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The State of Rich Text Editors

2023 Developer Survey Results

Now in its third year, the State of Rich Text Editors (RTE) 2023 Developer Survey is the world's largest study into rich text editors. This report provides valuable insights into the trends and desires of the rich text editing community, as well as commentary on the ever-evolving content landscape, its tools, integrations and key influences. These developer survey results help to shape the daily work and future of developers who are impacted by the rich text editor in their application.

4 key findings

Rich text editors maintain their position as a critical component of platforms and applications, across both internal and commercial products

Over three-quarters (77%) of respondents agree rich text editing is an extremely important component within a product. Contrastingly, the number who believe it’s not important, is almost negligible. This result recognizes that rich text editors have become an essential and ubiquitous component within the majority of platforms, apps and software.

It similarly recognizes that a poor performing or out-of-date and inflexible editor, negatively impacts the performance and user experience of an app. Users are accustomed to easily and quickly formating, structuring and enhancing their content, but without a user-friendly rich text editor, that’s almost impossible.

Read about rich text editor importance

AI is demonstrably shaping the market and engineering expectations of what rich text editors need to offer in the near future

The launch of ChatGPT by OpenAI in November of 2022 demonstrated the remarkable potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and has led to the widespread adoption and democratization of this technology across the tech and media industries. It’s revolutionizing the way text is created and edited, and redefining the possibilities for rich text editors (RTEs).

Users now expect cutting-edge advancements and complete integration with generative Large Language Models (LLMs) that are trained on trillions of words across many natural-language tasks, or with predictive AI, and include advanced features such as AI-driven spelling and grammar checks, intelligent formatting, and enhanced customization.

Read about AI

The fundamentals of performance and security remain of utmost importance for a rich text editor (73% and 70% T2B, respectively)

Three other factors closely follow performance and security as ‘fundamentals’ in rich text editors: easy customization, quick and user-friendly onboarding, and a familiar UI that resembles popular applications like MS Word or Google Docs. Users are looking for an editing experience that’s user-friendly, intuitive and is reminiscent of what they’re accustomed to with major editing platforms.

While it may be challenging for market leaders to keep pace with advances and innovations, it’s a mandatory expectation from within the market, that the best rich text editors closely monitor and adopt critical new features that emerge from other technology giants.

Read about key features

Challenges point to possibilities for rich text editor improvements in the fundamentals

A significant number of participants didn’t report any significant frustrations with their rich text editor. However, the primary sources of frustration for rich text editor users are difficulties with manipulating specific content (particularly media files), along with restricted feature availability, integration with other tools, and widespread issues with cleanly copy-pasting content from external sources.

Users also commonly cite inadequate documentation, lack of autosave functionality, and concerns regarding speed, security and overall stability as issues.

Read about challenges

Statistical validity

This year, 1,100+ professionals completed the 2023 State of Rich Text Editors Developer Survey, delivering a 3% margin of error at a 95% confidence level. The study was completed by 4x as many respondents this year, showing that the survey is growing in popularity, adds value to the community, and that the results can be considered valid generalized guidance on the attitudes, approaches and current trends occurring in the rich text editor market.

What did they say in 2023?

The AI takeover of rich text editing

1.0 Who’s who?

Developers are intrinsic to a rich text editors’ health

2.0 Stacks a-plenty

How have the tech stack and text editor usage stats changed?

3.0 What’s your weapon of choice?

How editors are used and what's being made

4.0 The sticking point

Choices + challenges: are they causing more pain than pleasure?

5.0 Features and future trends

Ai is driving change, but the fundamentals still count

The AI takeover of rich text editing

For decades, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been quietly impacting numerous fields.

But during the 2022-23 year, AI very publicly shook up the content industry, with the field of rich text editing not exempt from the spotlight. In the shadows, AI had increasingly been used to enhance the capabilities of rich text editors (RTEs), to make them more powerful and efficient.

But those were unseen baby steps, with AI’s true power not yet being felt. Until now.

After ChatGPT by OpenAI’s spectacular release in November 2022, AI’s impact was no longer confined to certain technology spaces. It suddenly became an essential extension that enhances productivity and provides innovative solutions for content – including its creation and enhancement.

It's obvious from the results of the 2023 State of Rich Text Editor Developer Survey, that headline after headline on ChatGPT and OpenAI, impacted the survey participants. Generative AI, also known as GenAI or AGI (artificial general intelligence), holds enormous promise for a wide range of industries – healthcare, finance, manufacturing, business, education, media and entertainment – and that no industry or job function will escape its impact. In fact, a 2023 report from Goldman Sachs predicted the technology could boost annual global gross domestic product (GDP) by 7% over the next 10 years.

What’s the future of rich text editing?

On the immediate horizon, market leading rich text editors will focus on making in-editor generative content, suggestions and improvements more easily available. With numerous Large Language Models (LLMs) now available, it’s no longer difficult to efficiently generate human-like responses from the input of textual stimuli or human-created prompts. But an AI-driven in-editor extension integrates the two technologies and easily generates intelligent recommendations for word choice, sentence structure, and overall content improvement, within an already familiar interface.

