Best C++ IDEs or Source Code Editor You Should Try Once

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By Gulshan Negi

A few years back, creating applications or software from scratch required a lot of struggle because of all of the processes, including basic ones, such as coding, compiling, testing, debugging, build, and deployment runs on various packages. Maintaining and installing all of them gets extremely tedious by developers.

Therefore, for better productivity and quicker development processes, all of the packages required for the development get integrated into a single environment that is known as an IDE (Integrated Development Environment).

Making the process more simplified, IDEs come with various unique features as well, such as highlighting syntaxes, completing codes automatically, auto-saving the codes, compilation, refactoring, debugging, and version control. The blog discusses 10 of the best IDEs for C++.

A Brief Overview of C++ and IDEs

C++ is a widely popular programming language used for achieving some of the main goals in software development. From developing rich and interactive UIs to building robust applications, the object-oriented programming language has helped many individuals to make top-notch results.

However, for the programming language to run in a favorable environment with everything working properly, IDEs are essential. They are tailored with all the facilities required for developing software that results in improved productivity along with saving a lot of time in installing and setting up the packages.

They also help in editing and debugging the codes along with built-in compilation functionality as well. Moreover, a programmer can also run analysis and compilation while doing compile-time code optimization along with generating codes for integrating with operating systems. 3 of the most integral components of IDEs are:

  1. Source code editor: This is the area that enables programmers to write the codes for the development.
  2. Build automation tool: Also known as the compiler, this tool helps in compiling the codes written by a programmer.
  3. Debugger: As defined by its name, it is used for debugging the programs for resolving errors that occur in the code.

Apart from these basic components, IDEs can also be integrated with additional features, such as object and data modeling, unit testing, and source code library. In addition, modern IDEs are also embedded with the ability of intelligent code completion that is used for increasing the programmer’s productivity to the fullest.

Benefits of Using IDEs

  • They offer a simplified environment for creating and editing code composed of various features for making the process fast and smooth.
  • Requires lesser effort and saves programmers from going through redundant steps of installing and setting up the packages.
  • They come with a lot of tools used for minimizing the frequency of mistakes and also provide shortcuts.
  • Help users by offering quick navigations with the help of hyperlinks.
  • Emphasize running the unit tests more frequently along with more ease.

10 Best C++ IDEs

1. Visual Studio

Visual Studio is currently the leading open-source code editor that is originally developed by Microsoft. It supports various Operating Systems as well such as Linux and Mac and is based on the Electron framework. It offers extreme flexibility to users to include customizable features as well through which they can manipulate the theme, keyboard shortcuts, and preferences.

However, it is to be noted that Visual Studio is not dedicatedly built for the execution of C++ only, but instead, it allows a lot of other popular languages as well such as Java, Javascript, Python, etc. The best part is that it offers multi-platform support as well that benefits developers looking for high-end customization of projects.

Moreover, it is tailored with robust features such as a built-in command-line interface and git integration through which an individual can easily pull, commit, and publish content using a clear Graphical User Interface.


  • It is a popular C++ IDE that is compatible with most of the widely-used Operating Systems such as Linux and macOS
  • Simplifies the process of debugging in C++ programming software and also supports a lot of extensions for the addition of new features, languages, themes, etc.
  • Enables users to control multiple versions of a single program without many hurdles
  • It highlights all the syntaxes used in order to make things more clear
  • Comes with features like intelligent Code completion and code refactoring along with Easy customization and better portability

2. Eclipse

This popular integrated development environment is used for compiling C++ codes and comes with a simple and easy-to-use interface. Originally developed for Javascript, it now supports various languages and also runs smoothly on major platforms, including Windows, Linux, and macOS.

Eclipse also offers an easy debugging, auto-completion, and compilation process and is compatible with various tools for extending its functionalities. Offering automatic validation of syntaxes, Eclipse comes with a clean GUI that is tailored with drag-and-drop features, remote project management, and ready-made code templates.


  • It is a well-known IDE tool that validates syntaxes automatically.
  • Allows users to manage projects remotely and is compatible to run on various platforms such as Windows, Linux, and macOS.
  • It offers a Makefile that is composed of various instructions for users to build C++ programs successfully.
  • Users are enabled to choose from tons of pre-built code templates that are supported with static code analysis.
  • Offers a clean GUI that tool with the drag-and-drop functionality.
  • Increases productivity and reduces the time of deployment with the help of smart code completion.
  • Eclipse has a rich and wide community for users to get issues solved quickly.

3. CodeLite

Being an open-source IDE, CodeLite has a huge user base from all around the globe that majorly utilizes the platform for compiling and running C++ programs. This platform is also compatible to run on popular operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, and macOS, and allows amazing support for compilers along with the easy discovery of errors.

Some of the main areas in which CodeLite aids users are code compiling, next-generation debugging, profiling, class browser, static code analysis, code completion tool, and refactoring. Moreover, it also offers Rapid Application Development (RAD) tools that allow users to build widgets-based applications.


  • Its integration with Cscope will help in providing a text-based interface for searching codes.
  • Allows users to customize the color of syntaxes along with easy search to find various useful files quickly with the help of tree view.
  • Its command palate offers features such as sorting and changing the syntax.
  • Allows users to work seamlessly with the help of the code completion feature.
  • Tailored with a database explorer to allow users to explore the database in no time.
  • The SpellChecker will let programmers know the mistake they’re making as soon as they type it.

4. CodeWarrior

CodeWarrior provides an Integrated Development Environment for building applications within minimal time. It helps programmers to edit, compile and debug software and runs efficiently on two of the widely-used Operating Systems, i.e. Windows and Linux OS. It also simplifies all the tasks by providing the functionality for making all the complex activities easy.

