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Notepad2 (featured freeware)

This series takes a look at some of the best free software available on the World Wide Web.

The default plain text editor on Windows is called Notepad, and hasn’t had any major changes since its inception way back in 1985. Up until Windows 95, there wasn’t even a choice of fonts! Only Fixedsys was available.

However people today still use it on a daily basis because it offers fast, simple plain-text editing on the go. Just double-click on the file, change one or two things, Ctrl+S and we’re done.

It’s particularly popular among programmers and web-coders. But everyone is also aware of its many limitations. It doesn’t have auto-indent support, doesn’t support syntax highlighting, bracket matching, and other features such as regex-based find-and-replace.

Enter Notepad2

This is where Notepad2 steps in. Written by Florian Balmer, it is a free notepad-like app with the intent of replacing the original Notepad for day-to-day text slinging.

Besides having all the features mentioned above (the original Notepad’s limitations), it is also extremely fast and super-easy to use.

The deal-maker for me was the fact that it:

  • Supports automatic indentation
  • Has bracket matching
  • Supports syntax-highlighting for every major programming/scripting language out there. It recognises simple Java files, CSS, XML, and HTML files, and last time I was creating an Apache config. file, and it even recognised that
  • Has a multitude of customisable options and configurations to make it work exactly the same way you do.

Not once has Notepad2 let me down. Its features are almost perfect and it’s super fast. I also love the fact that it doesn’t support a multi-document interface. This is great because it’s simply meant to be a notepad replacement, not a full-featured IDE.


Extra: Replace notepad.exe with Notepad2.exe

There would understandably be a great demand for this hack, since it would enable you to double-click on a text file and have Notepad2 take care of your editing work. No more right click > open with… > Notepad2.

Luckily, there is a solution! Try this hack, and if it doesn’t work, try a Google search.

Got a favourite editor you use? Perhaps you use the popular Notepad++ instead? Let me know in the comments!

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