Additionally, AI-powered collaboration features are streamlining the collaborative process and allowing multiple users to work on the same document simultaneously. Then there’s formatting and layout changes ahead. By analyzing trends, user preferences, and industry standards, AI algorithms can potentially suggest attractive layouts, font selections, and color schemes. This functionality could empower users to create visually stunning and professional-looking documents, even without prior design experience. AI is potentially also playing a crucial role in content discovery and optimization. Rich text editors equipped with AI algorithms could analyze keyword density, readability, and SEO best practices to suggest improvements for higher search engine rankings and increased readership.

These types of AI-powered assistance are likely rich text editor extensions that will quickly augment and amplify the whole creative process of content creation, by balancing automation (the generating) and human creativity (the editing and refining), without replacing it.

That’s where the future of rich text editing lies, and it’s only just getting started.

1.0 Who's who?

Developers are intrinsic to a rich text editors’ health

Rich text editors (RTEs) are an essential part of modern communication and content creation. It’s expected functionality across numerous platforms, including social media and word processing applications, that users can easily format and style text, embed rich media, and format complex layouts. The interplay of these aspects has an impact on delivering an easy-to-use and efficient user experience.

While the simplicity and versatility of rich text editors is appreciated by users, it’s ultimately the tireless work of developers that makes these tools truly exceptional. Developers are not only integral to the initial creation of rich text editors but they also play a crucial role, over time, in maintaining and improving their functionality. It’s their expertise that ensures these tools continuously evolve to meet the demands of our ever-changing digital landscape.

1.1 Who responded?

Around 26% of participants identify as full-stack developers, while another 25% are either front-end or back-end developers. About 40% hold formal developer titles, while the remaining roles, including product managers and executives, are fairly evenly distributed across multiple roles.

This highlights the diverse range of professionals managing rich text editors and indicates that while developers make up a significant proportion of the users, there’s a wide range of other roles who find themselves managing a rich text editor in the course of their work. It’s worth noting that the distribution of these roles has remained consistent year-over-year, with a slightly higher representation of product managers in this year’s sample.

Who Responded

1.2 What gender do you identify as?

Around 26% of participants identify as full-stack developers, while another 25% are either front-end or back-end developers. About 40% hold formal developer titles, while the remaining roles, including product managers and executives, are fairly evenly distributed across multiple roles.

This highlights the diverse range of professionals managing rich text editors and indicates that while developers make up a significant proportion of the users, there’s a wide range of other roles who find themselves managing a rich text editor in the course of their work. It’s worth noting that the distribution of these roles has remained consistent year-over-year, with a slightly higher representation of product managers in this year’s sample.

Gender Identification

1.3 How many years experience do you have in developing with rich text editors?

Among the participants, there’s a notable split with 40% being new to the job (ie.less than 5 years’ professional experience), and 60% being more tenured professionals with at least 6 years’ experience. This distribution has implications for implementation and onboarding, as it may need to be tailored to accommodate information for less experienced professionals, as well as streamlined for more experienced pros.

Additionally, it emphasizes the need for rich text editor providers to maintain both a high level of continuous innovation, plus staying abreast of the latest developer tools, languages, and feature requirements, because the new entrants may bring new or different expectations and needs to the table.

Years of Experience

1.4 What’s your primary purpose for developing or working with a rich text editor?

The vast majority of professionals are primarily managing rich text editors in a work environment, which indicates a significant audience and usage of this technology in the workplace. It suggests that across a variety of industries, many organizations recognize the value and benefits that WYSIWYG editors offer them – especially in enhancing their productivity, workflows and streamlining content creation.

As more companies incorporate these tools into their workflows and upgrade functionalities, rich text editors will inject further efficiencies into businesses – especially where the productivity benefits can be achieved through the use of AI to reduce manual, repetitive tasks.

Primary Purpose or Use

1.5 How often do you manage, update or develop with rich text editors?

A large percentage of professionals are actively engaged with their rich text editor on a regular basis – with approximately 50% managing, updating, or developing with their editor at least once a month. This frequent interaction with the tools contributes to a stronger integration of the rich text editor within their product/application, effectively making it more "sticky’.

On the flip side though, it calls attention to any bugs or issues encountered during daily use, because they’re encountering them so often. These provide development opportunities (either inhouse or by RTE suppliers) for improvements in the user experience. Regardless, the consistent management of rich text editors by both developers and users, highlights their importance as an integral aspect of numerous workflows.

Frequency of Use

1.6 Approximately how many employees does your company employ?

Small to mid-sized businesses appear to be the predominant users of rich text editors, although nearly 20% of companies utilizing them have 500+ employees.

It’s worth noting that according to the U.S. Census, over 99% of employers have fewer than 500 employees. This suggests that while editors offer value and benefits to a wide range of company sizes, there’s a notable emphasis and usage by larger organizations. It’s these larger companies, who also likely employ a sizable development team, who can maintain a rich text editor much more effectively than smaller businesses.

With rich text editors gaining attention from larger companies, it highlights their ability to address complex needs and provide meaningful solutions that meet the requirements of larger operations and technology teams.

Size of Business

2.0 Stacks a-plenty...

How have the tech stack and text editor usage stats changed?

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, technology is constantly shaping the way we communicate and create content. One area that’s seen significant change is the tech stack used by developers and the increasing influence rich text editors wield within that stack. However, both digital transformation and speed-to-market have made the old belief in custom-building all your own technology redundant. Neither budget, nor developer resources, are elastic.

