Notepad2 replaces Notepad in Windows with a much better tool

Use a better text editor in Windows with Notepad2.

Notepad2's developer, Flo's Freeware, notes that there's nothing wrong with Notepad, the default text editor in Windows: it's lightweight, fast, and fully integrated with the operating system. But writers, programmers, and others who use text files a lot know that Notepad has its limitations. Notepad2 offers many more features than Notepad and can replace it as the default text file tool in Windows. It's available in separate downloads for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. We tried it in 64-bit Windows Home Premium SP1.

Notepad2's installer asked us if we wanted to replace Notepad as the default text editor in Windows, though it says you can uninstall Notepad2 from the Control Panel to restore Notepad as the default text editor. We opened a new text document from Explorer. The document opened inside Notepad2 and worked like any text file. Notepad2's toolbar offered not only basic controls like Open, Browse, and Save but also useful text tools such as Word Wrap and Zoom In and Out.

Better still are the two built-in Scheme tools, Select Scheme and Customize Schemes. The Select Scheme tool's default setting is Default Text, but the list includes Web Source Code, XML, JavaScript, VBScript, C and C++, SQL, Perl, Pascal, Batch, and Diff files, among many others. We could also check boxes to set a scheme as default and autoselect schemes by filename extension. That's pretty clever, but if it's not enough, click Customize Schemes for more control and options, including the ability to import and export configuration files.

Notepad's View menu has one entry, Status bar. Notepad2's has 17 entries, including Default Font, Show Whitespace, Long Line Markers, Highlight Current Line, and Selection Margin. The Settings menu has more than 20 entries ranging from Transparency to Esc Key Function.

If all you use Notepad for is grocery lists and passwords, you probably don't need Notepad2; the Microsoft tool is enough. But if you use Notepad for lots of things, you'll probably like Notepad2's many improvements. And if you need a more capable text-editing tool than the built-in Windows Notepad, we definitely recommend Notepad2.

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