Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Notepad Replacements

I think I've just about come full circle.

For the longest time, I couldn't be bothered looking up log files, text files or the like without using a full-blown office-suite word-processing application. Oh the power and flexibility I thought it gave me.

However, I find myself launching the shortcut for a notepad tool more and more. Now it seems like I was trying to drive a nail with a sledgehammer. Duh! What was I thinking?

I think there are several reasons for my fondness for notepad programs while working with text-files;

  1. They are small,
  2. They launch fast,
  3. Many incorporate additional features that benefit Web-code inspection and writing, and
  4. All can be kept on a USB drive.

So I offer you my quick-picks for handy notepad editors (and you won't find any by Microsoft here).

Freeware Notepads

NOTEPAD++ - This is my most used notepad application today. Why do I love thee? Let me name some ways...syntax highlighting, tabbed multi-document views (like Firefox!), drag and drop handling of files, bookmarking, brace and indent guide highlighting, macro support, color syntax printing (if you have a color printer), and plugins to enhance functionality. The tabbed browsing and syntax features alone sold me. And you can save your "session" and reopen where you left-off--multiple tabs and more. It makes managing several log files or code snippets at the same time a breeze.

flo's freeware - Notepad2 - This used to be in my #1 spot until Notepad++ came along. I still like it because it is tiny, light and fast. Really fast. If you like Microsoft's notepad program, but need some expanded capabilities, this is the program for you.

PSPad - freeware Unicode developer editor for HTML, PHP, XHTML, JavaScript, ASP, Perl, C and many other languages with HEX editor and multilingual interface. Has a FTP client and macro recorder. Compare text differences with highlighting, manage templates, spellchecking..tons of stuff. Also supports specialized "extension" add-ons to perform additional activities.

WikidPad - just found this interesting notepad. Uses a wiki-like format for managing various notes, thoughts, todo-lists, contacts, etc. Lets you link and organize them together with a tree/outline view. More of a personal information manager in a notepad style editor. It's an interesting combination. Worth a look.

A43 File Management Utility - (freeware) While not a notepad per se, but a windowed file management and browser utility, it does have one handily related "notepad" feature. The quick-view pane at the bottom can be flipped to a text-editor/notepad. Then you can just browse for the text/log files you want to inspect in the top section and drag-n-drop them onto the viewer pane to open them up for inspection. Nice and simple one-two punch in a single application!

Previously posted and (slightly) related:

Freeware HTML Editors

Microsoft XML Notepad 2006 (Free)



Michael said...

Claus - don't know why I'm always trying out new notepad programs since I'm not a heavy user of these programs. I had been using Notepad++ but when I was reviewing some alternatives for use on my USB stick I found an excellent program with a weird name - Ted Notepad. Do be put off by the name - this is a great notepad prog and very small so makes a good choice for a USB stick. Might not take you away from Notepad++ (I still have it installed) but I think you will like it's many features and small footprint.

Keep 'em coming!

Claus said...


I did know about TED Notepad. It's a nice app. as well.

I guess I do kinda have an issue with the name, but probably for not the same reason you think.

We have some DOS server boxes (I know!) that we still have to do configurations on. Usually we use the DOS Edit program, but we need to maintain them with DOS boot floppyies (I know!) and space is a premium on those things. So we use TED.COM as the barest of bare text editors. Wow!

Even more are listed on this page: List of text editors - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is helpful as well, nice tables: Comparison of text editors - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For Hard-Core (DOS) text editing users...Free Software for DOS Page - Text Editors.

But really, how many folks really use DOS/Command line now-a-days?


Michael said...

Thanks for the additional links; WOW, I just thought I had tried out a lot of Notepad programs!

Hey, if you ever run out of floppies, let me know -- I'm sure I have some laying around somewhere... :>)