Mac text editor -- a really easy question

I assume that Mac computers come bundled “out of the box” with some form of text editor along the lines of Notepad in PCs. What is this piece of software called, and where in the directory tree is it generally located? I will soon be teaching short tutorials which will require the use of a text editor, and not everyone will be using a PC, and probably few of them will have had any prior experience with the text editor.


The Mac text editor is called, oddly enough, “TextEdit”. Its home is the Applications folder on the hard drive.

It’s called “TextEdit” and it is found (goes and looks) here - open Finder, open Applications, and TextEdit should be in your list. I always keep TextEdit on my dock.


It’s called Pages and can be found through Finder under Applications.

ETA: This is if they have iWork installed - otherwise, yes, it’s TextEdit.

Does Pages work as a text editor? I guess even Word has “Save As… Text” but it’s not quite the same.

If you like real text editors, I think emacs, vi, vim, and pico are all available from the terminal interface.

If people are going to be doing much work with plain text, I would strongly recommend TextWrangler, which is freeware.

But TextEdit will do the job and is automatically installed in any version of OS X.

Also, there are multiple OSX GUI emacs versions. Including at least the last two major versions of the “official” tree.

Thanks all. It’s just a brief, down n dirty lesson on how to edit an HTML file (and few, if any, will have access to a WYSIWYG editor), so all I need is what the student already has handy on their system.

Actually, the Mac is full of text editors. There’s Emacs, VIM, Pico, and of course, TextEdit.

TextEdit is the graphical one and is available from the Applications folder. However, if you’re a developer, you’ll probably prefer VIM or EMACS. I don’t know anyone who still uses Pico.

Word 'o Warning: TextEdit will save your files in RTF by default. This is not pure text, but contains some file formatting. If you need a pure text file, choose “Make Plain Text” under the Format menu.

Another Word 'o Warning: TextEdit saves plain text files with UNIX line endings and not Windows line endings. If you open a file on a Windows machine using Notepad, it won’t have the line breaks.

They still didn’t fix this in Windows Vista/7? Wordpad for XP handles it properly, so I assumed they hadn’t implemented it into Notepad yet. If you’re worried about the difference between a newline and a carriage return, you probably should be using a hex editor.

Good thing none of this matters when writing HTML.