The 5 Best Free WYSIWYG Alternatives to Dreamweaver

August 26, 2013 By John Hughes
The 5 Best Free WYSIWYG Alternatives to Dreamweaver
Formerly owned by Macromedia, Adobe Dreamweaver is without doubt the best web development tool that has ever been created. For the bulk of the Internet's development, Dreamweaver was the solution of choice of millions of developers intent on developing a web presence. Despite some saying the HTML it creates is a bit dense, Dreamweaver has been accessible to everyone, from the hobbyist pottering around in cyberspace, to the web design professional who needs to design sites that are clean, fast, and have the bells and whistles most modern websites require.

Despite its prevalence, like the bulk of Adobe products, Dreamweaver is lost to the cloud. To download it you now have to join the Creative Cloud (, an online collection of Adobe solutions that include Photoshop, Premiere, and a range of software that was previously available on a CD and much more affordable. Joining the creative cloud costs around $50 a month, and that's not cheap if you are only looking to build a quick website.

If Dreamweaver is either beyond your reach, or you just can't justify the expense, there are some great free WYSIWYG alternatives that are available. We list the best five below in no particular order:

1. Microsoft's Expression Web 4.0

Although the Microsoft help site says that Expression Web 4.0 is NOT WYSIWYG, in my experience, it is pretty damn close! This is an excellent solution and if you are familiar with the older (classic) versions of Dreamweaver, this is going to be a great user experience for you. It is very "Dreamweaveresque" - if that's a word. It offers a design view and a code view, or you can fix the work area so you can see both at the same time - just like Dreamweaver. With unusual foresight, Microsoft added HTML 5 capability to Expression Web 4.0, meaning that you can design pretty cutting edge sites with this solution. Like all good solutions, it makes CSS management easy, with a CSS Properties Palette and the ability to apply and manage styles for ease of CSS manipulation. It is easy to apply and position graphics, and it is equally easy to customize toolbars.

Microsoft Expression Web 4.0 is the free version of a web-based big brother and so there is no support you can latch on to. Microsoft does though give you access to a number of tutorials that show you how to use the solution ( and, of course, there are ad hoc support groups on the net. This is a great solution and if ever there could be a replacement for Dreamweaver, this might be it.


Powered by Mozilla, KompoZer is another solid open-source solution that gives Dreamweaver a run for its money. Windows compatible, the WYSIWYG editor is very similar to Dreamweaver's, but does not allow server-side scripting. You can open multiple pages at one time - much like Dreamweaver - and like Dreamweaver, it offers built-in FTP. The HTML it creates is appropriate for all major browsers, and KompoZer makes it very easy to create a variety of forms. The solution has a built-in CSS editor and HTML validator, and you can create templates, again, much like Dreamweaver. Certainly not as fluid as Dreamweaver, and for some functions it is a bit slow, but it certainly does the job.

3. BlueGriffon

Version 1.7.2 of BlueGriffon was released June 19, 2013, so at the time of going to press, this solution had pretty recent update. Open Source, it is based on Gecko, which is used on the Firefox browser. W3C-compliant, it supports CSS 2.1 and CSS 3, offers a great CSS editor and can be run on Windows. Users can create pages in a variety of code, including XHTML 5. The solution can be enhanced by a range of paid "add-ons" which increase its functionality. This is clearly a hybrid free/commercial solution, but as far as we are concerned, the basic BlueGriffon is a great solution and does the business of creating a website well enough.

4. Aloha

Aloha is compatible with all main browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera) and is another solid solution. Offering HTML5 editing capability, version 0.23.9 was released May 29, 2013, so again, here's a solution that had a recent update at the time of going to press. Aloha has a "floating" toolbar that changes based on the content you are editing. What is really good about Aloha is that its WYSIWYG capability mimics what the site would look like through a browser - a very useful and exacting function.

5. Amaya

Amaya is another W3C-compliant, Open Source solution that can be run on Windows. It offers HTML, CSS and XML validators, and in fact validates HTML as you build pages - an extremely useful function. Websites can be seen in a tree structure, and finished pages can be viewed in a "Page Preview" function. It also offers a search and replace option, but does not offer a text editor. To start you off, Amaya provides a number of website templates that can be used for a variety of purposes. If Dreamweaver is no longer an option, this is another great solution.

About the author

John Hughes is a freelance writer for He possess many years of experience as a successful Internet entrepreneur.

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