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Illustration of person peering through binoculars at the reader. by Francisco Andriani

10 things to look for in the best WYSIWYG HTML editors

Ben Long

December 18th, 2019

Written by

Ben Long
Ben Long

Artwork by

Francisco Andriani

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Following on from our previous post about 5 things to look for in the best rich text editors, here are ten more things to look for when choosing the best WYSIWYG HTML editor for your needs.

1. Easy integration with your projects

Your chosen editor needs to integrate seamlessly into your website or app. So you want to make sure that it can be added with minimal effort with the particular front-end frameworks you’re using. The best editors can integrate effortlessly with a variety of front-end frameworks and platforms. Furthermore, any integration required, by a wrapper, for example, will ideally be provided for you, saving you more time and effort in getting it up and running in your environment.

2. Seamless markup integration

The editor should be coupled with clean, well-structured markup (e.g., HTML) under the hood. You shouldn’t have to go into the source code and fix incorrect or unnecessary code introduced as a result of poor integration. You want the output to be ready to use in your applications with no (or minimal) post-processing. But, at the same time, there should be an editable source code view for power users and custom code.

Editable source code view in TinyMCE, displaying the underlying HTML.

3. Predictable editing experience

The default editing experience should operate based on the most common and current trends. We are already used to the way common authoring tools work, for example, Microsoft Word and Google Docs. Your users shouldn’t be frustrated by behaviors that are different from those they expect. For example, shortcuts, icons, and dialogs should look and feel much like what we’re used to. And what should happen when you press enter in a list? What about when you press it again?

4. UI customization

You need the ability to customize the look and feel of the editor. The best editors come with a range of skins and icon packs that you can choose from. And you want to make sure that the content your users are creating is consistent and on brand. For example, you might decide that you don’t want users to underline words or phrases unless they are links. Or you might want to provide a certain set of colors on the color palette. So you want to be able to customize the options available to users.

The TinyMCE WYSIWYG HTML editor with customized skin, icons, and color palette.

5. Advanced paste options

When creating content, we often paste information from multiple existing resources - word processors, spreadsheets, websites, internal wikis, for example. But when we do this, the resulting content usually doesn’t match our desired style - the fonts are different, images go missing, and the formatting is not the same as the original source. This means that you have to go through and reformat everything yourself by hand, often manually editing the HTML to remove unnecessary markup. Advanced pasting functionality enables you to paste from myriad sources, clearing unwanted styles, while keeping the formatting you need.

TinyMCE with 700 rows of table data pasted from an XLSX spreadsheet file.

6. Editing modes

Some people prefer not to have their authoring workspace cluttered by formatting options. The best editors also provide inline and distraction free modes so formatting options appear only when required and depending on the context. You also want to offer your users the ability to operate the editor in full screen mode if needed.

The TinyMCE WYSIWYG HTML editor operating in distraction free mode.

7. Web accessibility

The best WYSIWYG HTML editors provide content authors with accessibility checking tools based on well-defined standards such as WCAG and Section 508. And the same level of rigor should be applied to the editors themselves to ensure that the authoring experience is accessible too.

TinyMCE with accessibility checking running.

8. Collaboration tools

Writing has changed. What used to be a solitary endeavor can now be a collaborative experience. From colleagues working real-time within the same office, to contractors on the other side of the world adding comments asynchronously to your next big idea. Whatever the workflow, collaboration tools are now an expected part of the content creation experience.

The TinyMCE WYSIWYG HTML editor displaying the Comments plugin.

9. Enterprise-level spell checking

The most advanced spell checkers are multilingual, and allow you to specify an array of words to add, or ignore, as part of building a custom dictionary. And the customized dictionary needs to be available globally across your organization, no matter which browser is used.

TinyMCE editor with several languages displayed under the Spellcheck Language menu.

10. Extensibility

Sometimes your business requirements can be quite unique, and you need the freedom and flexibility to innovate. You should be able to view the editor’s source code and develop your own extensions for custom functionality to meet your requirements. And, preferably, an API will be exposed to make it easier for you to write custom functionality that fits within the existing framework.

What next?

So that’s another ten things for you to consider when choosing the best editor for your needs.

It should be no surprise that the TinyMCE WYSIWYG HTML editor provides all of this functionality, with years of experience behind us, and loads of innovation ahead.

Try the live demo and check out the premium plugins that are helping our users take their editing experience to the next level.

Contact us anytime for a chat with one of our experienced consultants.

TinyMCE
Ben Long
byBen Long

Developer Advocate at Tiny. Computer scientist turned storyteller. Reminisces about programming on the MicroBee. Writes picture books for kids. Also the wearer of rad shoes. “Science isn’t finished until you share the story.”

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