Best Free Text Editor



There are lots of text editors. Some of these aspire to just be Notepad replacements, while others are full-on programming text editors.

If you are looking for a text editor with programming or source code editing features, such as Notepad++, please take a look at Best Free Programming Editor. Or if you are searching for a text editor that is good for editing html codes, you might want to check out Best Free HTML Editor.

This review will only focus on text editors used for general purpose, saving files in plain text format. What's more? It includes some free programs which give more useful features, such as tabbed interface, than those available to Notepad, and they still remain reasonably lightweight, fast and reliable.


Rated Products

EditPad Lite  

A small and compact text editor with a tabbed interface and other features

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Private/Educational use)
Small and compact, tabbed interface, block functions, unlimited redo and undo, etc.
Spell checker is only available in the commercial version.
Read full review...


Works with multiple text files opened in tiled or cascaded windows and a tabbed interface

Our Rating: 
License: Free
Tabbed environment with tiled or cascaded windows, basic editing features with lines numbering, own text snippets, sending documents via email and so on.
No spell checker.
Read full review...

NoteTab Light  

A very handy basic text editor with tab support

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)
Tabs for more than one program open, easy to use interface.
Missing many needed features in light version, old looking interface.
Read full review...

Other Text Editors

  • AEdit SX - ultra-fast text editor, with spell checker, print preview and setup.
  • DocPad - a free alternative to Notepad for plain text editing, offering an arsenal of time-saving text editing tools.
  • Writer's D'Lite, a lightweight text editor good for writing short stories and articles without any bells and whistles to distract you.
  • QJot, a small USB portable alternative rich text editor that reads and writes .doc files, inserts images and more.
  • Jovial Notepad, a lightweight Microsoft Notepad replacement program that offers some handy and useful features that are used every day. (Review)


Related Products and Links

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Average: 3.2 (38 votes)


"... Code Browser is a folding text editor for Linux and Windows, designed to hierarchically structure any kind of text file and especially source code. It makes navigation through source code faster and easier ...":

I am looking for a text editor that can fold text (not fold code). May be called collapse text ?
I tried Notepad++ and Akelpad, and I cannot work out how to do it with them (I installed the Code fold plug in, to no avail)

Try this one: Text Editor Pro:

Can anyone recommend one of these that has autosave built in ??

"... Memrey free is your personal notepad featuring realtime syncing and advanced collaboration features ...":

"... The xi editor project is an attempt to build a high quality text editor, using modern software engineering techniques. It is initially built for Mac OS X, using Cocoa for the user interface. There are also frontends for other operating systems available from third-party developers ...":

"... Notepad3 is a fast and light-weight Scintilla-based text editor with syntax highlighting ...":

"... Zed is a fully offline-capable, open source, keyboard-focused, text and code editor for power users ...":

"... RichEdit is a lightweight, handy and useful text editor which allows you to create, open, and save files using both the Rich Text Format and the Plain Text Format ...":

Don't forget good old TED Notepad
Not a lot of frills... Doesn't even have a toolbar. Super fast though. And good text manipulation capabilities.

"... Textadept - a fast, minimalist, and remarkably extensible cross-platform text editor ...":

As with a couple of other posters I like Notepad++. Why it is not listed as a replacement for the standard windows Notepad is beyond me. Here's the jist of Notepad++ forthose who are unfamiliar.

Notepad++ -

Syntax Highlighting and Syntax Folding
User Defined Syntax Highlighting and Folding
PCRE (Perl Compatible Regular Expression) Search/Replace
GUI entirely customizable: minimalist, tab with close button, multi-line tab, vertical tab and vertical document list
Document Mapping
Auto-completion including Word completion, programming function completion and Programming function parameter hinting
Multi-Document (Tabbed interface)
WYSIWYG (Printing)
Zoom control
Multi-Language programming environments supported
Macro recording and playback
Launch Notepad++ with different arguments

This category is about simple text editors. Notepad++ is more of a programming editor, and is covered here in a different review:

@Anupam True. I did see that it was listed in the prog editor section and agree. It can be and is a well rounded programming editor. However, out of curiosity,and in the interest of sharing for the greater good :) I was doin a web search for a recommended alternative to the MS Notepad for some friends, and obviously Notepad++ was a forerunner in that list. Certainly you'd have to agree Notepad++ IS a GREAT simple text editor that few people are aware of, with features that I would think most typical users would appreciate and use over the stock editor. Like tabs for one instance. Anyways... I simply thought it prudent to mention ++ in this section in hopes that it helps someone seeking a sound Windows Notepad replacement. Nothing wrong with a little redundancy no? Thanks for your reply too.

SynWrite needs to be looked at. I have just begun to use it as a simple text editor. I liked it because it has the best interface of the many editors I have seen. It has even themes! Download Crew gives it a four and a half rating. I don't know whether it should be in this section or along with Notepad++.

I looked at Poet. I was like "What?!?" and uninstalled it.

Hello everyone! My name is Muhammad Ahmad Mujtaba and I am the new section manager of the site and I will be controlling the "Best Free Text Editors" section. But first,how a text editor software is created and used, highly depends upon what and how a user wants from it besides everyone has one's own taste regarding how one uses it's text editor. If someone is normal user, he might just accept only the builtin platform plain text editor, notepad[Windows], gedit[Ubuntu, Debian = Linux] or SimpleText [Mac OS X]. But if there is an author who is interested in create free writing who will likely to have his hands on gedit, leafpad, notepad -neat, clean & easy to use- text editors. If anyone of you is either a programmer or a designer, he will definitely look for more than a simple text editor, may be a semi-IDE[Integrated Development Environment], or syntax higlighting and coloring text editors. There are a lot of uses and lots of users, but there's one thing is common. They all need be single focused and easy to use text editors.No one appreciate complexity for just a simple task of writing. This introduction ends with that I'll try my best to provide you best text editors out of internet and provide you updated information on how they're best and what else you can know new about a text editor. Please, stay connected :)

Of the various notepad replacements I've tried, I like Notepad++ and Akelpad the best. At the time of writing this, Notepad++ has the most features of the two and is one of the most popular replacements around. However, Akelpad is more customizable. It starts off very basic, but plug-ins can be enabled or disabled, increasing or decreasing functionality and loading times respectively.

I tested the loading times of both of them using AppTimer on different machines. After enabling the features I needed, such as Code Folding, Syntax Highlighting, etc, I found that Akelpad loaded 40-50% faster than Notepad++. That being said, the loading times of Notepad++ aren't particularly slow when compared to other text editors.

I use Akelpad because I want something that loads at a speed similar to that of the operating systems Notepad and lets me make quick edits or write small code. I prefer using a complete IDE instead for medium to large projects. Notepad++ is still an excellent application if you need the extra features though.

Note: I prefer to set the file associations myself, rather than choosing to have Akelpad replace the default windows notepad during the installation.

Akelpad is always my default text reader/editor, I really like it.

It loads extremely quickly, quicker even than Notepad2 and has a fantastic selection of plug-ins and toolbar buttons.

One of the reasons I like it is that it has a print preview option, something that's missing from the other freebie text editors I've looked at.

I want to advise you a new text editor Poet []
It's simple and free, but has powerful capabilities.
There are
- multiple document processing
- floating tabs and windows
- powerful search (regular expression support)
- devide text area
- syntax highlighting (XML, HTML, CSS, SQL, Java, C#, C++, PHP, Ruby, Python and others)
- more 100(!) encodings
- beauteful and freandly interface
- other useful features

Poet is beta status software and so won't be featured here until after the final release. MC - Site Manager.

Poet has been released already. You can try it.
There are many smart and powerful features.
Also editor has a beautiful interface.

Jovial Notepad: Features: * Single .exe file * Small footprint at

I will give RJ TextEd a two thumbs up but not in the Best Free Text Editor category but as a Best Free Programming Editor. It's comparable to PSPad and as much as I like PSPad I now prefer RJ TextEd.

Wordz: Features: - small (under 2 MB) - easy-to-use interface - saves in txt, RTF format - Spell Checking and Live Spell Checking - Additional Reading feature