If there’s one thing you can count on having when you sit down at a Windows machine, it’s Notepad. The trusty little text editor even comes with the massively stripped-down Server Core edition of Windows Server 2008! Sometimes though, don’t you wish Notepad did just a little bit more? I used to, until I found the absolutely wonderful Notepad2.
Notepad2 looks a lot like Notepad, but it manages to include a ton of useful features while still remaining small and extremely quick. Here’s what it looks like on my Vista machine (sized down to fit):
Notepad2 includes the following main features:
- Syntax highlighting for lots of different programming languages and file formats (C# shown above)
- Bracket matching
- Encoding and newline conversion
- Regular-expression search and replace
There are lots of really useful smaller features too, such as the zoom buttons on the toolbar, bookmarks, and favorites. I also really like the fact that there’s a “Read Only” item on the File menu that toggles the read only status of the file – super handy.
There’s more information on Notepad2 at Wikipedia.
If you do decide to download Notepad2, my advice would be to stick it in your C:WindowsSystem32 folder. That way, you can just type “notepad2” in the Run command or on any command line, and it’ll open. You should also add Notepad2 to your explorer context menu, so that when you right-click on a file, there’s an item to open it in Notepad2:
To do that, download this zip file, extract it, right-click on the .reg file, and choose Merge. If you put Notepad2 somewhere other than the folder I mentioned above, edit the contents of the .reg file first.
Trust me, after you get used to using Notepad2, you’ll miss it dearly when you have to use a machine that only has Notepad. I stick Notepad2 (and the .reg file) on every USB key I have, so that I’ve always got it with me – that’s how much I love it!