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An editor (aka a text-editor) is a program designed to create/edit computer files. Editors use a limited character set and no formating. They are for writing source code that will be used by another program/machine, not for files to be read by people. It's useful to compare an editor to a word processor (like Word). A word processor is a program that combines editing functions with display functions (eg. fonts, formating, image handling...), word processor files include all the instructions required to display them as well as the raw text information which make the files specific to programs that understand the display instructions.

Editors are simpler, and tend to be more efficient and less problematic for a variety of files. Editors can be combined with separate display programs to make files more easy for humans to read. For example, the wiki software mediawiki allows nice display of very simple edited files, mediawiki has its own set of rules and instructions that are included in the edited files to tell it how it should be displayed.

There is a simple editor that comes with your web browser, and allows you to edit text inside edit boxes (like the one you would see if you clicked edit on this page). If you are doing serious work on the wiki, you will probably want to use a standalone editor, and either copy and paste, or use a Browser integration tool. This makes it easier to keep track of your work, and to build habits that it make it hard for you to accidentally lose your work. Editors also contain many functions to make editing pages faster and easier.

You will also need to choose a good editor.

Editors that people have used effectively include:

  • vim Download Vim and Cream for Windows. Note: Cream is an unofficial version of Vim put has features wich make it appealing for some users. The download includes both Vim and Cream so you can choose which verison is best.
  • emacs
  • gedit

The options listed above can be very confusing to thoose not familar to these programs. Below is a list of editiors that operate in a style that is more user friendly: