I use Windows pretty frequently for both work and play, and am delighted about having discovered Notepad++ some four or five years ago. This means that I no longer need to have anything to do with Windows’ loathsome Notepad application. Which is why it features as this week’s Saturday Night Freeware.
Notepad++ is a free (GPL) “Notepad replacement” and a code editor. Which means that apart from regular text editing, if you have any need to write or edit code — HMTL, CSS and PHP, in my case — it provides the much-helpful syntax highlighting and folding. With a neat little tabbed interface, split-screen editing, spell-check, auto-completion, advanced find and replace features, command line support, Windows shell extension (right-click menu integration), macros support and more, Notepad++ has a lot going for it. It supports plugins to add to its features — about 30 of them available so far, many of which come preinstalled with the download package.
Notepad++ is based on the open source Scintilla editing component. It comes with over 50 different programming languages preloaded, and in most cases recognizes the language from the file extension and automatically applies syntax-highlighting and other features relevant to it. You can configure how the interface looks to some extent, and there’s some pretty comprehensive online documentation.
Notepad++ has partial support for Mac OS and Linux (you might be able to run it with emulators and such, as far as I know). It is one among a sea of competent text and code editors, and also gets a five-star rating from CNET. It certainly remains a personal favourite.