Evaluation of WYSIWYG editors (2007)

It has been almost a year since I tested accessibility features in some of the more popular WYSIWYG editors commonly found in open source content management systems (see Evaluation of WYSIWYG editors). During this time, most of these editors have been further developed. Let’s have a look at how they fare a year on.

Test method

The test method is the same as last time (to be able to see if scores changed compared to the previous test). In short, I tried to create a sample document in each of the editors. The sample document contains markup commonly found on the web. All editors were tested on the same date and the online demo version was used when available. If there was an option to enable more features, all were enabled. Please note that I am primarily testing the output of the editor and not the accessibility of the editor itself.

Tested editors

Most of the editors from the previous test are included this time. Based on feedback from the comments I have also added a couple of new contestants.

From the previous test:

  1. EditOnPro by Realobjects. Commercial license.
  2. XStandard by Belus Technology. Commercial license. Lite version free (also see special license for open source CMS projects)
  3. FCKeditor by Frederico Caldeira Knabben. Open source (LGPL), commercial license available.
  4. CuteEditor by Cute Soft. Commercial license.
  5. TinyMCE by Moxiecode. Open source (LGPL).
  6. New: Xinha. Open source BSD-style license.
  7. New: WYMeditor. Open source (MIT and GPL). For an introduction to WYMeditor see Visually Editing Semantics – What You See Is What You Mean.
  8. New: Loki by Carleton College. Open source (GPL).

Missing from this round is Kupu as it has not come out with any new release since the previous test. Also, eWebEditPro could not be tested. The online demo gives an error: “Error loading mycontent1″.

Test result

The total score for each editor is listed below. For full test result details see here.

Editor Score (out of 19)
XStandard 19
EditOnPro 16
TinyMCE 15
FCK-editor 14
WYMeditor 14
Loki 13
Xinha 13
Cute Editor 10

If you find error in the results, please leave a comment or send an e-mail to peter krantz at gmail.com.


  • Many of the tested editors have implemented more accessibility features since the previous test. This is good.
  • The bold and italics icons are still used when creating emphasis.
  • TinyMCE is one of the few editors that doesn’t nest list items properly. According to the developer comment to my previous article there is an option to corrent this behaviour but it isn’t enabled by default for some reason. TinyMCE now has support for acronyms and abbreviations (with icons that are easy to understand). TinyMCE would have had a score of 18 if the nesting was fixed.
  • XStandard is the only editor that pass all the tests.
  • WYMeditor is a very interesting contender. Although in a very early stage of development (only two versions released) it managed to score 14 points. It is also the only editor that clearly displays to the user what type of markup is being edited.
  • Loki is one of the few editors that has a proper icon for block quotes (it looks like a quote character).
  • Only XStandard and TinyMCE provide functionality to create acronyms.

There are now more editors that provide functionality to do proper semantic markup. This is great! My guess is that it would be easy to add many of the remaining features (acronyms, abbreviations and inline quotes) to many of the editors.

Which one will you be selecting for your next project and why?


  1. Rick Curran says at 2007-02-07 14:02:

    Thanks for doing an update on these Wysiwyg editors, your last post on them was very useful. I can’t remember if I asked this last time (I suspect not!), have you checked out the editor WysiwygPro (www.wysiwygpro.com)? I’ve been using this one and it is quite good. I’m interested to know how that scores compared to the others you’ve listed.

    I’m impressed with the WYMEditor option, it looks to be quite a good editor. It, along with some of the others, needs to improve on the functions for file uploading etc.

    Thanks again!

  2. Pär Axelsson says at 2007-02-07 15:02:

    Work well done, Peter. I´m also very impressed by WYMEditor. I hope the idea with it will catch on.

  3. Anders says at 2007-02-07 17:02:

    Thanks for yet another great article. I’ve had a brief look at the XStandard editor and it looks like a good choice. I am also very curious about the further development of the WYMEditor. I feel however that the current user interface is not very intuitive, compared to those seen in most WYSIWYG editors.

  4. Arjan Eising says at 2007-02-07 17:02:

    Oh nice test! I hope the WYMEditor can improve this result, after reading this.

  5. Jean-Francois Hovinne says at 2007-02-07 23:02:

    Thanks for this great article, Peter! I’m glad to see that you’ve added WYMeditor in your evaluation, and that it scores pretty well :)

    We plan to implement some of the missing features soon, by the way.

    IMHO, it may be interesting to add a criteria like ‘Produces valid (X)HTML code’, and if it is XHTML strict, for example.
    What’s your opinion?

  6. Emil Stenström says at 2007-02-08 23:02:

    Great post Peter!

    What about the editor that EPiServer uses? Does it pass any of the tests? ;)

  7. Fred says at 2007-02-09 11:02:

    What about http://spaweditor.com/

  8. Moxiecode says at 2007-02-09 16:02:

    Nice job Peter. Some comments from us regarding the testing.

    First, you might want to make a note about what kind of technology (JavaScript, ActiveX, Java Applet etc) is used by the editors, TinyMCE ranks in top of the pure Javascript editors (no plugin required).

    Regarding nested lists, it will be enabled by default for the next major update (2.1), with the option to turn off.

    Table caption is in the CVS/SVN already, will be in next version.

    The language test should also pass in the next version (as well as directionality, id, class and things you can set on any element), this is also in the CVS/SVN.

    TinyMCE Development Team

  9. Niklas Lindström says at 2007-02-13 22:02:

    Great stuff as always! As you know, I’ll be trying out WYMeditor for that project of ours..

    The next version will be built using JQuery, which I found a welcome coincidence as I was about to choose that anyway for the rest.

    I do hope that WYMeditor gets the attention and help it deserves. What-You-See-Is-What-You-Mean has been an ideal of mine for years, and I’ve continued to be baffled by the lack of it in this realm. (I know, one “should do something”.. Well, now WYMeditor does!)

  10. Moxiecode says at 2007-02-14 10:02:

    TinyMCE updated to 2.1.0, with new features and the fixes mentioned above.

  11. Gutenbyte says at 2007-02-15 11:02:

    Thank you for your work!

  12. Nigel Dunn says at 2007-02-20 17:02:

    Great work Peter, and it’s good to see parts of the WYSIWYG developer community responding to your test.

    I think the underlying technology in the browsers (designMode in IE, Midas in Mozilla, etc.) are the root of some of these problems. I did a bit of hunting yesterday & that seems to be where the BLOCKQUOTE tag is coming from if you use the Indent button (and also some of the other invalid XHTML like the ‘align’ attribute if you leave these options available to users).

    Moxiecode – I couldn’t see how you would mark up text in a different language (like the French phrase in Peter’s test content) in the All buttons and plugins example on your site. Maybe that didn’t make it into TinyMCE 2.1.0?

  13. Moxiecode says at 2007-02-26 11:02:

    In reply to Nigel Dunn:
    It is the “attribs” button (4th button from the right on the last button bar).

    It needs an “element” to put the attribute on, such as a P tag or similar (the example had just plain text in the editable area).

  14. Nigel Dunn says at 2007-02-28 13:02:

    Hi Moxiecode,

    Thanks for that,I see what you’re referring to. If it gets a pass on the test now then I’d think that it would only just be scraping through. The user would have to add a SPAN tag around “rédacteurs de contenu” and then use the attribute button to specify the language. I think that’s more then we could expect our audience to do – they won’t want to be adding HTML directly.

    What we’d like to see (I think) is something along the lines of the LangMarks plugin in Xinha (you have to add the plugin in their extended example). The user is offered a set of languages in a drop-down list, so all they have to do is highlight the word/phrase & select the language. The editor drops in the SPAN tag & adds the appropriate code.

    Interestingly this is quite an important area in the WCAG 1 list as it’s a Priority 1 requirement. So the content produced by our clients through the various WYSIWYG editors needs to mark up changes in language for any level of compliance.

  15. Eddie says at 2007-03-08 15:03:

    What about http://www.interspire.com/devedit ?

  16. EMaja says at 2007-03-08 21:03:

    Try this simple code (in TinyMCE and other) and see :

    * list 1
    * list 2


    –> You get this code :


    list 1
    list 2


    No paragraph next the ul … And problem with the css …

    Do you test paste from web page or Word ?
    Many WYSIWYG users paste text from Word, and break the xhtml code …

  17. Jason Friesen says at 2007-03-08 22:03:

    At the Canadian College where I work, we’ve been using XStandard for over a year. It does exactly what I wish it would do, and the support is great. We’ve been researching commercial CMS systems for several months and many of them have been eliminated on the weakness of their text editor. The first question I like to ask is “Can we use XStandard with your system?” Yeah, it’s that good.

    The only negative is the Mac version is only in Beta so doesn’t work quite as slick as the Windows version. I haven’t tested it on Linux yet…

  18. John says at 2007-03-09 00:03:

    What about ? No one seems to have heard about this editor, but it is definitely up there with the ones listed on this list

  19. Jeff says at 2007-03-12 16:03:

    Hi Peter,

    I’d definitely like to see the results for eWebEditPro again. I’m not currently getting any error on their server.

    Thanks for your testing!

  20. Mrad says at 2007-03-19 18:03:

    Great post. One of the pain points for Xstandard is embedding Flash. Have you encountered any workarounds or editors that handle this in an elegant way?

  21. Rob says at 2007-04-11 10:04:

    how about whizzywig ?

    I’m currently using it, it’s small, simple and is working great.

  22. Tomas Kapler says at 2007-04-11 14:04:

    i was using tinymce, but because of their problems with Opera, i cannot use it. Browser compatibility should be btw one of the most important parts

  23. add says at 2007-04-11 22:04:

    this article is rather wrong. you can’t compare free solutions with payed ones…

  24. Peter Krantz says at 2007-04-12 11:04:

    Add: Why not? The previous test showed that there were free editors with a better score than some of the commercial ones.

    John, et al: Thank you for bringing attention to the other editors out there. I will have a look at them next time.

  25. stanis says at 2007-04-14 22:04:

    Nice test, but why didn’t you tested them in Opera?

  26. Phil Morris says at 2007-04-16 20:04:

    Is this the best of all?


    It’s super fast and clean?

  27. Peter Bowyer says at 2007-04-22 11:04:

    There’s also SPAW editor, I’d be very interested to see the results of a test of it.


    Its ‘unique’ selling feature appears to be a tabbed interface, somthing I’m not convinced is useful in an online editor…

  28. Govind Menon says at 2007-04-30 10:04:

    Thanks for the interesting and informative article. But after HTMLArea became a part of history :) Xinha seems the best alternate even though its non-IE & Mozilla support sucks!

    Why Xinha? Because it’s insert image function lets users select pictures from their desktop. They aren’t forced into inputting a URL or first uploading an image separately via FTP (not always available for shared accounts) then selecting it in the editor.

  29. Stuart Laverick says at 2007-05-15 14:05:

    Great idea to do an annual follow up to your last review. Hopefully this will become an annual event?
    Your findings mirrored our review to find a wysiwyg editor for the Rapid Site 3 site creation application we are building. We nailed our colours to the mast and decided from the start to go for a standards compliant, accessible, DOM based solution, so when we came to decide on an editor we needed one that fitted with our objectives.
    After much thought it came down to two, TinyMCE and xStandard, and both of these were neck and neck, but ultimately xStandard won on it’s file upload and handling abilities in the commercial version.

  30. Laura says at 2007-06-06 16:06:

    Great review! I am having trouble finding a WYSIWYG that works perfectly on Safari. Most WYSIWYG editors don’t seem to have full functionality on Safari. Any suggestions?

  31. Alex says at 2007-06-07 10:06:

    Asbru Web Content Editor has full functionality on Safari.

  32. Ric says at 2007-06-23 05:06:

    Interesting critique on the errors in this evaluation at least with regard to Kupu
    (read the comments)

  33. Peter Krantz says at 2007-06-23 09:06:

    Ric, most of that critique does not hold up. See my answer in one of the comments.

  34. Albo P. Fossa says at 2007-07-02 23:07:

    I use WeBuilder 2007 – http://www.blumentals.net
    (commercial package…didn’t see it in your full list)

    (Oh, and, p. s., thanks for fangs!)

  35. Pritesh Patel says at 2007-07-17 15:07:

    WYMeditor Firefox compability: (using 0.3 demo available on the WYMeditor website)

    Try resizing a table, I can pick up an edge of a table, but the release button-click event isn’t being recognised so I can’t re-size it.

    Do you experience this also?

  36. ingilizce tercüme says at 2007-07-22 22:07:

    Thanks for this great article, Peter! I’m glad to see that you’ve added WYMeditor in your evaluation, and that it scores pretty well…

  37. Eddie says at 2007-07-25 08:07:

    Can I ask why DevEdit never seems to get mentioned or tested? It was by far, the first web based wysiwyg editor available on the market, the first with Table support, the first with XHTML support, the first with CSS support, but still not a mention. Im not trying to put anyone down, just genuinely interested as to why.

  38. website design bolton SEO says at 2007-09-03 12:09:

    Great Review…!

    I’ve never used XStandard but i’m going to give it a try and see how it compares to others i’ve used.

    Thanks for this article

  39. Joseph says at 2007-09-20 06:09:

    Another great commercial editor to add to this list is rtePad (http://www.rtePad.com. Ive been using it now for a couple of weeks and its easily as good as, or better than the listed wysiwyg editors in this article

  40. Light says at 2007-09-28 18:09:

    XStandard – leader of test.
    But only XStandard Requires client installation.
    I think, that XStandard should be tested out of evaluation.

  41. Markus says at 2007-10-02 12:10:

    Great test.

    BTW, RealObjects has released an updated version of edit-on Pro, Version 5.1. Among other improvements, this version has:

    * Insertion of inline quote, block quotes and acronyms
    * Support for “lang” attribute for improved content accessibility
    * Doesn’t use blockquote for indentions by default

    I think it would pass now all of your tests.

  42. Roberto Scano says at 2007-10-16 11:10:

    One thing that should be considered also is the conformance to XHTML 1.0 Strict. Editors that adds iframe by DOM injection will cause violation of declared DTD.

  43. Old Jacques says at 2007-10-16 11:10:

    Premise: I have successfully used XStandard in a CMS, and it works very well.

    That said, I think the client side installation should count for a point (installation required = 0, no special installation = 1 – Java, being available for almost any computer I wouldn’t necessarily count as an obstacle).
    I also would suggest that since you have the various browsers, you might add a point for platform compatibility with Linux, or divide firefox to firefox/win e firefox/*nix.

    I point these out since recently the CMS client changed some PCs, and the IT staff was very slow in re-installing onto the brand-new nailed down tight computers, and so for well over a month we updated the site from remote instead of the web staff.

    Platform specific installation limitations *can* be a very big handicap, more than the runaway pointspread seems to indicate to me.

  44. Rumen Jekov says at 2007-11-02 16:11:

    Your article is indeed interesting and we can appreciate the comparison.

    Do you plan to update your test and include “RadEditor Prometheus” in it?

    We also agree with the guys from TinyMCE that you should make a note that the different editors use different web technologies (JavaScript, ActiveX, Java Applets etc) for editing and producing HTML/XHTML content. The different web technologies have their advantages as well as limitations and it would be a great idea to share some more details about them with your readers.

  45. John says at 2008-01-11 10:01:

    Your article is indeed interesting and we can appreciate the comparison.

  46. John Fletcher says at 2008-02-13 02:02:

    Great idea for an article, I hope to see a 2008 version soon encompassing the editors referred to in the comments, and perhaps others?

    I too was intruiged by wymeditor but sadly it appears to have lost momentum for now. I hope someone can salvage the project because it gained a lot of attention.

  47. Aaron says at 2008-02-25 20:02:

    Do you have a 2008 comparison coming out soon? If so, will it include the RAD editor in the comparison?

    Thanks for the great info!

  48. web design manchester says at 2008-03-11 11:03:

    Great Article..!

  49. iain says at 2008-03-15 03:03:

    how come browser vendors aren’t shipping with rich editors built in?

    simple markup in any pages source could activate the browser into turning any text area into a rich text editor. Settings such as “must validate”, advanced features, styles, etc could also be initiated…

  50. Mary Luketich says at 2008-03-20 20:03:

    I use CoffeeCup HTML editor, with all its builtin scripts and newbie features, its the best for me.

  51. qkqohb says at 2008-04-10 19:04:

    i hope. abcbaf6d23 thanks

  52. Jere Majava says at 2008-07-03 00:07:

    Another suggestion for the hopefully upcoming 2008 evaluation: The Wysiwym Markdown Editor is actually not a WYSIWYG editor, but an alternative to one. WME has a smart toolbar for creating Markdown and can also show a live HTML preview as you type.

  53. Lynn Holdsworth says at 2008-07-17 17:07:

    It’d be great if you could flag up early in this article that it’s the output you’re testing for accessibility rather than the GUIs. I use a screenreader, and got quite excited to think there was finally an accessible wysiwyg editor; but alas, that still doesn’t seem to be the case. Xstandard actually ranks very low in the “accessible using assistive technology” league table.

