Notepad is one of my favorite programs in Windows, which is why Microsoft has always included it in every version of Windows since Windows 1.0, which came out almost 30 years ago. Not only does it have a long history, but it also maintains a clean and simple interface. Notepad is a simple text editor that can come in handy when you don’t need text formatting for your document.
However, there are times when a few extra features would make a text editor much more useful without being overkill. Microsoft Word is what I consider overkill because it is primarily a word processor rather than a word editor. In this article, I’ll mention 10 of the most popular alternatives to Notepad and explain why they can make your life a little easier.
Notepad++ is probably the most popular text editor used outside of Notepad. It has a whole set of features that make it great for simple and complex tasks. If you just want Notepad with a few extra features like line numbers, better search, multi-tabbed interface, spell checker, etc. then you can just use Notepad++ out of the box as is.
However, the main features of Notepad++ that make it really useful are syntax highlighting while writing code, syntax collapsing, feature-rich editing, auto-completion, WYSIWYG for printing, and more. This tool is very popular among programmers and supports a number of languages including C, C++, C#, Objective C, Pascal, HTML and XML to name a few. Notepad++ is also under active development and they release updates quite often.
My second favorite would be EditPad Lite because it’s actually more like Notepad than Notepad++. It doesn’t do syntax highlighting for code like Notepad++ does, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you’re not a programmer. I would recommend this program over Notepad++ for those who are looking for a replacement for Notepad but don’t care about code highlighting features. This program is also updated regularly.
Here are some strengths of EditPad Lite that make it a better text editor than Notepad:
– Allows you to open many text files at the same time (unlimited)
– Includes advanced search and placement functionality that is better than any other editor
– Includes a feature called Clip Collection that stores a list of text clips for reuse later
– Automatic auto-save and backup features so you never lose your work
– Unlimited undos and redoes, even if you save the file
PSPad is another tool that is more oriented towards programmers and thus includes features like syntax highlighting, built-in FTP client, macro recording, user-defined highlighting, full HEX editor, integrated CSS editor, and more.
In terms of normal text editor features, PSPad includes spell check, autocorrect, text distinction, search and replace, multiple tabs, and more. I mention a little higher than some of the other editors because it has recently been updated. However, PSPad is ad-supported, so you should be careful when you install it, as it will ask you to install other apps during installation. You have to click reject about 4 times which is a bit annoying.
Notepad 2 literally looks almost the same as Windows Notepad except for a few extra features like syntax highlighting for multiple web languages, regular expression search and replace, rectangular mouse selection, long line highlighter, auto indent, parentheses and more .
Notepad2 is the best option for those who need a Notepad with several advanced options and the ability to write rich code in languages such as HTML, PHP, ASP, JS, CSS, Java, SQL, Perl, and more. The program hasn’t been updated since 2012, but it’s still a decent option.
TED Notepad is a basic text editor with a simple and intuitive interface. It has all basic text editing features like line number and multiple undo/redo, external file changes, autosave and restore, etc.
In addition, it has a great search function, persistent clipboards, autocomplete, and a bunch of text conversion tools. Overall, I really enjoyed using TED Notepad and was surprised at how useful it was.
DocPad is a newer program that is a pretty good alternative to Notepad. It focuses more on text editing features and is not a good option for programmers. It supports adding bookmarks, locking indents, character conversion, drag and drop support, print preview, file history, search and replace, skinning UI, trailing whitespace trimming, word wrapping, and more.
I put this app higher on the list because it supports the latest operating systems and has a good set of features.
ATPad hasn’t been updated since about 2010, but it has a nice interface and good features. It’s actually most useful if you need to work with multiple files in a tabbed interface. It has all the basic text editing features like line numbers, word wrapping, bookmarks, whitespace display, unlimited redo/undo, text fragments and more. It also requires no installation.
NoteTab Light is not the most powerful text editor, but it is a great replacement for Notepad. The program aims to be a text editor and coding tool, but the free version does not include syntax highlighting and only supports HTML and CSS.
As for text editing, it supports text snippets, pasting from the clipboard, in-text calculations, and variable-width fonts. Unfortunately, some key features such as spell check, word count, print preview, and multi-level undo/redo are not available in the free version. Since many free alternatives have these extra features, I’ll list this one near the end of the list.
GetDiz is a notepad replacement that has a slightly different look and feel than the rest of the text editors out there. By default, the background is dark blue and the text is white, although this can be changed in the settings.
As the name suggests, the program displays DIZ and NFO files with advanced functionality and can also display ASCII images. You can also save text, DIZ or NFO files as GIF images.
FluentNotepad is a notepad replacement that’s supposed to look like Office with a ribbon UI, but it’s pretty simple. Since it hasn’t been updated since 2010, I don’t highly recommend this app. Also, the ribbon interface only has one tab, and the developer didn’t add anything else after that.
The only good thing it can do is syntax highlighting for 10 programming languages and opening multiple tabs. It doesn’t have a lot of text editing features, and it also doesn’t have a lot of code manipulation features.
So these apps are probably enough for anyone to find a suitable replacement for Notepad. It basically boils down to whether or not you need syntax highlighting for coding. If you use another app not mentioned here, let us know in the comments. Enjoy!