Top 10 C Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) for 2023 – IQCode

Top C IDE or Code Editors for Native English Speakers in the US

Here are some popular C IDEs or code editors favored by developers from the United States:

  • Code::Blocks
  • CLion
  • Eclipse
  • GNAT Programming Studio
  • NetBeans
  • CodeLite
  • Atom
  • PlatformIO
  • KDevelop
  • Visual Studio Code
  • XCode
  • Dev-C++
  • Cscope

Each of these tools has its own strengths and weaknesses, and it is up to the individual developer to decide which one works best for them. Additional resources are available to help you decide which one to use.

The Benefits of Learning C Programming Language and a Brief Overview of IDEs

C programming language is one of the oldest and most popular programming languages in the world. Learning C programming can help you understand fundamental programming concepts, and make learning other high-level programming languages easier. C is also a general-purpose programming language that allows you to create firmware and portable apps, and provides various APIs to interact with the system.

Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is a crucial tool for programmers to write code, providing all the necessary tools for software development. IDEs include a source code editor, build automation tool, and a debugger for testing and debugging code, and some even include real-time smart code completion and validation of faults.

In the next section, we will discuss some of the best C IDEs available, both open-source and commercial software.

Best IDEs and Code Editors for C Programming

When it comes to programming in C, having a reliable and efficient integrated development environment (IDE) or code editor can make a big difference. Here are some of the top options available:

1. Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is a free and open-source code editor with strong support for C programming. It offers customizable functionality, including a range of extensions for added functionality or specific requirements.

2. Code::Blocks

Code::Blocks is a free and open-source IDE that is an excellent option for beginners. It offers a user-friendly interface and a range of debugging tools, making it easier to develop and troubleshoot code.

3. Eclipse IDE

Eclipse is a popular choice for C programmers, providing customizable programming functionality through a range of plug-ins and extensions. It also offers debugging tools and performance monitoring capabilities.

4. Atom

Atom is a free and open-source text editor that offers strong support for C programming, including a range of useful packages and extensions. It also provides Git integration and automatic code formatting.

5. Xcode

Xcode is an IDE specifically designed for programming on macOS and iOS. It provides tools for C programming, including an easy-to-use interface and syntax highlighting, making it an excellent option for those working with Apple technologies.

Codeblocks as a C++ IDE

Codeblocks is an open-source IDE suitable for building C++ programs on Windows, Linux and macOS. It supports various programming languages including GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) and Visual C++. Some of its features include auto-completion, multi-tab interface, multi-project support, flexibility and lightweight capacity for running on older hardware.CLion: A Modern IDE for Running C Code
CLion is a powerful proprietary IDE from JetBrains that supports running C code on Windows, Linux, and macOS. It provides intelligent code aid to help you focus on the most vital aspects of your project. With features like easy debugging, smart code analysis, and code refactoring, it assists you in quickly resolving program faults and evaluating the performance of your application. CLion also allows you to test individual source code components, personalize the editor, and efficiently manage your project and code. With CLion, developers can easily run and debug programs on Linux, Mac, and Windows.

Eclipse IDE for C/C++ Programming

Eclipse is a widely-used, open-source IDE for C/C++ programming with a powerful interface. Originally designed for Java, Eclipse now supports multiple programming languages and works on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. The IDE offers drag-and-drop functionality, smart code completion using readymade templates, static code analysis, code refactoring, Git integration, and cross-platform support. As an Eclipse user, you can report any bugs you find on their website and benefit from their rich community and productivity booster.

GNAT Programming Studio

GNAT Programming Studio (GPS) is a powerful, free IDE that facilitates smoother communication among software engineers. It offers features like code compilation, debugging, profiling, coverage and auto-completion. Additionally, GPS provides a class browser similar to that of Code::Blocks and a drag-and-drop feature, making it user-friendly. It also supports cross-platform compatibility.

NetBeans: A Java-Based IDE for C/C++ Programming

Apache NetBeans is a popular Java-based IDE for C/C++ programming that is free and open-source. It offers a drag-and-drop interface and many project templates for ease of use. The IDE also comes with a comprehensive set of tools for C/C++ programmers, making it a great choice for developers.

Features of NetBeans include the ability to highlight code syntax, create breakpoints, and work with a variety of compilers. It can also modify code format automatically and highlight variables and keywords. Ready-to-use C code templates are available, and it works on platforms such as OS X, Windows, Solaris, and Linux. Its integration of the GNU debugger is especially helpful for debugging purposes.


