Notepad is one of my favorite programs in Windows and that’s why Microsoft has always included it in every version of Windows shipped since Windows 1.0, which was almost 30 years ago. Not only does it have a long history, but it also has maintained its clean and simple interface. Notepad is a simple text editor that can come in handy when you don’t need any text formatting for your document.
However, there are occasions where a few extra features would make the text editor much more useful without being overkill. Microsoft Word is what I would consider overkill as it’s mainly a word processor, not a text editor. In this article, I’m going to mention 10 of the most popular alternatives to Notepad and why they can make your life a bit easier.
Notepad++ is probably the most popular text editor that is used outside of Notepad. It has a whole bunch of features that make it great for simple or complex tasks. If you just want Notepad with a couple of extra features like line numbers, better search, multi-tabbed interface, spell check, 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 when writing code, syntax folding, multi-editing, aut0-completion, WYSIWYG for printing and lots more. This tool is very popular amongst coders and it supports a whole bunch of languages including C, C++, C#, Objective C, Pascal, HTML, and XML to name just a few. Notepad++ is also actively developed and they release updates fairly often.
My second favorite would have to be EditPad Lite because it’s actually more like Notepad than Notepad++ is. 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 coder. I would actually recommend this program over Notepad++ for those looking for a Notepad replacement, but don’t care for the code highlighting features. This program is also regularly updated.
Here are some of the strong points of EditPad Lite that make it a better text editor than Notepad:
– Allows you to open many text files at once (unlimited)
– Includes an extensive search and place feature that is better than any other editor
– Includes a feature called Clip Collection that stores a list of text snippets for reuse later
– Automatic auto-save and backup features so that you never lose your work
– Unlimited undo and redo even if you save the file
PSPad is another tool that is geared more towards coders and therefore includes features like syntax highlighting, built-in FTP client, macro recorder, user-defined highlighting, full HEX editor, integrated CSS editor, etc.
In terms of normal text editor features, PSPad includes a spell checker, auto-correction, text difference, search and replace, multiple tabs, etc. I mention a bit higher than some of the other editors because it has been updated recently. However, PSPad is ad-supported so you have to be careful when you install it because it will ask you to install other programs during the install. You have to click Decline about 4 times, which is a bit annoying.
Notepad2 literally looks almost exactly like the Windows Notepad, except for a few extra features like syntax highlighting for several web languages, regular expression search and replace, rectangular selection using mouse, long line marker, auto indent, brace matching, etc.
Notepad2 is the best option for those who want Notepad with just a couple of extra options plus the ability to write formatted code in languages like 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 clean interface. It’s got all the basic text editing features like line number and multiple undo/redo, outside file modifications, aut0-save and recovery, etc.
In addition, it has a great search feature, permanent clipboards, auto-completion, and a bunch of text-transforming tools. Overall, I really liked using TED Notepad and was surprised by its usefulness.
DocPad is a newer application that is a fairly good alternative to Notepad. It focuses more on text editing features and isn’t a good option for coders. It supports bookmarking, block indentation, character conversion, drag and drop support, print preview, file history, search and replace, skinnable UI, trim trailing spaces, word wrap, etc.
I have this program higher on the list because it’s supports the latest operating systems and has a good feature set.
ATPad hasn’t been updated since around 2010, but it’s got a nice interface and good features. It’s actually the most useful if you need to work with multiple files in a tabbed interface. It’s got all the basic text editing functions like line numbers, word wrapping, bookmarks, displaying white spaces, unlimited redo/undo, text snippets, etc. It doesn’t require any installation either.
NoteTab Light isn’t the most powerful text editor out there, but it’s a great Notepad replacement. The program aims to be a text editor and a coding tool, but the free version does not include syntax highlighting and it only supports HTML and CSS.
In terms of text editing, it supports text snippets, clipboard pasting, in-text calculations, and variable-width fonts. Unfortunately, a few key features like a spell checker, word count, print preview, and multi-level undo/redo are not available in the free version. Since a lot of the free alternatives have these extra features, I’m listing this one closer to the bottom of the list.
GetDiz is a notepad replacement app that has a bit of a 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, though you can change this in the settings.
As the name suggests, the program displays DIZ and NFO files with enhanced functionality and the program can also display ASCII art. You can also save out text, DIZ or NFO files as GIF images.
FluentNotepad is a notepad replacement that is supposed to look like Office with the Ribbon UI, but it’s quite basic. Since it hasn’t been updated since 2010, I don’t recommend this program too highly. Also, the ribbon UI only has one tab and the developer never added anything else after that.
The only good thing it can do is syntax highlighting for 10 coding languages and opening multiple tabs. It doesn’t have very many text editing features and not many code manipulation features either.
So those are probably enough programs for anyone to find the right replacement to Notepad. It basically comes down to whether you need syntax highlighting for coding or not. If you use a different program not mentioned here, let us know in the comments. Enjoy!