There are many code and text editors, including Edit, Ultraedit and Scintilla-based SciTE. Some of them are just simple notepads, others are complex programming editors like Atom and Sublime Text. The Open Source Code Editor Notepad++ also falls into the last category. The freeware is available as installable version and portable version for Windows and can be extended with plug-ins.
The Notepad++ text editor is one of the best open source programs and can do much more than the Notepad editor included in Windows. In particular, the freeware offers numerous functions for programmers who, for example, edit source code for Windows or Linux. The code editor highlights HTML tags and programming instructions in color or marks the start and end points of code blocks, loops or functions. Thus Notepad++ is also suitable for creating text documents with LaTeX, which we will discuss in the blog post Introduction to LaTeX.
Text editor for developers
When storing text files, Notepad++ also supports Unicode through UTF-8 (with and without BOM) as well as UCS-2 with Little or Big Endian in addition to ANSI encoding. Various character sets such as Western and Eastern European, Greek, Turkish, Chinese and Japanese are also available. Even the code page OEM 852 used under DOS is supported by the open source editor, which can edit old source codes and save them converted to UTF-8.
If you are not satisfied with the functionality, you can extend Notepad++ with plug-ins, some of which are available for download on the manufacturer’s website.
Surface with Tabs
The user interface of Notepad++ comes without ribbons. Important functions can not only be found in the menus, but can also be accessed via the icons at the top of the program window. If you open a new file, it appears in a new tab instead of another window, which makes it easier to switch between scripts and prevents multiple opening of the same file. If you accidentally reopen a text file opened in Notepad++, the program simply jumps to the tab in which it is already displayed. There is no need to reopen a document, as is the case with Microsoft’s Windows Editor, so that you do not accidentally “break” a document in the confusion of several open windows. In addition, files that are open in the Notepad++ tabs are still present after you end a session and are displayed again when you restart the program. This behavior can be turned off in the settings, so that Notepad++ closes all tabs together with the program and does not open them again automatically.
Search and change
In the open source editor Notepad++ for Windows the search with simple strings and regular expressions is possible, whereby an auto-completion helps. The search function is not limited to documents opened in Notepad++. With the folder search function, text files can be searched in entire folder structures. Notepad++ also takes spelling into account. Because the open source editor can be extended by the spell checker GNU Aspell, for which a German dictionary is available.
Install or use portable
Notepad++ is open source software for Microsoft Windows. It can be installed or used as portable software. The portable version can be unpacked on a USB stick and then run on different computers without installation. If you want to use Notepad++ under Linux, you have to use Wine, whereas the version Notepad++ Portable is preferable. Alternatively for Linux there is the Notepadqq inspired by Notepad++.