As new technologies continue to emerge and user demands evolve, developers are constantly adapting their tech stack choices and integrating rich text editors in various ways within their applications, to enhance user experiences and content creation processes. This section delves into tech stack preferences and explores if the usage stats of rich text editors have transformed over time. By understanding these changes, valuable insights into the direction of software development and the growing importance of rich text editors in the digital world are uncovered.

2.1 What best describes the application, industry and/or use case that you work on?

Although Content Management Systems (CMS) remain the primary use case for rich text editors, the results reveal a remarkably diverse range of applications for this component. Notably ‘database’ has gained prominence compared to the 2022 results, signifying the increasing significance of data management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), personalization and use of big data.

Of particular note is the presence of AI-related use cases, both in this section and later in the results – likely bolstered by the introduction of ChatGPT in November 2022. This suggests a growing interest in leveraging AI technologies and highlights the expanding possibilities and technology integration opportunities offered by rich text editors, across various industries and domains.

Industry Use Cases

2.2 How would you describe your uses for a rich text editor in the application you work on?

When exploring specific use cases, the data reveals that nearly half the respondents primarily use rich text editors for web publishing. Additionally, approximately 1-in-5 respondents employ rich text editors for document creation/word processing or for internal workspaces/intranets.

These findings provide a clearer picture of how professionals are leveraging rich text editors in their day-to-day tasks, which highlights the significant role they play in web publishing, document creation, and internal collaboration within organizations. 

Types of Uses

2.3 How big is the development/scrum team you work in?

More than half the survey participants belong to scrum teams consisting of 2-10 individuals, which is consistent with the industry norms. Nonetheless, close to a quarter of them are part of larger teams which potentially indicates greater potential for the usage of rich text editor components across an organization. It’s worth noting that slightly more participants in the 2023 survey reported not being a part of a development team.

This non-development team trend could reflect the shift in the wider workforce towards solopreneurship, the gig economy, and self-employed consulting, which accelerated during the pandemic and it may suggest the emergence of possibly new types of professionals that could utilize rich text editors in their development and product innovation endeavors.

Scrum Team Size

2.4 What kind of development work does your team do?

More than half the survey participants are involved in website development, or the creation of commercial software/SaaS products. A smaller number are engaged in open-source projects, internal/employee-only software, and OEM software. The hierarchy of these results is consistent compared to the 2022 results.

That said, there are notable shifts in the 2023 survey results. There’s an increase in the number of respondents working on internal software, indicating a growing focus on developing systems for internal use.

On the other hand, there’s also been a decrease in those involved in commercial software/SaaS products. This shift could be attributed to the remote work movement or the increased attention organizations are placing on enhancing their internal systems through digital transformation projects – to better accommodate distributed teams and remote workflows.

Types of Development Work

2.5 What best describes the industry in which you work?

The survey participants are spread across various industries, with a notable presence in Web Development and Developer Tooling. While the prominence of Web Development may be expected, what stands out is the significant increase compared to the previous year. In the 2022 results, Web Development ranked in the middle and was far from being one of the top three industries. This shift could be indicative of broader changes in the job market, especially in the post-pandemic era.

Perhaps the increased emphasis on digital products, services, and accessibility has become deeply ingrained in consumer expectations. As a result, the demand for professionals skilled in Web Development has risen considerably, reflecting the growing need for businesses to meet the evolving demands of the digital landscape.

Industries Using Rich Text Editors

2.6 What’s your preferred programming language at work?

While there’s a fairly diverse range of programming languages represented, the most commonly used are PHP and JavaScript, which together make up around one-third of the total programming language usage. However, it's worth noting that compared to the 2022 results, JavaScript appears to have been selected less frequently as a preferred programming language.

Preferred Program Languages

2.7 What front-end technologies do you use most often at work?

When it comes to front-end technologies, most people use regular HTML, CSS, JS, as well as Bootstrap and JQuery. These are the dominant frameworks in the industry. However, our results reveal there’s a considerable variety of other technologies being used. This suggests that although the industry tends to standardize around popular frameworks, there’s room for different technologies to thrive alongside them.

It's important to note that the popular frameworks are not the only options available and there’s no monopoly in this field.

Front-end Technologies Used

3.0 What’s your weapon of choice?

How editors are used and what’s being made

Rich text editors have revolutionized the way we create and present content online. They’ve become a feature-rich tool for everyone – allowing developers to seamlessly integrate them into their applications and projects, while also enabling content creators to craft compelling and visually appealing content. From basic text formatting to advanced styling options, they offer a multitude of possibilities for diverse applications, and have become an essential asset across numerous industries and professions.

This section explores the diverse uses of rich text editors and delves into the wide range of creations they enable. Whether it's designing professional documents, writing blog posts, collaborating on articles, or even building entire websites, rich text editors have become an essential tool across numerous industries and professions.

3.1 How important is rich text editing to your platform/product/application?

Rich text editing is an essential component of many applications and products and crucial for any products and users specific needs. According to the results, a significant majority of developers, 77%, believe that rich text editing is critical to their application or product. However, the number of developers who believe it’s not important, is almost negligible. These findings indicate a growing market demand for rich text editing products that can be easily adapted and customized to match their unique application or product.

The results also suggest that users are looking for solutions that can be quickly adopted within their team or organization. They need flexible and user-friendly rich text editing tools that can be seamlessly integrated into existing workflows.

