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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Monday (2/2/09) 11:31pm - ... wherein Peter describes Notepad++.

A friend of mine asked for information about Notepad++, and I figured my reply might be of general interest.

Notepad++ is a free Windows program designed to replace Notepad, the OS's built-in text editor.

It has several advantages over the built-in Notepad. 

It has lots of settings you can adjust.  You can specify absolutely everything, down to the color and width of the blinking caret.  As anybody who knows me and computers might guess, I make extensive use of this.  (In case you're wondering:  red, and 2 pixels.)

It does a good job of stealing useful features from other applications.  For instance, it highlights the currently selected line (and, of course, you can specify the highlight color).  It includes the tabbed windows and macro capabilities you see in most non-sucky text editors.  For programmers and HTML monkeys, it has syntax highlighting built in.

In fact, it has a staggering number of built-in features, and you can easily install more using plugins.

But this leads us to the main disadvantage of Notepad++:  it can be a bit daunting for the less computer-savvy.  The menus and submenus on the program's menu bar contain 200-300 items.  Some of the interfaces (I'm thinking particularly of the 'Shortcut Mapper') are truly awful, while others are merely counter-intuitive.  And their help forums are among the worst I've seen for any program I actually use.

It's very much a "get it configured the way you want it, and then forget that the configuration dialogs exist" sort of app.

In any case, it's easy enough to try the program out and see if it works for you.  Those interested in Notepad++ can download it here.  If you like the program, and would like it to replace your built-in Notepad, see the "Notepad Replacement" instructions on that page.

Even if you don't like Notepad++, you may still want to replace the Notepad text editor.  Wikipedia has an exhaustive comparison of text editors here(And I recall lots of people liking TextPad, for what that's worth.)

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From:(Anonymous)
Date:Tuesday (2/3/09) 9:13am
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From:hujhax
Date:Tuesday (2/3/09) 9:24am
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Fair enough -- how long does it take to launch on your machine?
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:Tuesday (2/3/09) 9:29am
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From:hujhax
Date:Tuesday (2/3/09) 9:46am
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Oh wow.  It takes about 0.5s on my machine.  Yeah, 30s would frustrate the hell out of me. :)
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From:wackyengineer
Date:Tuesday (2/3/09) 12:50pm
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I've been partial to Textpad since college - based on your description of Notepad++, they seem somewhat similar in intent. You might also be amused by the text editor poll up on /.
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