Windows Client OS

Free Notepad Replacements

Freeware Notepad Replacements

Notepad is one of the few tools that have always been a part of Windows, but in the process of updating and improving the OS, were left behind and have not evolved at all.

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When talking to people from Microsoft I got the clear impression that Microsoft views Notepad as a final product and does not plan to make any changes or additions to it in the foreseeable future.

Notepad has some disadvantages that are clear to any person using it on a daily basis. That’s why many programmers and 3rd-party software developers looked into developing better tools that will still be as simple to use as Notepad, yet offer additional features and capabilities that were left out of the original Notepad.

In the article I will try to list some of these tools. Note that since these are 3rd-party tools and are written by other people than myself, I cannot provide any sort of support or any kind of guarantee. Also, since make note that links and version numbers might change with time.

If you know of any other totally free tools (yes, free, 100% free, no nags, shareware or feature limited) please let me know.

My favorites are at the top of this list.

Notepad ++

(Currently v5.3.1)

Notepad++ is a free source code editor (and Notepad replacement) which supports several programming languages running under the MS Windows environment.

Here are some of the features of Notepad++ :

  • Syntax Highlighting and Syntax Folding – Supported languages: C, C++, Java, C#, XML, HTML, PHP, Javascript, RC resource file, makefile, ASCII art file (extension .nfo), doxygen, ini file, batch file, ASP, VB/VBS source files, SQL, Objective-C, CSS, Pascal, Perl, Python, Lua, TCL, Assembler, Ruby, Lisp, Scheme, Properties, Diff, Smalltalk, Postscript and VHDL.
  • User Defined Syntax Highlighting – It allows user to define his own language : not only the syntax highlighting keywords, but also the syntax folding keywords, comment keywords and the operators.
  • Auto-completion – For most supported languages, user can make his/her own API list (or download the api files from dowload section).
  • Multi-Document – You can edit several documents at the same time.
  • Regular Expression Search/Replace supported – You can search and replace one string in the document by using the regular expression.
  • Full Drag ‘N’ Drop supported – You can open a document by drag & drop.
  • Zoom in and zoom out
  • Multi-Language environment supported – The Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic and Hebrew Windows environments are supported.
  • Brace and Indent guideline Highlighting – When the caret stay beside of one of those symbol { } [ ] ( ) , the symbol beside of caret and its symmetric opposite symbol will be highlighted, as well as the indent guideline (if any) in order to locate the block more easily.

And more.

Download Notepad ++ (943 kb)


(Currently v3.0.20)

The original Notepad shipped with Windows is probably the handiest program of all times, small, fast, without frills! Notepad2 tries to follow this principle, it’s a small, fast and free text editor with syntax highlighting for HTML and other common languages.

Small, fast, easy to use. The only drawback I found was that it doesn’t use tabs.

Download Notepad2 (242 kb)


(Currently v3.51)

Metapad is a small, fast (and completely free) text editor for Windows 9x/NT/XP with similar features to Microsoft Notepad but with many extra (and rather useful) features. It was designed to completely replace Notepad since it includes all of Notepad’s features and much, much more.

Download Metapad (46 kb)


(Currently v1.0.062)

SimpEdit is freeware and a replacement for Notepad with many features: Notepad replacement with syntax highlight, C++, C#, CSS, HTML, INI, JAVA, JS, BAT/CMD, INNO, NSIS,Pascal/Delphi, Perl, PHP, Python, SQL, TCL, TeX, XML Resource file and Txt. You can encrypt your text with Twofish 256 bit, and print headers and footers. Preview HTML with the internal browser. It also comes with an internal hexeditor. Autocorrection feature with support for many HTML tags and Bookmark added. Optimized your HTML with TIDY, and much more.

Download SimpEdit (788 kb)


(Currently v4.5.3)

PSPad is another nice freeware notepad replacement. Here are some of its features:

  • Work on several documents at the same time
  • Save desktop session to later reopen all open files
  • FTP client – you can edit files directly from the web
  • Macro recorder to record, save and load macros
  • Search and replace in files
  • Text difference with color-coded differences highlighted
  • Templates (HTML tags, scripts, code templates…)
  • installation contains templates for HTML, PHP, Pascal, JScript, VBScript, MySQL, MS-Dos, Perl,…
  • Syntax highlighting auto set by file type
  • Auto correction
  • Intelligent internal HTML preview using IE and Mozilla
  • Full HEX editor
  • Spell checker

And more.

Download PSPad installer (3.17 mb)

BTW, you can easily add the new Notepad replacement to the Send To menu. Read Send To Notepad Shortcut for more info.

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