So, you’re landed here looking for the best text editor? Talking about Text Editors, there’s a huge list of them available for free download. But, which one is the best? How about the plain old Windows’ Notepad? Does it do everything you want it to? No, it lacks a lot of features that it should have had in the first place. Then, how about MS Word? Sure, it’s a great program, and it can save whatever you type as text files too, but it’s not suitable for text files – it’s better used for documents, which have a lot of formatting etc.
Then, which program is the best text editor? It actually depends on what features you’re looking for, but I have tried a few text editors and liked NoteTab the best. I actually use the Pro version of NoteTab, known as NoteTab Pro, which is available as a f ree trial. It also has a free version called NoteTab Lite, which you can download and use for free. Even the free version has loads of features which Windows’ native Notepad lacks. So, what are the features? Here’s a list of a few of the features of NoteTab Pro from my own experience, due to which I feel this is The Best Text Editor for Windows (Note that some of these features aren’t there in the Light version of NoteTab):
1. Open and keep a tabbed list of multiple text files.
You can have many text files open at the same time within NoteTab. It’s similar to how you have multiple browser tabs open. Windows’ Notepad can’t do this. You can switch tabs using the same Ctrl-Tab key combination, which you use to switch browser tabs. I have more than 9-10 tabs open at the same time, most of the times. You can have even more and still NoteTab hardly takes about 10 MB of memory (RAM). That’s a tiny fraction of what today’s programs take.
2. Use a file to capture text from the Windows clipboard.
You can have any open file capture the text that goes into your Windows’ clipboard, automatically. From the Document menu, click the “Use as paste board” or just press the key sequence Shift-Ctrl-P and you’re done. Now, whatever text you copy from any application or program, also gets copied into this file. This paste board tab color is green, to separate it from normal text files. If you use a separate clipbook program to save multiple clipbook items, you can use NoteTab instead.
3. Automatically save the files, at given intervals.
I have set my NoteTab to save any unsaved, open text files every minute. This way, I never lose any work. Previously, I have lost a lot of work, typing into MS Notepad. MS Word also the option of auto save, but MS Notepad and MS Wordpad don’t have such an option. This option is a great life-saver. Even the file which I use to capture clipboard text, saves automatically. Then, once in a while, I clean it of stuff I don’t need or have saved already. There’s also an option to save backup files, each time you save the original file. They go with the .bak extension.
I add an extra layer of protection here and have a folder within my local dropbox folder, where I have all the text files I work on. So, whenever NoteTab automatically saves any file I work on, dropbox uploads the changed file to its server automatically too. So, there’s no way I can lose my work easily, unless there’s a great catastrophe on all of dropbox’s servers as well as my computer.
4. Compose HTML files easily.
If you write html/css files, NoteTab can help you a lot. You won’t need to type in the html/css jargon. It can do it for you and you just concentrate on the content.
5. Open and save files to an FTP server.
You can do this right from within NoteTab. Once you setup the FTP details, you can connect and open/save files between your computer and the FTP server. Very neat option which makes NoteTab the best text editor.
6. Use an Outline type document to organize information (Similar to a CHM help file)
Outline type documents are text documents with information arranged into kind of an index on the left side. They look similar to Windows Help files (also called CHM files). You can have multiple text files’ data within this single Outline document. It’s great to organize data if you have a lot of text files. Again, this feature makes NoteTab the best text editor.
7. Count no. of words and characters typed or selected.
This is very handy for me whenever I type a blog post. If it’s a new text file, you can see the word and characters count details at the bottom of NoteTab, called the status bar. If it’s not a new text file, you can select the text you want to count, and the count will be shown in the bottom status bar. Very useful for me and for other bloggers.
8. Use it to replace MS Notepad.
Before I started using NoteTab, I was used to pressing Win+R key to open the Run dialogue and type notepad or select it from the list, then press Enter to open Notepad. If you’re used to this habit, like I was, you can have notepad open NoteTab instead. Nice, isn’t it?
9. Is always there as an icon in the system tray.
This is a nice option in NoteTab, which when checked, it will always show up as an icon in the system tray. Clicking the X button to close it will actually minimize it to the system tray. You can open it again when needed, from the tray. It will also auto minimize after given amount of time, when working on some other program. All this behavior can be controlled in the options.
10. Have a list of favorite text files.
There’s a favorites menu drop-down, which allows you to add the current file to the favorites list. It’s just like the favorites in Internet Explorer or Bookmarks in Chrome and Opera. You don’t have to remember the location of the file name. Just click the favorite file from the drop-down list and it opens in NoteTab. Very neat! Now, can you understand why NoteTab is the best text editor? I have always been looking for this feature. Who doesn’t like favorites?
11. Built-in spell checker
There’s a built-in spell checker in NoteTab, which you can run on any text file. This is very handy for me because I write my blog posts within NoteTab first (if I’m at the computer). Even MS Wordpad doesn’t have a spell checker.
12. Use a second window.
This is another great feature in NoteTab. It’s available from the Tools drop-down menu. You can use it to compare two text files side by side, or if you want to keep another text file open for reference while typing text into another one. I remember this option is there in the UNIX/Linux text editors like ViM and eMacs.
So, now would you agree that NoteTab is the best text editor for Windows? Do you have or use any other text editor in Windows, which you would like to share here? Let me know in the comments and why that text editor is the best text editor.
This is my 17th day post for UBC
Featured Image Credit: davetron5000