforementioned applications
  3. Open the test copy in each of the applications and copy a section out to Windows Notepad
  4. Overwrite the section of copied content (temporarily stored in Windows Notepad) in the test copy with a long paragraph
  5. Save the test copy, close file and reopen
  6. Replace the long paragraph with the original content temporarily stored in Windows Notepad and save the file
  7. Compare the test file with the original master calibration file using the Notepad++ Compare Plugin

Observations and Results:


- Primitive GUI interface
- Does not reveal all hidden code
- Passed document compare test


- Reveals code
- Installs other apps without choice such as Anti-phishing Domain Advisor
- Crippleware (software that perpetually tries to annoy and tease you about features only enabled in the commercial version -
- Passed document compare test

CoffeeCup HTML

- Does not reveal all hidden characters
- Installed files in system folder that was considered an issue on uninstall
- Did not auto line wrapZ
- Passed document compare test

Seamonkey Composer

- Function to preserve original source formatting
- Does not show line numbers
- Failed document compare test


- No line numbers
- Does not reveal all hidden characters
- Failed document compare test


- Old interface
- Failed document compare test


- Reveals all hidden characters
- Easy drag and drop of files into window
- Has useful free plugins
- Passed document compare test


For quick editing of content in HTML documents, Notepad++ is the best solution for PC Windows computers.  Notepad++ is an open-source application that is available as a standalone portable app (, executable, and zip folder.

WinMerge ( could have been used to compare files and test differences, however Notepad++ was used for convenience.

Notepad++ is a very good application that can easily replace Windows Notepad.  If you are stuck using PC Windows computers, then Notepad++ ought to be part or your tool suite.

Illustration: Notepad++ and Web Browser rendered html