Text Editor Recommendation for Catalina

Looking for a text editor on Catalina OS to replace beloved NVAlt as NVAlt doesn’t seem to work.

Think I like most about NVAlt is the bar that allows you to search/create new note.

Any recommendations? Thanks!

The nvAlt author, Brett Terpstra is working on a new editor with Fletcher Penny (author of MultiMarkdown) called nvUltra. You might want to signup on the website or ping Brett directly. I know they are close and Brett is doing private beta testing right now.


My search for a text editor ended in the late 90’s when I discovered BBEdit. I still consider it the premier text editor for Mac. I’ve dabbled with other editors but keep coming back to BBEdit after a month or two. It can handle large (GB+) files without slowing down. Other editors spin for minutes and then crash when I try to open some files of this size. It knows about a bunch of different languages and can add syntax coloring. I consider it a bargain at it’s current price of $50.



+1 to try BBEdit, which is free and for which most people don’t need to pay to unlock the pro features. Also FSNotes (free for Mac, also available on iOS), which the dev used to call nvAlt on steroids.

Other good pay alternatives include Notebooks (Mac/iOS), IA Writer, mWeb, [Quiver], (https://happenapps.com/#quiver), and BoostNote (free for 100Mb cloud storage, $3/month for 2Gb).

It’s a wide open field and you don’t indicate what your needs are, so if they are insufficient I’d suggest trying the free options and coming back articulating specific needs.


Sublime Text has a rich ecosystem and runs on macOS, Windows, and Linux.


Thanks for that! Can BBEdit search for words/terms across multiple text files or can it only search within one text file?

it can search across files / folders - I had it search through over 200 files today without issue :slight_smile:


I started using Drafts for Mac a lot more yesterday, and I’m liking it.

You might want to give my app, Notenik, a try. It’s free and available in the Mac App Store. It’s not a pure text editor but then, that wasn’t exactly the NVAlt space either.

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+10 for BBEdit
Bought is 3 years ago to replace NValt, and never looked back. Everything you could ever need in a text editor and more.


Thanks, Mitch. I love the Drafts for my iPhone but the OS app doesn’t feel comfortable to me.

It takes a little getting used to but the effort pays off I’ve found.

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Do any of the above app recommendations allow you to export the text on the Mac into Evernote with a type of formatting that Evernote likes?

I wish iA Writer did as it’s gorgeous.

Btw - you can download iA Writer’s font and add it to your Mac font book and then use it system wide for many apps.

IA Writer offers four fonts to use. They are forks of IBM’s free Plex font.

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Kind words for both BBEdit and iA Writer.

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Sublime for me is excellent. Does the job and I love how it autosaves my unsaved docs (if I quit when it restarts they are there for me). Plugin support is excellent.

I’ll second this suggestion, if a replacement for nvALT is what you’re looking for. For people who really click with that interface, this will probably be the best option.

I, for one, am really looking forward to when it comes out.

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In addition to being NVAlt’s spiritual successor, it has many functionality improvements, including the ability to use multiple folders to store your files. The beta is really good already, and hopefully the release is not far off.

Another “type to search/create” editor on mac is The Archive. I like it a lot.

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After using nvAlt since it came out (and Notational Velocity before then), I’ve been using the nvUltra beta for a couple months. It’s ok, but doesn’t give me joy :slight_smile: