Tools we love: Notepad++

An advanced text editor for more than just programming - for free

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Notepad++ is an advanced text and source code editor for Windows. It’s also the most used piece of free software in our office. Everyone - from the developers to the marketers to the interns - uses Notepad++.

If you’re still using plain old Notepad or Wordpad for text editing, you’re living in the dark ages. There are a wide variety of advanced text editors out there, but none can match Notepad++ when it comes to price (free) and functionality.

Initially released in 2003, the software has been consistently improved and developed for over 10 years. Its feature list and supported programming languages are extensive. It offers conveniences like Auto-completion, syntax highlighting, tabbed documents, macro recording, and much much more.

One of our favorite features is multi-cursor editing and column level editing which lets you enter the same text at a variety of positions in a document simultaneously - invaluable for coding.

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You also get a smorgasbord of text manipulation functions that can save you hours of editing when you need to reformat a file or modify data. For instance, auto escaping unsafe URL characters, or pasting text at the beginning or end of every line in a document, or converting from one encoding to another.

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It’s also got a robust plugin architecture which has allowed for entirely new capabilities to be added to the system. Everything from FTP file browsing and spell check to JSON viewers/formatters, version control, and even games.

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There is something for everyone here, I guarantee it can increase productivity for anyone who works with text in any form. It’s a much more accessible program than VIM or Emacs, legends in their own right, and it offers functionality that pricey alternatives can’t even match.

If you haven’t heard of it or used it before, give it a try today and see if it can help you out. If it can, consider donating to the developer!

Read more of Matthew Mombrea's ByteStream blog and follow Matt on Twitter (@mombrea) and Google+. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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