Notepad++ for text and code
A happy review
I've never used a software I've been more impressed with than Notepad++, and I've only used about 5% of the operations available in the menus. (It is pronounced notepad plus plus.)
It beat any other editor I've used for code. It is excellent for html, css and xml, and it handles a couple dozen other codes that I haven't used.
If I was in a hurry to put up a page, I'd often be typing the content between the paragraph tags. Soon it was my default text editor. It's one of the 3 programs I nearly always open when starting the puter.
For text, it beats Notepad, Word, and TextEdit. It's a shame they had to go with a 4 syllable name, so I'll just call it notepad or NP. If I do have to refer to the Microsoft version, I'll type notepad minus minus. (Don't mind me. Some mornings it doesn't take much to amuse me.)
I'm not trying to bad-mouth Word; it does have its uses. When I am finished typing a report, I'll paste it into Word for the spell check and the grammar suggestions. NP does have a spell check plug in if anyone doesn't have Word and wants to stick with the free options. Word also compresses a file. After about 10 pages, the docx will have a smaller file size than a text file with the same content. It's a very nice complement to NP.
But small text files are very efficient. The last paragraph is 435 bytes when saved as a text file. This lets me use them almost like post it notes. A folder becomes like an index, with the file titles in alphabetical order. Small scraps can be saved efficiently. In Word, the same paragraph is 14,565 bytes.
NP has no wavy line distractions. That lets me type without editing at the same time. I can spend some time editing after I have finished writing. That works better for me.
NP's developers have an appreciation for simple. A complication that I didn't appreciate in Word was that it would not select text from where you clicked first, to the second click while holding down the shift key. It would always include the whole word if one of the clicks was in a word, or it would include a space after, or it would mess it up somehow. With NP it is always precisely from the 2 points you have clicked on.
I have seen a few discussions where someone was wondering why a password wouldn't work. It turned out that Word had added a space to the password the person pasted into the form. This might have a possible use, but isn't good for passwords, and it doesn't suit the way I work.
Here are some of the default settings I appreciate. (Most of the settings can be changed if they are not wanted.) One is that in the file menu, it remembers the last 15 documents opened. You can click on any one of them and open it again without going to the folder first.
That file list is something I've wished for occasionally in programs that don't have it. The same goes for the use of F12. In NP, it will toggle all the menu bars to display or not. If you are working on a laptop without a lot of vertical height on the screen, you can press F12 and the menu bars will disappear. Everything visible will be text (working) area. Nice. :)
If you have a few tabs open when you close NP, it will open them when you start the program again. If I am putting together a web page, I'll usually have a cluster of files open. There will be the html page, the content file, a text file of frequently used code snips, and another one of affiliate links. It is nice to have them all together next time I open NP.
The save buttons change color and always indicate if you have any files open that have not yet been saved. A very simple thing that is always nice to know. A word document does not indicate that it isn't saved until you try to close it. There is also a small saved or not saved indicator on each tab that is red when a file isn't saved.
If you do want to try it, here are a couple of settings that make it more useful, and better looking. If you would like to have active links in your text files, go to settings > preferences > misc and click on enable under 'clickable link settings.' The links will have to begin with http, and then a double click will open them.
Under 'view,' I always check 'word wrap.'
For font, I happen to like Calibri. Go to settings > style configurator, and under font style you can pick almost anyone you want. An attractive font makes it more pleasant to work with.
It opens files in tabs. For typing I appreciate that. If I have time to type (or write as people used to say) and have run out of ideas for one file, I can click on another tab and start working on that. I've just started doing that lately, and each time there were obvious things to do with other files.
If you highlight a word, all the other occurrences in the file are also highlighted in a lighter shade. Sometimes I've been surprised by how often I've used a word. It is an inspiration to avoid repetition.
The find and replace will work for all the tabs at once. I have sites with html pages that were getting traffic before I switched to php pages. Each time I add a new page to the site, the menus of all the html pages have to be updated manually. One of the options in the find and replace is "replace all in all opened documents." Having all the html pages of the site opened in tabs means I can add to the menu of all of them with just a couple of clicks. Thank you NP. :) Before I started using NP, this was getting a bit tedious.
There is a forum for any help needed, at the Notepad++ forum. Some of the things people are doing with it there are surprisingly complex.
There is an extensive list of keyboard shortcuts for it, at shortcuts. The list also give a person a quick idea of the things it can do.
There are add ons, skins, and customizations, free and paid. You can create and run macros.
There is no Mac version. According to one person, his biggest disappointment with his Mac was that there was nothing as good as NP.
Everyone is different and I don't expect all the things I appreciate to be useful to everyone, but I do think there are things about Notepad++ that will help almost anyone typing. Hope you enjoy it.
On a rating system from 1 to 10, I'd give it about a dozen smilies.