CodeLite is a free and open-source IDE used for C programming. It enables users to refactor existing code with syntax highlighting. The following are its features:

  • Compatible with cscope (a code search tool)
  • Customizable syntax highlighting
  • Assists with file navigation using a tree view
  • Supports Windows, Linux, and OSX platforms
  • Provides generic compiler support and error handling via Buildtab

Atom: A Simplified C Programming IDE

Atom is a user-friendly editor for coding in C. With its customizable settings, you can easily modify it to suit your programming needs. This C Programming IDE offers efficient features enabling you to search, preview and replace any text as you type.


  • Built-in package management system.
  • Cross-platform accessibility.
  • Command palette for frequently used actions.
  • Easy search, preview, and replace of text within project or specific files.
  • Compatible with Windows, Linux, and OS X.

Enjoy coding with Atom!

PlatformIO: An Overview

Code with ease and efficiency using PlatformIO, a comprehensive software for writing C programs. Its smart code completion feature is perfect for professional application development.


  • Supports both dark and bright color schemes.
  • Includes support for over 200 embedded boards.
  • Enables quick searching of keywords and missed headers.
  • Compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems.

KDevelop: An Integrated Programming Environment

[KDevelop] is an open source, cross-platform IDE that provides a seamless development environment for C/C++ programmers. It supports popular version control systems such as Git, Subversion, CVS, and Mercurial, among others. Additionally, KDevelop allows users to work with various languages via plugins including PHP, Python, and Ruby. With syntax highlighting, automated indentation, automatic code completion, and easy navigation, KDevelop offers a comprehensive development experience. Other available features include rainbow highlighting, robust search and replace functionality, assignable shortcuts, external script compatibility, and more.

* Supports Windows, macOS, Linux, and other operating systems
* Project Management, Unit Testing, and Graphical Debugger support included
* Built-in Doxygen support


Visual Studio Code is an open-source editor provided by Microsoft for various programming languages, including C. It is cross-platform and can run on Mac, Linux, and Windows. It is lightweight and can run on old hardware. It provides debugging, task running, syntax highlighting, code navigation, and version control. It also has an excellent C compiler to manage multiple versions of the same software. However, for more sophisticated operations, Microsoft’s IDE rival Visual Studio may be a better choice.


  • Supports intelligent code completion, snippets, and code refactoring.
  • Completely portable.
  • Easy customization.
  • Embedded Git control.

Xcode: A Powerful IDE for macOS Developers

Xcode is a robust IDE designed for macOS C/C++ developers. It offers smart code completion, syntax highlighting, interactive UI, and other features that make coding a breeze. With Xcode’s built-in Interface Builder, you can visually develop and test your UI without writing any code. Plus, it supports Git version control to manage your source code.

Xcode has many capabilities, including multi-platform app templates, rapid app testing, and built-in support for Objective-C, Swift, and C++. It is a perfect tool for developing apps for Apple’s App Store.

Some of Xcode’s notable features include complete documentation, continuous integration, and static code analysis. Give it a try today and see how much easier coding can be!

Dev-C++: A Full-Featured IDE for C and C++ Programming

Dev-C++ is an IDE that offers a complete toolset for C and C++ programming languages. It supports compilers based on GCC and can be compiled with the GNU Compiler Collection MinGW port or any other GCC compiler. With syntax highlighting, code completion, project manager, and editable shortcuts, Dev-C++ offers a user-friendly experience. Additionally, Dev-C++ also provides CVS support and a tool manager. It is compatible with the Windows operating system.


Cscope is a handy screen-based interactive application used for searching specific code components in C, lex, or yacc source files. It is now a part of Vim. Here are its features:

  • It searches for specific code elements in the source files.
  • You can edit and find your source files much faster than using a traditional editor.
  • Cscope recognizes function calls, C language identifiers and keywords. It also detects when a function is called and when it is performing the calling.

Choosing the Right C IDE: Benefits and Drawbacks

Using C IDEs offers prebuilt code templates that simplify coding and increase productivity. Although each editor has unique features, seeking professional advice can aid in choosing the most suitable IDE for an enhanced programming experience. Leveraging IDEs can help programmers write error-free code with speed and efficiency. As there are numerous IDE options, selecting the right one is vital, as each has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Additional Resources

Looking to improve your knowledge and skills in C? Check out these resources:

  • Online C compiler:
  • C projects:
  • Top features of C language:
  • Differences between C and Python:×180.png
  • Differences between C and C++:

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