The main goal of Notepad2 is to provide a notepad application that’s as streamlined and efficient as Notepad, the default text editor application of Windows.
This more contemporary take on Notepad immediately impresses thanks to its syntactical colouring, making for a much easier time of things when it comes to working on its code thanks to the defined colourisation of various tags and code elements.
In a more general sense, Notepad2 is an improved version of Notepad which, instantly upon its release back in 2004, offered a free-to-use and simple text editor for those looking to make straightforward file modifications or develop complete software. Even if Notepad2 seems “small”, it’s still incredibly effective.
A free text editor for Windows
Those who are familiar with the term “open-source” will understand we’re dealing with free software here, with the freedom for you to modify the internal code as all relevant software sources are available via open access. However, Notepad2 is available under the BSD license and is therefore not under the GPL.
Under the GPL (General Public License), you are obliged to disclose the source code that you have chosen to modify. What’s more, it isn’t possible for you to sub-license any creation by adding new terms to the original license.
On the other hand – and this applies to the entire family of BSD licenses – nothing obliges you to explicitly indicate the modifications you have made to the original source code. The BSD license is therefore the most permissive variant out there, allowing Notepad2 to be free and modifiable at will to all experienced users.
Notepad2 vs. NotePadBlock: What’s the difference between the basic Windows text editor and Notepad2?
Everybody is familiar with the Notepad editor found by accessing the Windows Start menu and opening up the Accessories section.
Simply put, Notepad is the most basic text editor option out there and allows only for very minor and simple manipulations. As such, it’s not really a word processor in the same vein as Microsoft Word or Open Office. Instead, if offers only the most simple of functions, namely to display text and allow for slight modifications (usually by copy and pasting) and not much else besides.
Notepad2 shows its strengths by granting you access to several features that will make use of a classic notepad application far less austere and, above all else, much more useful for when it comes to making changes to files and code.
Sleek, fast and free: a first-rate philosophy!
This is the approach that developer Florian Balmer adopted when designing Notepad2, which should have really been the philosophy followed when developing the basic Notepad found o Windows systems.
If Notepad2 doesn’t in fact replace the original Notepad application as the Windows default, this innovative text editor will at least be able to stand proud against the likes of Notepad++. It is almost impossible not to find a developer who doesn’t utilise Notepad2 in at least some form when it comes to creating edit lines of code in their files.
An essential development tool
A development environment is a set of tools and applications that allow programmers (or coders) to work more productively and efficiently. Unsurprisingly, Notepad2 is a go-to choice of tool for developers as it serves as a text editor that’s entwined with other software intended for the purpose of computer programming.
If you find yourself needing to modify a piece of code for the first time ever, doing so with the standard Windows Notepad option is far from a hassle-free experience. If you’re after a far more streamlined and simpler approach, the use of Notepad2 is certainly advisable, if only because of the syntax highlighting it allows for. With this handy feature, you can work twice as fast as you might do with the standard Notepad option, with a more user-friendly design ensuring you can find your way around the software far more easily.
Notepad2 is free as it is open-source, but it stands apart from other software available in the free realm as the software has been created from the Scintilla editor component. Scintilla is also open-source and allows you to benefit from the very best features available in the world of source code editing.
• Syntax colourisation:
This is what the vast majority of people look for in terms of functionality and something that the ageing Notepad offered as a default by Windows fails at. You will be able to find syntax highlighting of the following languages with Notepad2:
– Assembly language
– CGI (Common Gateway Interface)
– VB (Visual Basic)
Notepad2 also allows for syntax highlighting with the following file formats:
– Configuration file in .properties
CL/LF conversion can prove to be extremely convenient for developers and other computer language coders.
• Other features of Notepad2:
– Auto-completion in HTML language to automatically complete tags
– Opening/closing matches of your tags (bracket matching)
– Line numbering to help you find your way around code more efficiently
– Simplified customisation of software interface colours, especially in regards to syntax highlighting to provide a tool that’s perfectly customisable to your requirements
– Automatic indenting allows you to follow the progress of your source code by easily locating the opening and closing of your tags.
– Display of invisible characters, as well as the option to change the encoding for the correct display of accented characters
– Upper/lower case conversion: a classic word processor feature that is missing in native Windows Notepad.
– Tab/space conversion that proves very useful when working with a spreadsheet program, particularly when processing a large file that cannot be opened by Microsoft Excel or Open calc.
– AINSI/OEM/UNICODE conversion that proves extremely convenient when you know a UNICODE format is poorly supported in 8 bits per byte and where it is better to use UNICODE in bit sequence, such as UTF-32 or UTF-8.
– Tracking regular expressions for mass changes
– Newline format allowing conversions between DOS (CR/LF), Unix (LF) and Macintosh (CR) formats, with Notepad2 recognising line breaks in every case.
– Possibility to be able to go back in case of incorrect manipulation when changing codes and files.
– It’s completely free, giving you no excuse not to at least give this software a try if you haven’t done so already.
More features of Notepad2
Balmer has claimed there will probably not be any new features introduced to Notepad2 in order to achieve his goal of it being the “default” alternative to Notepad, remaining lightweight in design, fast and free.
For example, many users have continued to ask that Notepad2 support an MDI (Multiple Document Interface) so that they can have make use of a main software window in the background with all available menus and icons, with other windows also accessible.
Nowadays, a better alternative in this regard would be a TDI (Tabbed Document Interface). This would benefit from the same desired principle, but by utilising a tabbed system, rather than several sub-windows.
Other features, such as code folding, are missing in Notepad2.
Adding this functionality would simply allow you to develop or close sections of your code, which would allow you to gain visibility once again. We can cite the example of the Google Chrome development tool in which the source code tree of a page is not yet fully developed.
Below is another example of a folding code in action with a text editor with syntax highlighting that’s comparable with Notepad2:
Notepad2 advanced features
However, there’s still plenty of areas of benefit offered by Notepad2’s additional features, such as the use of bookmarks and file association solutions.
Note, that since version 4.2.25-rc6, Notepad2 takes advantage of the x64 architecture of our processors, proof of basic monitoring and excellent reactive support from the voluntary developers of the software.