  54. Peter Krantz says at 2008-07-17 20:07:

    Good point Lynn. I will update the article intro.

  55. AT says at 2008-09-11 16:09:

    That’s actually an excellent point. How accessible are these apps for screenreaders and things like that?

  56. CARLOS says at 2008-09-26 23:09:

    Que tal.
    Gracias a páginas como estas, a veces se encuntra información muy interesante y productiva.

    Tal y como he visto a fecha de hoy cada uno de ellos, creo que TinyMCE (por precio, prestaciones y peso a la hora de trabajar con el editor) debería considerarse como el mejor.

    Un saludo.

  57. Johan Bergström says at 2008-11-02 03:11:

    Very nice article series, but…

    You might also want to include a test for the possibility of creating a blockquote tag inside another blockquote tag (or a similar element, for example sup) something I find very hard to do with most of these editors. This might be more of a UI problem, but I don’t want to have to edit the source every time I want to do something like this in my online writings.

    PS. I would love for you to include my own attempt on a standards compliant WYSIWYG if you are ever to perform another test like this one. It will be released it on my site sometime soon (as an alpha-version) and hopefully score a perfect 19 without having to be installed.

  58. Steven says at 2009-01-03 12:01:

    The test unfortunately does not consider XHTML code in text.

    I’m an advanced user and often I would like to add a DIV and connect this to a css.

    Editors like TinyMCE allows you to do this in HTML mode, but if you switch back to WYSIWIG mode, it strips all HTML code.

    The editor EPiServer uses, does not remove HTML code and displays the HTML results in the WYSIWIG mode.

  59. Raja Iskandar Shah says at 2009-01-03 17:01:

    alternatively, you can use firefox 3.0 browser extensions for html editors. just right click on a text-area and a html editor pops up. i use xinha here! i have done a short write-up here : http://norazilaco.panduan.org/node/6

  60. Scott says at 2009-01-04 17:01:

    I’d love to see an updated version of this for 2008/9! In particular I’d be interested in seeing which RTEs (if any) actually support all standard HTML tags. I’ve yet to find one supporting code, kbd, tt and definition lists.

    I’d also like to see which ones can import a stylesheet and (a) apply it, and (b) give me a list of classes/IDs I can apply to an element.

  61. PeterC says at 2009-03-08 04:03:

    Is their an update on the 2007 evaluation — or plans for one in the near future?


  62. vicina.info says at 2009-09-22 19:09:

    The WYMeditor sounds interesting. I, however, run into many death links on their site. Is it still alive?

  63. JJ says at 2009-10-25 16:10:

    Please do new test for 2009 , its very old now. We are looking forward to see the results for new editors.


  64. Chris says at 2010-03-26 13:03:

    I was looking for such a site with different wysiwyg editors and now i found it :) btw i hate tinymce just annoying and does not what u want it to do!

  65. Dainis W. Michel says at 2010-05-07 12:05:

    Which ones don’t rewrite your code at all?



    for a start…

  66. James says at 2010-06-11 05:06:

    Great post. One of the pain points for Xstandard is embedding Flash.

  67. Laura says at 2010-06-11 05:06:

    Great job Peter. you did well to get us to this point. thank you so much for the info.

  68. Jordan says at 2010-07-09 22:07:

    Can this type of editor be used with joomla 1.5,9

  69. Ariel M says at 2010-07-24 00:07:

    Hi, try http://www.online-html-editor.net
    Is very simple and cool..

  70. webdesignersuk says at 2011-01-15 22:01:

    by default joomla uses the wysiwyg editor

  71. Stuart says at 2011-03-06 03:03:

    Would be great to see an update to this list, will this be done in the near future? Or does anyone know of a similar list thats more recent? Thanks.

  72. Klaus-M. Schremser says at 2011-03-23 16:03:


    great article about WYSIWYG editors – thanks for the test, but developments are going on and maybe a new test on WYSIWYG editors with new concepts (Real WYSIWYG) would be great.

    I would appreciate if you include Aloha Editor – a HTML5-compliant, real WYSIWYG Editor.


  73. Files cleaner utility says at 2011-05-10 08:05:

    This Is Very interesting, Thanks for sharing this post


Peter Krantz, peter.krantz@giraffe.gmail.com (remove giraffe).