CodeWarrior allows developers to work with various languages such as C, C++, and JAVA and also comes with support for a usual roster of GNU development tools for the Linux environment. This saves programmers from using or adding any extra development tools.


  • It comes with a clean and interactive Graphical User Interface
  • Provides a single gateway for every component
  • It is tailored with a project Manager and offers a lot of customization options
  • It is a robust macro assembler
  • Programmers can quickly access various source code elements like variables, classes, etc
  • Allows an individual to build custom libraries
  • It uses colors, multi-paned and syntax-directed editor for easy in usage

5. Code:: Blocks

With the help of wxWidgets and GUI toolkit, this IDE itself is developed in C++. Code::Blocks offers high customization options for performing operations on all of the major platforms such as Linux, macOS, and Windows.

It allows the addition of functionalities via plugins. For example, features such as compiling and debugging are added through plugins. Users are offered great flexibility to mold the IDE as per the need.

Code::Blocks was built with a focus on C++ programs only, however, it is now capable of working with C programs as well. It comes with some of the basic features, such as debugging, compiling, and automatic code completion.

It also offers features such as profiling, code coverage, code analysis, drag, and drop feature, etc. Have a look at some of the benefits of using Code::Blocks.


  • It comes with an amazing C++ compiler and workspace through which users can combine multiple projects.
  • Its auto code completion feature allows users to work with codes simultaneously.
  • Programmers are allowed to work on multiple projects running in parallel.
  • Programmers are also allowed to toggle between various projects simultaneously running in parallel.
  • It is free to use and comes with a tabbed interface.

6. NetBeans

Written in Java, it is an open-source IDE that comes with an interface tailored with a drag-and-drop feature. It also offers various project templates that can be used for creating C/C++ apps with dynamic as well as static libraries.

NetBeans also allows developers to build C/C++ applications from existing codes along with the usage of an amazing set of tools for achieving robust goals.

Users can also make use of various plugins for extending functionality and can also be monitored remotely for project development. Along with offering features like user-friendliness, powerful auto-indentation, syntax highlighting, and refactoring, NetBeans also comes with an integrated multi-session gdb debugger for efficient and quick debugging.


  • Users are enabled to set properties such as exceptions and variables that can be viewed in the exception window.
  • It aligns the indent and efficiently format codes automatically.
  • Users can have a real-time view of all of the C++ classes.
  • It highlights the variables and keywords written in the C++ programs.
  • Completes the brackets automatically for simultaneous functioning.
  • Comes with loads of pre-built templates to get started easily.

7. GNAT Programming Studio

It is a cutting-edge IDE that is available for free and efficiently streamlines the interaction between developers and the software. GNAT comes with an intuitive interface and an easy-to-use GPS that simplifies the source navigation and highlights the basic ideas of the program. With this, you get advanced support for Ada, SPARK, C, C++, and Python.


  • It comes with a flexible MDI (multiple document interface) for powerful programming
  • Supports multiple languages and offers the feature for code refactoring
  • Has a developer-friendly interface with Drag & Drop features
  • Users are allowed to make use of static & dynamic analysis tools
  • It provides various customization options and is available free of cost
  • Its functionalities can be increased by integrating it with preferred tools

8. CLion

It is a slightly unique IDE for C++ that allows users to eliminate errors in the program quickly. CLion also allows users to keep a check on the performance of developed applications without much hustle and bustle. It works with macOS, Linux, and Windows on their integration with the CMake build system.

CLion offers a user-friendly interface and can be utilized for testing source codes and debugging them with ease. Moreover, users can also implement robust customizations, project management, code analysis, etc. for making the process of coding easy and fast.


  • Simplifies the process of debugging and running for lesser workloads.
  • Allows users to test individual units of source code.
  • Its editor can be customized as per the needs and wants.
  • Management of projects and codes can be done effectively with better control.
  • All the required formatting will be implemented automatically as soon as the code is written.

9. Qt Creator

Qt Creator is a truly cross-platform Integrated Development Environment for C++. It enables users to share projects with the help of a single development tool that runs on various operating systems. It comes with an extremely fast interface that supports static code analysis that is based on the Qt framework.

In addition, it helps programmers with ease in the process of debugging, compiling, profiling, auto-completion of code, and refactoring. Building applications for mobile, desktop, embedded devices, etc. gets simplified, and creating high-quality graphical user interfaces and high-performance applications gets much easier.


  • Allows a wider team to work with each other by providing support to multi-platforms.
  • It makes the process of programming much easier and quicker with the help of robust features, such as debugging, compiling, and profiling.
  • Its automatic code compilation and refactoring feature help users to work simultaneously.
  • The editor offers drag-and-drop functionality along with functionality to analyze static codes.

10. Dev-C++

It is one of the rare IDEs that offers the complete set of features for working with C++ programming. It takes the help of other plugins such as the MinGW port of GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) or any other GCC compiler for offering everything a user wants. However, it only supports Windows.

Standing among the best IDEs for C++, Dev-C++ comes with a lot of unique features like automatic code completion, tool managers, debugging, syntax highlighting, GCC-based compilers, and profiling.


  • Comes with features such as integrated debugging and code compilation.
  • Comes with a customizable editor that can be used for highlighting syntaxes.
  • Supports templates for creating your project types.
  • It offers a package manager for an easy installation process and provides users with add-on libraries.


So here’s the end of the blog! It is a clear fact that IDEs are extremely useful when it comes to software development. They are also useful for increasing productivity by offering various features to the programmers.

However, choosing the right IDE still gets complicated for few individuals. Therefore, before making any decision, look for its key features and check if they suit your demand or not, and then make the decision accordingly.

The blog contains the top 10 IDEs for C++. They’ve been mentioned considering various criteria along with checking the popularity and reviews from the developer community. However, for deep study of any one of the aforementioned IDEs, you can visit their official website.

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