Importance of Rich Text Editing

3.2 Which rich text editor do you use most often or centrally in your projects?

TinyMCE and CKEditor: TinyMCE is the most popularly used editor, with 32% of participants centrally using it in their development projects. This is followed relatively closely by CKEditor, with 26% of responses. The two editors hold a commanding market share, with more than half (58%) of the participants most often using them.

Custom-built editors: In third place, custom-built editors have a 12% share. This indicates there’s a significant group of developers who prefer to create their own editors, tailored to their specific needs.

Less popular editors: The remainder of the market is spread across various other editors. Although these editors may have a smaller market share, it's important to understand that they cater to specific user preferences and needs, and help to deliver a diverse range of choices to users.

Rich Text Editor Used Most Often

3.3 What rich text editors have you ever used, or have experience in using?

Based on the results, it seems developers tend to experiment and try out different options before deciding on a primary provider. Some individuals may try or prefer using open-source editors, however, the majority ultimately choose one of the two major providers that offer a combination of open-source and premium, paid offerings.

This suggests that TinyMCE and CKEditor offer a more comprehensive, fully-featured and extensively supported product that satisfies the needs of most users.

Rich Text Editors Tried or Used

3.4 If asked for a recommendation, which rich text editors would you suggest?

This question captures the intent to recommend, which is a critical metric indicative of brand health and growth potential. It can also indicate satisfaction, or reveal any underlying issues that might be at play preventing a recommendation to others. These results follow roughly the same pattern as the previous ‘’most often or centrally used’ in your projects choices (ie.primary provider), with Tiny being the most recommended rich text editor (47%), closely followed by CKEditor with 39%. All the other editors attract only small support, which suggests that users are generally satisfied with their editor, and that TinyMCE and CKEditor are the top recommended choices.

Most Recommended Rich Text Editor

3.5 What rich text editor did you use for your most recent project?

From the results, it can be easily observed that there is a strong similarity between their primary provider, and the rich text editor that the participants most recently used. This indicates the strength of brand satisfaction and supports the theory that rich text editors aren’t that frequently changed in a tech stack.

Most Recently Used Rich Text Editor

3.6 What are the main reasons you chose/used a particular editor for your most recent project?

As an open text question, developers were encouraged to share the underlying drivers behind their choice of rich text editor. The quotes and results are clustered into thematic groupings:

  • Easy to use/user friendly
  • Easy to integrate and implement
  • Easy to customize
  • Powerful and highly customizable
  • Many features, richness of features, plug-ins, rich API
  • Reliable
  • Stability
  • Collaboration features

Easy to use/user friendly

Easy to use and provides the functionality I need

I have used TinyMCE for a very long time, so partly of course out of habit, but also because I have no complaints whatsoever and don't miss any features.

It is easy to use and has nice documentation.

User friendly.

We know how to work with TinyMCE, so ease of use is very important to us. If we were to consider leaving it would require a similarly easy to implement solution.

Easy to integrate and implement

Been using it since forever so pretty much used to and it's easy to integrate.

Easy to customize. Easy to integrate.

It is easy for me to integrate it into my code.

It is fairly easy to embed into a website. As well, it loads quickly and I can customize its features.

Open source, customizability, good default functionality.

Easy to customize

Because it is easy to use and easy to integrate into any stack.

I looked at a lot of different editors and found that CKEditor was the only one that met all my needs. It had a great interface and was very intuitive, which made it easy for me to learn quickly. It's also really easy to customize the appearance and functionality of the editor, which is great because I can make sure it fits with my brand identity and look-and-feel.

It also has high customizability, making it easy to customize and expand according to needs.

It came across as easier to maintain and drop into our applications.

It was convenient and easy to implement.

Powerful and highly customizable

A lot of customization options are available for easy integration with the system.

Easy configuration, cross-browser, support for a variety of programming languages, open source and other features, especially when I do the software again, it is really convenient and compatible.

Highly customizable. Gives me complete control over the experience.

I flow better with it and it makes my work easier. It is user-friendly and customizable and also it is cross-browser compatible.

Open source free, powerful, complete secondary development interface and documentation, you can add and edit form elements (such as buttons, input boxes, etc.).

Many features, richness of features, plug-ins, rich API

Advanced security features for protecting sensitive data and files.

Because there are many built-in plug-ins and toolbar buttons that help users easily add and format text, images, links, and more.

Rich in features and functionality. Easy and beautiful UI. Good UX.

Feature richness. Exhaustive list of plugins. Ease of use.

Provides a variety of cloud security features.

The support, premium features and cloud availability of the js.

Reliable

Ease of use and history of it being reliable and free.

Great feature set for the self-hosted community edition and reliable software proven to work for many years.

It has all I really needed to complete my project. Needed the reliable text editor that TinyMCE is.

Cloud-hosted is a major plus, as we don't have to maintain yet another vendor library

Reliability, predictable performance, customizability, speed and responsiveness.

Stability

Easy to use, comprehensive safety features, system stability, high utilization rate.

Editor stability.

In the existing project using CKEditor, it is very stable and meets our requirements.

Safety, system stability, high efficiency, saves time.

The system is stable and convenient for me to use.

Collaboration features

Collaborative editing features.

Editing function.

