We have always tried to feature great software here at Lifehack.org. You know, the stuff to keep you guys and gals productive. You can say whatever you want to about Windows vs. Mac OS X. Maybe you like OS X for its “simplicity” or prefer Windows because you are a hardcore gamer. Either way, no one can deny that Windows has a huge 3rd party software base that users can tap into.
Even though I am a Mac owner, I work in Windows 7, 8 hours a day at the minimum. I have 3 versions of Windows installed virtually on my Mac and a separate machine for a real installation of Windows 7. Programming on Windows is my thing and is what I do “professionally” so I tamper with text day-in and day-out. It’s important to have an awesome text editor to work with.
Let’s take a look at 5 powerful text editors for Windows.
- The venerable Notepad++
Notepad++ is an open source text editor that hosts a massive amount of features for everyday users as well as hackers. NP++ is written in C++ and for most text editing tasks it holds its own. There is text folding, excellent search features with regular expressions, support for syntax highlighting in every programming language you can think of, column editing, tabbed interface, conversions, and also a way for contributors to include plugins.If you are looking for a free (as in free beer) way of editing code and text, there may be no better than NP++ for Windows.
TextPad is a paid application for editing forms of text. It isn’t as robust in the coding realm as NP++, but it is excellent for writing or plain text editing. TextPad supports a tabbed interface, search capabilities, macros for completing common tasks, document selection sidebar interface, spell checking, etc.It’s a simple, small-footprint editor and priced at $27 with a free trial.
- E Text Editor
With a tagline like “The Power of Textmate on Windows” it isn’t hard to guess what the E Text Editor is shooting for. Basically, E is a Textmate clone for Windows. Textmate is a super popular text editing and code handling app on Mac OS X that is beloved by many a coder.E supports Textmate snippets, bundles, version control, supports syntax highlighting for a ton of languages, has great search features, and can be used as a Unix scripting environment inside of Windows.There is a free trial while the full version is $46.95. Let’s hope that E doesn’t fall off the earth like its father app has.
EmEditor is a powerful unicode text editor that does one thing really well; handles and opens extremely large text files. I’m talking about files that are several gigabytes large. I’m not sure the magic behind this editor but it can open huge files and allow users to search them as they are still being opened.If you don’t have a need to open and look at large files, EmEditor is sort of ho-hum as it doesn’t give the user anything extra than Notepad++ does. But, if you need your text editor to stop crashing when you are opening 100MB+ text files, then EmEditor is what you are looking for.There is a free trial and the full license costs $39.99.
In my experience, UltraEdit is one of the most, if not the most, powerful text editing programs on Windows or Mac. It was introduced to my while working my current gig and I have to say it’s pretty insane what the thing can do.It has a multi-row tabbed interface, script browser, macros, XML manager (to help you navigate XML files), give you a function list when working with source code, code syntax highlighting and more. The one thing that may get to you is that the UI is rather cluttered; but that can be remedied.It’s hard to believe the UltraEdit only costs $59.95 for either Windows or Mac because of all the features that it offers its users.
So, if you want to get some real work done on a Windows machine, these are the tools that you need to do it. If you want to get a lot of editing done for no price at all, I can’t suggest NotePad++ enough. But, in my experience, if you want a “professional grade” app for editing, UltraEdit may be the way to go. Either way, you are going to be using one of the best text editing apps that Windows has to offer.