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My text editors

Ben asks What are your text editors of choice?

Although I’m lucky enough to spend a decent chunk of my working life writing and forming text, and I’ve been plugging away at this blog for more than 14 years, I haven’t actually thought that much about what I use to write. It was Atom for nearly everything for a while, but that’s changed recently. You don’t spend time on the indieweb without being exposed to hundreds of different text editing apps.

So, here goes:


Typora has been my Markdown editor for three years. I dabbled with IA Writer for a bit, but I prefer Typora’s configurability, especially how you can change its appearance with CSS. It’s also better at rendering Markdown as you write, handling code blocks, tables and constructs like anchors within headings perfectly.


Good for shopping lists. I did use it for meeting notes for a while, but I have to use Windows since moving jobs a month or so ago.


A new entrant. I tend not to like apps that purport to do everything, and I don’t keep notes in preparation for blog posts. No outboard brain here. However, I do like Notion. It’s well designed and I’ve made use of its task board (which works like Trello), and drafted three versions of my last blog post in it. Whether I keep using it, I doubt, but we shall see.


Along with Typora, this is my favourite app. It’s an outliner, something I didn’t even realise existed until I read Baldur’s post The different kinds of notes. This also made me realise I like outlining, using it to plan longer work documents, a few blog posts and, most of all, meetings. Outlining is a form of control and Bike is fucking brilliant at it. Very simple, very fast and very reliable for doing a very specific job. Lovely simple website, too.

Sublime Text

My code editor of choice. I’m not sure why I like Sublime Text, but I do. It’s reliable, customisable and behaves well when it comes to things like auto-closing HTML tags. It also handles tabs and multiple open projects well.

Google Docs

Quite a few agencies use Google Docs for collaborating. It’s OK 🤷‍♀️.


Alas, I have to use Windows at work, and Notepad does as a scratchpad and text sanitiser. For some reason, it seems to indent 16 characters, which is disappointing considering I ask so little from it.


Even more alas, I spend too much of my life in Word. It’s fine as long as i) you don’t try to layout images with it and ii) you stick to its inbuilt styles.

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FromScratch rocks as a true scratchpad - you don’t even have to save the file!

Notepad++ is solid and a good, free, more capable replacement of Windows Notepad.

Typora: I agree; the best Markdown editor I have found. Sublime Text is still sublime for HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and pretty much anything else. Word is infuriating but necessary - because everyone else uses it! (Creating custom templates and styles is frustrating and often thoroughly unintuitive, requiring you to do things you would never work out for yourself… thank heavens for internet search.)



We do actually have Notepad++ at work, but I don’t get to do any coding. I don’t even get to install anything on my work laptop :-(


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@leonp I didn’t know about bike. Gonna have to check it out. I’ve been using WorkFlowy + iAWriter.