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5 things to look for in the best rich text editors

Ben Long

November 28th, 2019

Written by

Ben Long
Ben Long

Artwork by

Lex van Tol

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Choosing the best rich text editor for your needs can be difficult when there’s a growing list of alternatives out there. You want to make sure you’ve considered all the options, that you know what the best ones can do for you, and that you end up making the right decision.

So here’s our high-level take on some of the features and functionality that the best rich text editors provide.

1. The basics

Firstly, you want the ability to configure the toolbars and menus, showing and hiding the particular options available to your users, to suit the requirements of your application. And don’t assume every editor gets the basic functions right. Even formatting options (such as bold, italic, text alignment, lists, and font size and color) can be frustrating to use when they’re not implemented in the expected fashion. Test them for yourself to be sure.

TinyMCE header, configured with several options for users.

2. Media integration

Considering approximately 65% of people are visual learners, you want the ability to accompany your text with media such as logos, photographs, infographics, and screenshots to make your content more engaging and helpful for your audience.

TinyMCE editor with company logo inserted.

3. Tables

Tables can be a useful way to organise and present your information (although, not all editors support them). You want to make sure you have easy options to insert tables and configure a range of properties such as borders, dimensions, and colors.

TinyMCE with table inserted, and options showing on table selection.

4. Advanced features

The basics are fine, but we’re always looking for more ways to increase the quality and efficiency of our work. The more advanced rich text editors will provide additional functionality to help you make your content the absolute best it can be; for example, spell checking, web accessibility checking, and collaboration tools.

TinyMCE with accessibility checking running.

5. Seamless WYSIWYG interface

A modern interface that allows you to see what your content looks like while you edit, while generating clean, corresponding markup under the hood. The markup language used behind the scenes should be one with a defined syntax that is open, universally accepted, and easily integrated with your apps. And you should be able to view the source and edit it when necessary (for power users and custom code).

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

What next?

So there you have it - five things for you to consider when choosing the best rich text editor for your needs.

But this is by no means an exhaustive list. We have a lot more to say on this topic (as you’d imagine). Stay tuned for our next post about 10 things to look for in the best WYSIWYG HTML editors, in which we’ll take a closer look at some of the more advanced features you should expect from your editor.

In the meantime, check out the premium plugins that are providing our users with the best authoring experience around.

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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