Market share of the most used C/C++ IDEs in 2018, statistics and estimates

These are the results of a research study to determine which are the most used C/C++ IDEs in 2018. They include the estimated market share for the top IDEs, but also the estimated number of users and of C/C++ developers in the world.

What are the most used C/C++ IDEs?

I wanted to find out what are the most popular C/C++ IDE, so I decided to run several polls and to collect data to get some answers.

Few weeks and many votes later, these are the top results:

IDE share
Visual Studio 28.43%
Vim 16.54%
Qt Creator 11.64%
Visual Studio Code 10.31%
CLion 8.91%

As you might have noticed, the second place is hold by Vim, technically a text editor, but many developers use it with (several) plugins as a proper IDE.

The full results including all the entries with at least 1% of votes are showed in this pie chart:

market share of the most used C/C++ IDEs - pie chart

In this chart “others” includes all the entries with less than 1% of votes. Some notable IDEs in this group are


  1. Gennaro Prota

    Nice summary, Davide. I hadn’t noticed that you could select more than one option. I certainly use Visual Studio, too; and, for my current job, I’m (also) using a modified version of Eclipse. My preference goes, in order, to Vim, then Visual Studio, then Eclipse (then Qt Creator).

  2. Tim

    What’s your definition of a ‘text editor’?

    1. slav

      Yeah, would be really nice to know the definition since Microsoft positions VS Code as a “streamlined code editor” and FAQ says that “it leaves more complex workflows to fuller featured IDEs”. However in this article VS Code wasn’t excluded from IDEs-noly chart.

    2. Davide Coppola (Post author)

      A text editor is a generic program to edit text, not designed and/or developer for a particular purpose.

      I guess you are asking this because of VS Code.

      The reason for keeping VS Code in the results without editors is that VC Code is a code editor whereas Vim, emacs and others are “generic” text editors.

      Furthermore, it comes with built-in features that make it closer to an IDE rather than a text editor with plugins.

      1. Frydac

        I guess you could draw some line between these when you choose your words carefully.. but what’s the point exactly?
        Imo they are directly competing for the same market/users, are they not?

  3. Max

    Did you compare the data of the different sources against each other?
    If they differ too much it could be a sign of biased sources.

    It would be nice to know (maybe for a future poll) what kind of development was done on each IDE/text editor. I always used vim because it’s there already, it launches instantly and I can compile sort of fast (:wq gcc…etc).

    I only moved to CLion (and way before it to eclipse) when I had to code big projects in C/C++, in contrast to the small things I do with Vim.

    Great article by the way!

    1. Davide Coppola (Post author)

      Thanks Max,

      the data collected from other sources reflects the results from Reddit, at least for the top choices. What’s different it’s the percentage of minor IDEs, but that’s mostly noise (or lack of).

      I am definitely going to run a more detailed poll in the future as yours and many other questions are still unanswered.

  4. Anil

    I never thought Visual studio so popular among c++ developers.Nice analytics.

  5. Ellis

    Out of interest, what plugins are people using in Vim that come remotely close to the advanced template refactoring capabilities of Eclipse CDT? Some of the clang plugins look like they’ll do autocomplete etc, but nothing that advanced.

    1. Andreas Neustifter

      I use cscope for completion and jumping around. Not sure if there is any way to do actual IDE-style refactoring with Vim.

  6. Andreas Neustifter

    Would be interesting to survey what people use to turn Vim into an IDE of sorts…

    1. Davide Coppola (Post author)


      I am planning a more accurate poll in the future.

      1. Gennaro Prota

        You might want to also ask what is the OS on which the IDE/editor is run.

  7. Daniel Glasser

    Interesting, but I suspect a bit tilted by respondent self-selection and skinning. Eclipse comes under the covers of many IDEs with other names, for example.

    IDE aside, MS Visual Studio has a major negative for some C developers when used with the MS compiler, which is support (or lack thereof) for C99 and C11 features, and lack of code awareness in the IDE for them.

  8. Bryan

    I suspect a large group of those using Visual Studio are not aware they they can download and use other environments. It may be more a measure of “who’s using windows” than “who likes visual studio”..


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