The premium features like comment, tracking, accepting and rejecting comments, then check the history of what is accepted and rejected.

3.7 Have you recently customized a rich text editor?

Despite both the major rich text editors being fully-featured (either out-of-the-box or via plugin feature upgrades), these results indicate that a significant proportion (75% of participants) are actively customizing rich text editors to accommodate the unique needs of each application. Nearly half of them focused on customizing the user interface (UI), while many others incorporated third-party or custom plugins. Interestingly, compared to previous years, a slightly lower number of participants mentioned customizing the UI, indicating a possible shift towards investing more efforts in customizing features at the core level.

As well as making customization easy and powerful, if providers more clearly surfaced the many customizations and features already available, it could further enhance user satisfaction and deliver a more tailored experience.

Rich Text Editor Customization

4.0 The sticking points…

Choices + challenges: are they causing more pain than pleasure?

In today's digital landscape, rich text editors have become a fundamental tool for content creators and developers alike. With a multitude of options available, these editors cater to a diverse range of users, from experienced developers to beginners and web content writers. Some are designed specifically for collaboration, copy-paste, and document management, while others offer scalability and adaptability for various applications. It's clear that no single editor can perfectly solve every situation. The real question is, which one best suits the needs at hand.

4.1 What’s your preferred deployment option for your rich text editor?

Deployment options are an important gauge of the speed of transformation being undertaken across the digital landscape. Despite the continuing race to achieve the fast-pace speeds required for large scale digital transformations, ‘Self-hosted’ remains the preferred option (40%). Cloud deployment (38%) continues to slowly grow, while just under 20% seek a hybrid option.

Preferred Deployment

4.2 In the next two years, is it likely that you’ll change the way you deploy your rich text editor?

This question highlights the intention to change rich text editors and the fluidity of the market. The results reveal that half the users are considering switching editors, indicating:

  • Users aren’t completely satisfied and are searching for a better option, with some expressing the need for additional features.
  • The rapid pace of innovation across technology and moves towards digital transformation are driving organizations to be on the constant lookout for the next ‘breakthrough’ that offers improved performance, more features, or lower cost.
  • In technology, a two-year window is a long time. Therefore it could now be widely accepted that significant changes are a given, so switching essential components like a rich text editor, is a given in that timeframe.

Notably, in 2023, more users are contemplating switching rich text editors as compared to previous years. This change is likely being driven by digital transformation and rapid technology change, which often need a broader feature set and better support, as editors continue to play a central role in applications and products.

Likelihood of Changing Deployment Within 2 Years

4.3 For work projects, do you usually buy a ready-made rich text editor component or build your own in-house?

In general, a majority of developers prefer to purchase a ready-made editor, with more than half of them opting for this option. On the other hand, just over a quarter of them choose to develop their own in-house editor.

Buy or Build a Rich Text Editor

4.4 What drives your choice to buy and use a ready-made rich text editor, as opposed to building your own?

The survey results noted that the decision to buy or build is strongly influenced by cost considerations. Cost is seen as the determining factor both in the short-term – with development time and resources – as well as in the long-term, encompassing ongoing development and maintenance expenses. Notably, these cost drivers have experienced a significant increase in 2023, which may reflect the economic volatility in the previous year.

In addition to cost, the speed of development and ease of implementation remain crucial factors that drive the decision to purchase a ready-made editor.

Note: This question allows people to select multiple options.

Drivers to Buy a Ready-made Rich Text Editor

Get more insights in our
Buy vs Build White Paper

READ THE WHITE PAPER

4.5 Drivers to Build Your Own Rich Text Editor

Those who choose to develop their own rich text editor in-house express a strong need for increased control and flexibility over how the editor interacts with their applications. They possess the internal knowledge and resources required to pursue this approach and believe that utilizing these resources is a preferable alternative to investing funds in a solution that may not fully meet their specific needs.

This highlights the opportunity for more extensive customization options, enhanced control, and use cases that are best served by a headless rich text editor.

Note: This question allows people to select multiple options.

Drivers to Build Your Own Rich Text Editor

4.6 What do you value most when evaluating a third-party software component?

Several drivers were highlighted in the decision-making process and these factors play a crucial role in determining the selection of third-party software components:

1. Ease of implementation

The foremost driver when choosing third-party software components is the ease of implementation. This is chiefly because the tech industry highly values speed to ship and is constantly seeking ways to save time and resources. Overburdened employees are often looking for solutions that can streamline their workflows without requiring extensive technical expertise.

2. Positive reputation

Another significant factor in decision-making is a positive reputation. Organizations prefer to work with software components that have a proven track record of reliability, performance, and customer satisfaction. A well-regarded reputation instills confidence and reassurance, therefore making it a prominent consideration.

3. Affordability

Affordability is also top-of-mind when it comes to selecting third-party software components. Businesses are conscious of their budgetary constraints and strive to find cost-effective solutions that provide maximum value. By considering the financial aspect, organizations can make informed decisions that align with their overall objectives.

4. Easy adoption by non-technical users

Given that various job titles and positions interact with rich text editors, it becomes crucial to ensure that any third-party tool is easy to adopt and use, even for individuals without a technical background. This consideration acknowledges the reality that individuals from diverse professional backgrounds may be responsible for implementing and utilizing these tools.

