NoteTab Light's a heavyweight

Replace the old Windows stalwart and feature-free Notepad with the robust NoteTab Light, which features tabs for editing multiple projects, libraries for inserting text or code you often use, and more.

Once you explore the power of NoteTab Light, you may find this text editor beautiful despite its hectic interface. At its core, NoteTab Light is to Windows' Notepad as a smart phone is to a rotary phone. The program incorporates top-level tabs similar to most Web browsers, so that you can manage several different projects at once, and it can automatically replace Notepad so that Notepad's icon opens NoteTab instead.

NoteTab Light surpasses Notepad by every standard. (Credit: CNET Networks, Inc.)

It's much more than a Windows Notepad replacement, though, and its feature expansion goes in a somewhat unexpected direction. There are basic word processing features here that aren't in Notepad, such as Insert Date or Time, URL link conversion, font changes, and file renaming from within the program's menu bar. Changing the toolbar is an option, and you can also align text, convert case, and more.

The real surprises in NoteTab are for those who use the Windows version for coding and programming. The left column displays a list of commands, called Clips, that do anything from inserting bits of text to generating code. Each library, the roster of which appears as tabs at the bottom of the screen, contains its own set of clips and an About feature to explain what it does.

The AutoCorrect library, for example, will fix basic misspellings without prompting. The CSS1 library contains quick links that insert snippets of code when double-clicked, categorized according to purpose. The FTP library lets you create server profiles, connect, upload and download files, and issue various commands. The HTML library auto-completes HTML tags. NoteTab's publisher offers many user-created libraries on their Web site, or you can make your own. You can create your own clips by pressing Ctrl-Alt-F2. There's even Remind Me, a scheduler that will display a message when you want it to so you don't forget to eat, sleep, or execute some other essential non-computer system function.

NoteTab comes with Libraries that contain various snippets of text and code to insert into your document, but they also do much more than that. (Credit: CNET Networks, Inc.)

Several of the clips, including the Tidy HTML clip and the TopStyle library, require secondary freeware apps to support them, but NoteTab will direct you to their Web pages if it doesn't see them installed on your hard drive.

There are Standard and Pro versions that add functionality but are not freeware. Unless you need a thesaurus in your Notepad analog, though, the Light version should be more than sufficient. NoteTab Light does contain a huge volume of features and most probably won't appeal to the newest of users. Still, those itching to get more out of the Windows preinstalled apps, power users, and programmers should find plenty to love.