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What’s the difference between a text editor and a rich text editor?

Team Tiny

June 17th, 2021

2 min read

Written by

Team Tiny


World of WYSIWYG


At times, tech jargon can be confusing. Especially when there are only minor differences in the words used. However, in the case of editors, just one word makes all the difference…

Text editor software helps you edit text. It provides basic functionality, like being able to identify keyboard input when a user clicks on the text area and starts typing. 

By contrast, a rich text editor can be integrated into a website (or other web application) and reduces the amount of time and effort it takes to build a page.

More advanced editors are considered “WYSIWYG” (pronounced “wiz-ee-wig”), which stands for What You See Is What You Get. These advanced rich text editors preview how the page will look when it’s live in a web browser. Some rich text editors even show you a split-screen that displays both a code and WYSIWYG view of your content.

Which is better – text editors or WYSIWYG?

There are pros and cons for both types of editor. By using a rich text editor, you can accelerate the speed of your writing (and content creation in general), in a web application since a WYSIWYG style editor shows you what your web page will look like. 

The best advice is to know both your immediate needs and plans for the future. Then take your time reviewing the various solutions available, because each one has different features and capabilities. 

Choosing the editor that’s a good match for your application and use case, is the best solution. Also, consider that even if you don’t use a feature right now, it’s better to get the most fully-featured, advanced rich text editor you can afford so that you have features to support your future growth plans.

Choosing an editor with code capability

If you need to include HTML and CSS in your text editing process, a basic text editor can handle the text entry, but not necessarily the finished code. Basic text editors don’t support more than the text entry. So, think about selecting an advanced text editor if you plan to write and publish code otherwise it will be a pain to switch between editing and display applications.

Rich text editors provide a powerful solution

Compared to a basic text editor, the extent of time-saving and productivity-enhancing benefits you’ll experience with rich text editors is well worth the extra investment. TinyMCE provides a great solution for content managers and authors, by offering advanced tools like: 

  • spell check as you type
  • thesaurus and hyperlink checking
  • a built-in image editor
  • commenting
  • built-in source code editor (with syntax highlighting)
  • clean content import
  • accessibility checking.

Our support team is ready to help you decide on the right rich text editor solution for you. Contact us, or try out TinyMCE for yourself with a free API key.

byTeam Tiny

Powering more than 40% of the world’s websites. Here to educate and empower the world through all things TinyMCE and more.

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