By prioritizing factors such as ease of implementation, positive reputation, affordability, and easy adoption by non-technical users, organizations can make well-informed decisions regarding the selection of ready-made rich text editors. These choices can optimize productivity, streamline workflows, save time, and ultimately contribute to shipping their apps and products faster.

Third-party Component Evaluation: Most Valued

5.0 Features and future trends

AI is driving change, but the fundamentals still count

In the ever-evolving world of rich text editors, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are revolutionizing the landscape. These intelligent systems are driving changes that enhance the user experience and streamline content creation. From AI-powered suggestions and auto-corrections to advanced formatting options, the capabilities of rich text editors are expanding at a rapid pace. However, amidst this wave of innovation, it's important to remember that the fundamentals of a reliable and user-friendly editor still hold significant value.

5.1 What are the most important features needed in a rich text editor?

The 2023 survey results confirm that the three most vital aspects of a rich text editor are its performance, closely followed by security and privacy protections. These fundamentals remain the key to user satisfaction. Additionally, customizability, control, and ease of use are crucial for designing an editing experience that aligns with the needs of professionals and their users, in an intuitive and user-friendly way.

Compared to previous reports, the 2023 findings indicate that customizability has grown in importance over time. And while digital asset management, AI-driven functionality, and collaboration features are overall not as significant, they are still considered very or extremely important by half of our participants.

Most Important Rich Text Editor Features 2023

Number of responses. Click tabs at top to see grading.

5.2 What’s the most important thing missing? What new functionality would you like included in your rich text editor?

This open text question encouraged developers to share the features and functionality that are most important as well as what needed to be added. Based on the results, AI is the ‘word of the year’ when asked what’s missing from their current rich text editor. This interest in AI could have been skewed or influenced by the extensive media coverage since November 2022 around ChatGPT, and the growing presence of AI in our culture over the ensuing six months.

However, besides AI, users also expressed a desire for various other features in their editor. These include:

  • More drag and drop features
  • Improved media management capabilities
  • Better support for MS Word pasting
  • Enhanced documentation
  • Increased integrations with other digital tools/software
  • Collaboration features like track changes, comments and mentions

Based on the responses, it appears that users are seeking a more robust and versatile editor that not only harnesses the power of AI but also addresses their specific needs in terms of usability and collaboration.

AI integration/chat GPT

Enhance button to make it better using AI.

AI assisted authoring would be cool.

AI-powered text analysis and summarization tools.

Generative AI features that can be configured.

It may be nice to have a path to ChatGPT, given every app which edits content has it.

Drag and drop features

Drag and drop.

Drag and drop prefabricated elements, so users can create beautiful content faster, not just text.

Drag and drop upload.

Floating drag-n-drop position control for placing graphics, background images, etc.

Image processing and storage, text drag and drop, insert links.

Built-in/better image/media management

Better feature for prerendering data, and easier to make images etc responsive.

Built in image processing and storage, file drag and drop.

Media management, ie. upload and insert, that is easy to adapt to my online content.

Support image online processing.

The editor lacks the ability to beautify images.

Better support for MS word pasting/tables

Improve table formatting, improve Word/PDF import/export, improve copy/paste from Word.

Better support for text pasted in from MS Word, the ability for the editor to paste MS Word text but stripped of all but basic formatting (bold, underline, italics).

Import from Word and parsing functionality.

Improved table editing capabilities.

Better documentation

Better APIs and documentations.

Documentation, cross-platform – Win/Mac/Linux.

Don't care about new features, I know they will come. What I need is a rich and clear documentation.

Extensive guidance and complete documentation utilizing over 1000 APIs.

The editor itself is fine. The help documentation could be improved though.

Built-in track changes

Ability to undo changes, see past versions, have more similarity to MS Word and ability to export to Word with customization, enforcing a font family and size when copy pasting text.

Built in track changes rather than having to use a dodgy plugin.

Customizable features and history changes.

Improved comment functionality that could be processed and stored as well as tracked changes that could be understood and used externally.

Integrations with other tools (like GoogleDoc, Jira, Monday, Symfony)

Better integration with Angular.

GPT integrated.

Improved integration with Machine Learning and AI tools.

Integration with Adobe.

Integration with frameworks and widgets.

ntegration with Google Docs.

IIntegration with Jira, Monday and repository.

More collaboration tools

Better collaboration tools – including version control and real-time editing.

Collaboration and integration with other tools.

I think the missing features are more advanced table formatting options, better collaboration and comment tools, and I'd like to add an intuitive interface, easier customization options, and better performance.

Multi-user collaboration.

Not enough plugins and extension points are provided, including real-time collaboration, intelliscope, and autosave and restore capabilities.

Better spell checker and grammar checker

Easier to implement spell checking for users.

Integrated spell check and grammar check tools with multilingual support.

More robust image/embed control, editing assist (spellcheck, grammar).

Possibility to add/integrate a custom spell checker.

Would like a more native spell checker.

(Mentions in) Comments

Improved comment functionality that could be processed and stored as well as tracked changes that could be understood and used externally.

Mention functionality to work in the comments plugin.

Mentions in comments.

Revisions, comments.

5.3 What aspects of your rich text editor would you like resolved, removed, or changed?

Another open text question where developers shared their most top-of-mind pain points, as they relate to their rich text editor.

