One of the weak link in Windows operating system back from even Windows 9x era is Notepad application, the default text editor. And with the release of multiple new versions of Windows, from Windows Vista to Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and even Windows 10, one would have believed that Notepad will be updated or upgraded to a new Notepad with more features in some way. But the fact is that it’s not. Other than minor enhancements on CRLF (newline character sequence) and a new icon on Windows Aero or modern UI, there is basically the same Notepad since it first inclusion in Windows 1.0 in 1985.

So if you want to have a more feature rich text editor for Windows such as indentation, auto indent, tab stops setting, syntax or code color highlighting, tabs support, line numbers, gotoline function and etc, you will have to find and download an alternative or replacement to replace Notepad completely, or used in conjunction and side by side with original Notepad. Here’s are a few popular text editors for Windows Vista.


Programmers’ favorite. Notepad2 is a fast and light-weight Notepad-like text editor with syntax highlighting. Best of all, it can be run out of the box without installation, and does not touch your system’s registry.


  • Code syntax highlighting which supports HTML, XML, PHP, ASP (JS, VBS), CSS, JavaScript, VBScript, C/C++, C#, Resource Script, Makefiles, Java, Visual Basic, Pascal, Assembly, SQL, Perl, Python, Configuration Files, Apache Config Files, Batch Files, Diff Files.
  • Drag and drop text editing inside and outside Notepad2.
  • Basic regular expression search and replace.
  • Modeless find and replace dialogs.
  • Multiline find and replace operations (using backslash expressions).
  • Optional file change notification.
  • Useful word, line and block editing shortcuts.
  • Rectangular selection (Alt+Mouse).
  • Brace matching.
  • Auto indent.
  • Long line marker.
  • Zoom functions.
  • Open shell links.
  • Support for Unicode, UTF-8, Unix and Mac text files.


Notepad++ is a free open source text editor with tabbed interface which is based on the Scintilla editor component, is written in C++ with pure Win32 API calls and uses STL. Notepad++ offers a slim and efficient binary with a totally customizable GUI. The functionality of Notepad++ are also expandable with plugins support.


  • Syntax Highlighting and Syntax Folding for C, C++, Java, C#, XML, HTML, PHP, Javascript, RC resource file, makefile, ASCII art file (extension .nfo , screenshot1, screenshot2), doxygen, ini file, batch file, ASP, VB/VBS source files, SQL, Objective-C, CSS, Pascal, Perl, Python, Lua, TeX, TCL, Assembler, Ruby, Lisp, Scheme, Properties, Diff, Smalltalk, Postscript, VHDL, Ada, Caml, AutoIt, KiXtart, Matlab, Verilog, Haskell and InnoSetup.
  • User Defined Syntax Highlighting
  • Auto-completion
  • Multi-Document
  • Multi-View
  • Regular Expression Search/Replace supported
  • Full Drag ‘N’ Drop supported
  • Dynamic position of Views
  • File Status Auto-detection
  • Zoom in and zoom out
  • Multi-Language environment supported
  • Bookmark
  • Brace and Indent guideline Highlighting
  • Macro recording and playback

TED Notepad

TED Notepad is a freeware editor for true plain-text but more fertile in innovative features, text-processing functions and other tools. TED Notepad supports hotkeys and is designed for quicker and advanced editing. As it’s light-weight, the portable version (non installer) can fit on USB drive and loads instantly with no installation required.


  • Hotkeys supported including Exit by Esc hotkey.
  • Nine permanent clipboards.
  • Search over multiple lines for phrase containing newlines
  • Find Selected and Find Later features or choose to remember the last search between sessions.
  • Innovative Second search to search for two things at the same time.
  • Select to Next feature to quickly select any text up to any next occurrence of the searched phrase.
  • Several auto-completions methods.
  • Easy Smart Return helps you to automatically indent the text or a source code or lists.
  • Select Word feature helps you to select and move the selection across words more precisely than by using standard keyboard arrows. Delete/BkSpace Word/Line features help you to delete them.
  • Swap clipboard feature provides a solution to move phrases around using the clipboard. Swaps the content of the clipboard and the actual selection.
  • Extensive text statistics keep it clear. Calculate, how many words, sentences, paragraphs, lines or characters you have just typed.
  • ANSI, Unicode, UTF-8, Transparent UNIX and Mac file types are fully supported.
  • Supports bi-directional editing and all Unicode characters. Tested with Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Bulgarian and Arabic languages.
  • Various tools such as Indent/Quote selection, Tabify/Untabify, Enclose selection, Text Reversing, Unique Lines, Text Sorting, commit actual Word Wrapping according to current window size, advanced filters and viewers architecture and etc.
  • .LOG logging feature from original Windows Notepad.
  • The application can Stay on Top of other windows or go to System Tray icon.
  • Drag & Drop feature supports dropping multiple files. In such case, all the files are joined into one document.


