Editor software is a generic computer term used to describe software that creates or alters different types of information. There are many kinds of editor software, and most have no relation to one another. For example, video editing software and text editing software are both editors, but they have practically nothing else in common. The most common types of editor software are plain-text editors, word processing software and media editors.
This type of software covers a lot of ground in computer terms. Nearly everything on a computer may be altered in some way. Each of these aspects has a specific type of software used to edit it, and each of these programs is rightly called editor software. Even so, most users will only use a handful of different types of editing software in the day-to-day computer experience.
Plain-text editor software is built into every computer operating system. These programs allow writing and saving text in a format that doesn’t include additional information. Since there isn’t additional saved data, the files are very small and may be opened in nearly any plain-text editor with no conversion or loss of formatting. Plain-text formats are some of the oldest on the Internet; they were common long before graphic interfaces changed the way people wrote documents.
Word processing software is a more modern way of transmitting text. These programs have advanced formatting capabilities and font use, as well as embedded graphics, tables and charts. When a word processing editor saves its file, it includes a lot of additional information related to formatting, font use and special data. Since it has so much additional information, the file sizes are larger than plain-text, and programs outside of the one that saved the file have difficulty opening it.
Media editor software creates or transforms audio, video or images. These types of software are often very specialized with a single program handling a single job. For instance, to make a digital video disk (DVD) of home movies, one piece of conversion software might take video from an outside source and digitize it for editing—then, another would edit it, a different program would create a DVD of the video and then a final program would make the box art for the disc. Each of these programs is an editor for its specific kind of media.
Conversion software is on the edge of editor software. A piece of editor software will create or alter something under the complete control of a user. Conversion software will take something and convert it to something else; the user tells the software to convert, but doesn’t actively control the information during the process. Conversion is often a step in a larger editing process. For instance, in the example above, the homemade DVD couldn’t be made without the first conversion step.