A significant number didn’t report any significant frustrations with their rich text editor. However, the key pain points noted revolve around difficulties in manipulating specific types of content within a rich text editor (RTE). These issues include challenges with handling multimedia files, tables, and fonts. Additionally, users express a desire for the RTE to seamlessly integrate with other software products, mentioning issues with plugin availability, integration with other tools, and difficulties when copy/pasting content from external sources.

Other notable mentions include the lack of comprehensive documentation, absence of autosave functionality, and concerns regarding the speed, security, and stability of the editor. In summary, difficulties included:

  • Manipulating specific content (multimedia files, tables, fonts)
  • Integration with other software products (plugins, other tools)
  • Copy/pasting content from other sources
  • Lack of comprehensive documentation
  • Absence of autosave functionality
  • Concerns about speed, security, and stability
  • No major frustrations reported by one-third of respondents

Media file management

Hopefully, there will be better improvements in media file editing and uploading.

Improve image embedding/Drupal integration.

Media management.

Slow loading, especially for documents with a lot of content or multimedia, may take a long time to load.

Solve the problem of inserting images.

Working with tables/table cell editing

Difficulty in formatting and aligning tables.

Improve image embedding/Drupal integration.

Difficulty in managing and formatting tables of contents and indices.

Pasting table contents to already created tables in text editor.

Related tables cannot be inserted.

Table cell customisations.

Autosave

AUTOSAVE

Performance and input lag and autosave of content.

The most frustrating thing is when network delays or outages cause editorial content to be lost or not saved.

Tools for tracking changes, retrieving the snapshots of a document that is automatically saved (like from a repository) etc.

Copy/paste and formatting issues

Being able to copy and paste PDFs as a Word document.

Copy/paste blocks of text with formatting.

Copy/paste from other word processing software.

Sometimes when I copy and paste content, due to inconsistent formatting or invisible characters, etc., it may lead to incorrect layout and display effects in the editor. I would like to correct this.

Too much junk info coming over from copy / paste from MS Word.

Font customization

Add Font Options.

Basics – Can't set font family, font size easily. No pagination so I can't format it for various paper sizes.

Limited customization options for fonts and styles.

Limited support for advanced font kerning and tracking.

When manipulating text on different platforms and devices, formatting can often be confusing, such as font size, color, alignment, etc. This can lead to inconsistent text appearance and affect the reading experience.

Plugin availability

Customizable plugins.

Lack of necessary functions and plugins to meet the specific needs of users.

Make mentions a default plugin (no extra cost).

Solve the problem that users cannot customize menus and plug-ins.

Some premium plugins like PowerPaste could be added to the mainstream.

Speed, security, and stability

HTML sanitizing, better handling of security aspects.

Instabilities when programmatically inserting content.

Package hosting and bundling ease with internal systems due to security reasons.

Security and privacy protection can be enhanced.

Speed of loading on page.

Documentation

Documentation and GitHub examples can always be improved.

Improved documentation of internal APIs for times when customization is needed.

Maybe make some of the documents a little more newbie friendly. I don't need my hand held but some of the help material assumes you already know how to go from step 1 to step 7.

Needs full API access with clear documentation.

Integrations with other tools

Better React integration for custom plugins.

Cannot integrate it with other tools.

Easier integration in custom CMS.

Integrating it to be able to use it with Laravel Livewire as I really want to continue using it.

Integrating with a React project.

Integration is a lot of work.

Integration with other frameworks.

5.4 What paradigm shifts do you see coming? What big game-changing features do you anticipate in the future?

This open text response question allowed participants to envision the future of the industry and make predictions based on the emerging trends and changing needs that they’re observing today. The most commonly mentioned shift, that’s expected to heavily impact rich text editors, is the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It was also suggested that AI integration could manifest in various forms – Generative AI, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and other automation techniques – to assist in content creation and integration.

Other themes mentioned include automation, collaboration, and voice-to-text technology. These themes and the corresponding quotes provided, are summarized below.

Quote themes:

AI integration: AI will play a crucial role in streamlining content creation and integration.

Automation: Automation will significantly improve efficiency in rich text editors.

Collaboration: Collaborative tools will enhance communication and teamwork.

Voice-to-text: Voice-to-text technology will simplify data entry processes.

Generative AI/Machine Learning/Natural Language Processing content integration

Integration with generative AI models will be huge.

Rich content generation being assisted with AI.

Generative AI. I am not just wondering how it can enhance the capabilities of the editor. I'm also wondering what role an editor can play in AI configuration and customization of chat bots, etc.

AI-assisted writing and suggestions.

I think the path to easy ChatGPT will be important soon. Either we'll need to develop it around the RTE, or the RTE can make the interface happen naturally.

More seamless/natural integration of other programs (e.g. CMS, Java/php, external database/API)

Seamless, nearly invisible, integration into other frameworks.

Ability to integrate dynamic data.

Having better ways to merge with the UI of the platform being implemented on.

The development of plugins that allow for seamless integration with other tools and applications.

Ability to seamlessly embed multimedia elements such as images and videos within the text.

More automation, such as automatic formatting

Automatic style/design adaptation to the application.

Rich text editors will become more intelligent, with more automation and intelligent processing capabilities, such as automatic translation, automatic summarization, automatic typesetting, etc

Automation, simplified voice input, automatic formatting.

