Review: Notepad2

Summary: Notepad2 is a replacement for Windows Notepad. If you ever feel limited by notepad, Notepad2 may well overcome these limitations for you. It works as a simple text editor, opens very large files, and colour highlights syntax in HTML and other files. Oh, and it’s free.

OK, so review is overstating it. As usual here, this isn’t really an attempt at a full review as such, but that’s the keyword people will search on, so that’s what I’ll call it. Anyway, on with it, whatever it is…

There are limitations to Notepad…

  • It struggles to open big files.
  • No colour coding for your HTML (or any other languages).
  • No toolbar, so some common operations are a little slower.
  • Makes a mess of opening Unix format files, failing to read their line breaks.

If you’ve never come accross any of these problems, you may not need Notepad2. If you have, you do.

I’ve tested it with opening files of over 100Mb, and it manages fine – even binary files. It can search and replace accross large files, which Notepad struggles with. It’s still only around 500kb. It colour highlights your HTML, PHP, and CSS, and presumably other things too (through that’s all I’ve tested with). It’s speedy. It can zoom in or out on the text, making the font big for easy reading, or zooming out far too much to be readable, but perfect for getting an overview of the text.

At work, it’s replaced emacs as my editor of choice for opening huge unix format log files, like logs from Raptor firewalls. At home, it’s replaced HomeSite as my main HTML editor. HomeSite is still a bit better, but Notepad2 is enough faster to be worth the trade-off.

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p>Convinced? Get it here. It’s free, but the author appreciates a donation to Amnesty International.

Update 2005-10-31: I ended up switching from Notepad2 to Notepad++, which is even better – you won’t go far wrong with either, though.