[Mac OS X] TextWrangler offers a clean, robust tool for editing and manipulating text

mzl.cjpweybs.800x500-75One area of the Mac App Store that I don’t pay enough attention to is Developer Tools. We all have our own favorite categories to browse in the Mac App Store, and sadly, I often forget all about Developer Tools. It’s a shame, because there are a lot of great apps in that category, and I feel like I’m not the only Mac fanatic not giving those apps their due. If you’re in the market for some new developer tools that won’t break the bank, TextWrangler, developed by Bare Bones Software Inc., may be of interest to you.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

The developer’s description from the Mac App Store reads (in part) as follows: “TextWrangler’s best-of-class features include…search and replace across multiple files, function navigation and syntax coloring for numerous source code languages, code folding, FTP and SFTP open and save, AppleScript, [and] Mac OS X Unix scripting support.”

In other words, it offers a full-featured app experience that allows users to edit, manipulate, and utilize different pieces of text with ease.


  • Long list of features and uses
  • Allows for lightning fast search of your various text snippets, while also providing great architecture to keep text pieces organized in a logical fashion
  • Work with multiple files at the same time (and see differences between them with ease)
  • Great for “find and replace” on a massive scale
  • Easily save your work (or a copy of it) to an FTP/SFTP server
  • Automatically saves unsaved work when you quit the app


  • Doesn’t support Word or RTF docs (only plain text is supported)
  • Not ideal for creation of HTML or live WebKit Safari previews for sites, for that you’ll want the sister product from Bare Bones called BBEdit


mzl.lgbimvqp.800x500-75If you want a text editor that lets you have multiple documents open at the same time in the same window interface, that’s a big selling point for TextWrangler. Hard wraps, removal of line breaks, finding spelling errors, and the processing of duplicate lines can all be handled with a few keystrokes.

I wish all text editors had this simplicity when dealing with multiple files at once. Being able to do a “find and replace” search across a bunch of different documents is a huge time saver.

The Mac App Store description of this app talks about how it is award-winning. As far as I can tell, the latest award to be given to this tool was when TextWrangler 2 won Macworld Magazine’s 2005 Editors’ Choice Award. That’s not to say that this app isn’t still the best in its class, but rather an interesting piece of trivia.

TextWrangler also offers coloring cues that help you to distinguish between various bits of programming languages. This is a big help for anyone who gets visually overwhelmed by big blocks of text. Other little tricks this app has up its sleeve include turning curly quotes into plain quotes and removing duplicate items from a list.

Conclusion and download link

While this app gets categorized under “Developer Tools” in the Mac App Store, TextWrangler is also ideal for less technical projects. For any kind of text editing or text comparison, TextWrangler is a really solid choice. TextWrangler is also a really good app for people who are just learning to code and need an interface in which to practice their skills. Whether you’re looking for an alternative to your current word processor for mass-editing purposes, or want a friendly environment in which to hone your programming skills, this freebie is worth a gander.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 4.5.2

Supported OS: Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later

Download size: 9.7 MB

TextWrangler on Mac App Store

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