Integration with writing tools like Grammarly or any plagiarism checker.

AI technology can help users complete editing tasks faster, such as auto-suggestion, predictive input, and automatic layout.

Voice-to-text and voice recognition

I can imagine a future where someone might want to dictate rich text, perhaps even with AI assistance thrown in the mix. ie. "Write me an article about the US debt limit and include images of Congress and the President" etc.

Dictation, voice recognition, spelling and grammatical improvements.

Voice-enabled text editing.

Integration with voice assistants for hands-free editing and dictation.

Speech recognition and voice input.

Collaboration functionality

Real time editing and collaboration without having to manage a lot of infrastructure. Live editing the content directly on the frontend.

Able to use mentions in comments plugins.

Easier use of @mentions and full document support that aligns with google docs.

Mention functionality.

I think it should allow access to the cloud and should allow working with different team members seamlessly.

More sophisticated security features

Enhanced security and privacy.

Greater emphasis on security -– rich text editors may become more secure, with features like two-factor authentication and encryption.

The incorporation of blockchain technology to provide greater security and transparency in document management.

Strengthen security issues and protect user privacy.

It will have cleaner editing and stronger user security.

5.5 What features do you expect to become standard in rich text editors within the next two years?

In this open text response question, we asked developers to consider upcoming advancements in technology itself, as well as the rich text editor industry. Once again AI is the star, indicating significant progress is expected over the coming year. Similar themes emerge as in the previous question about paradigm shifts, including voice recognition and transcription, collaboration tools, and enhanced integration with other software. However, new themes also emerge, such as clean copy/pasting, industry-wide adoption of top-notch features, optimization for mobile usage, and multi-language support.

Robust AI integration (generative, predictive, spelling/ grammar check, autoformatting, etc.)

Native integration with Artificial Intelligence like ChatGPT and image generators.

AI functions like: generate articles based on a few pasted words or topics.

AI generated document templates. Custom built to purpose document templates created by AI.

AI, predictive writing, chat-bot etc.

Integrated Artificial Intelligence capabilities, providing suggestions for grammar, style, and formatting.

Voice recognition/speech-to-text

AI collaborative writing, speech-to-text.

Dictation, voice functions.

Integrated AI-powered voice dictation and transcription tools.

Text-to-speech and speech-to-text.

Various modes of editing and speech recognition.

Voice recognition.

Seamless copy/pasting regardless of input source

Power’ copy paste function.

A way to add images, tables, and other formatting options without having to copy-and-paste them into the editor.

Accessibility check.

Copy/pasting styles keeping, exporting easily for PDF or similar formats.

Drag and drop images, table tools, compatibility with Office.

Improved formatting retention or stripping when copy/pasting.

Collaboration functionality

Advanced collaboration tools, such as real-time co-editing and commenting.

Collaboration and AI.

I think real-time collaboration may become the standard.

Less code, easier to customize, real time collab.

Revision history and collaboration.

Spell check, collaboration, mentions, AI integration hooks.

Industry-wide adoption of best-in-class features from MS Word and Google Docs

Catch up with MS Word/Google Doc.

Collaborative features, commenting, looking at past versions, auto correct, text suggestions.

Cross compatibility with editors like Google Docs and Microsoft Word with change tracking.

Google Docs sets the bar. The world is going to inch closer and closer to being able to put the Google Docs experience anywhere a rich text editor is needed.

Integrating with Google Docs directly.

Mobile optimization

Advanced support for mobile and tablet devices, including touch screen gestures and handwriting recognition.

I think mobile editing will be the standard within the next two years.

Mobile integration, blogging features, integration of media.

Mobile optimization.

Strengthen the mobile terminal office.

Multi-language support

I hope that in the next two years, the standard of rich text editors includes support for more formats, such as Markdown, LaTex, and HTML, CSS, etc.; support for more plug-ins and custom functions, such as support for text search, support for multi-document synchronization editing, support version control, and support text auto-completion, etc.; support AI-related functions, such as automatic code completion, grammar checking, etc.; and better performance, can process large amounts of data faster, and can support more languages.

Language conversion.

Multiple languages, robust search and replace capabilities.

5.6 What future technology would be helpful in collaborative editing?

According to the results, the majority of developers strongly believe that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be a significant advancement that assists the collaborative editing of rich text content. This reflects similar themes in other parts of the results, indicating that rich text editor users view AI and the future of innovation in rich text editing as being closely connected. More than half the respondents identified AI-powered grammar checking and content generation as a crucial AI application for collaborative editing, with only a meager 10% believing that no technological advancement is needed for rich text editing.

Future Technology Advances in Collaborative Editing

Tiny Technologies (TinyMCE)

Tiny Technologies is the creator of TinyMCE, the world’s most trusted WYSIWYG component that enables rich text editing capabilities within an application. Scalable, adaptable and reusable, it powers 100M+ projects worldwide and more than 1.5M+ developers use it to add velocity to their tech stacks, so they can build and ship their projects faster.

As a member of Tiugo Technologies’ portfolio of brands, it’s helped SaaS companies, large enterprises, content creators and publishers to launch, grow and scale their businesses, reduce their development and technical debt burdens, minimize ongoing support tickets and boost the productivity of their users. To learn more about Tiny Technologies, visit www.tiny.cloud.

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