PSPad is a freeware programmer’s editor for Microsoft Windows operating systems, useful for people who work with various programming environments and needs functions such as highlighted syntax, tool that handles plain text, rich text formatting functions, user extension capabilities and etc.


  • work with projects
  • work with several documents at the same time (MDI)
  • save desktop sessions to later reopen all session files
  • FTP client – edit files directly from the web
  • macro recorder to record, save and load macros
  • text difference with color-coded differences highlighted
  • templates (HTML tags, scripts, code templates…)
  • syntax highlighting according to file type
  • user-defined highlighters for exotic environments
  • auto correction
  • intelligent internal HTML preview using IE and Mozilla
  • full HEX editor
  • integrated TiDy library for formatting and checking HTML code, conversion to CSS, XML, XHTML
  • integrated free version of the top CSS editor TopStyle Lite
  • line sorting with ability to sort on defined columns and drop duplicates
  • ASCII chart with HTML entities
  • spell checker
  • internal web browser with APACHE support
  • matching bracket highlighting


SciTE is a text editor based on SCIntilla, free source code editing component. Originally built to demonstrate Scintilla, it has grown to be a generally useful editor with facilities for building and running programs. It is best used for jobs with simple configurations.

BDV Notepad

BDV Notepad is a text editor which combines extended functionality, comfortable interface, flexible adjustment and free-of-charge in cost. Program can work with files of any size, supports shortcuts, multilevel Undo/Redo, autosaving, URL-autodetection and start. It has customizable multilanguage interface, improved printing engine and many additional opportunities.

Features include intuitive, and easy to configure interface; fast load and edit text files of any size; shortcuts; auto save; unlimited undo/redo; URL autodetect and start; display of special characters; case changes; UNICODE support; lines sorting; Stay-on-Top feature; character filters; extended find-and-replace options; improved printing engine; automatic replacement of standard Notepad; insert characters/colours/file names/etc…; Win-DOS-KOI8 codepage conversion with the user codepages support; and multi-lingual interface, editing or creating new language files.


metapad is a small, fast and completely free text editor for Windows 9x/NT/XP which can used to replace Notepad as it contains all of Notepad’s features and many extra and useful features.


  • Persistent window placement
  • Dirty file notification
  • Intelligent Find and Replace
  • External viewer support (e.g. web browser)
  • Usable accelerator keys (Ctrl+S, Ctrl+N, etc.)
  • Dual customizable font support
  • Optional Quick Exit (Esc key)
  • Configurable tab stop setting
  • Auto-indent mode
  • Go to Line/Column
  • Seamless UNIX text file support
  • Block indent and unindent (Tab, Shift+Tab)
  • Recent files list
  • WYSIWYG printing
  • Snazzy status bar & funky toolbar
  • Hyperlink support
  • User interface language plugins


JujuEdit is a file editor, or alternatively a text editor with knobs-on such as syntax hilighting and advanced find/replace algorithms. Beside, JujuEdit does NOT convert a file opened into an internal file format and thus all conversion and interpretation is done on the fly, so that at any point during an edit you can choose to view your file in a different mode (ANSI/Unicode/UTF-8/Installed Code Pages/Binary), without the underlying data being converted. This was an important design decision which will make JujuEdit tolerate unusual or unexpected characters (like NULLs or inconsistent CR/LF line endings) without clobbering them.


  • Very Large File Support
  • Very Big Undo Buffer
  • Syntax Hilighting
  • Perl-like Regular Expressions
  • Flexible Text Formats
  • Binary Viewing Options
  • Dynamic Font Sizing

Note: JujuEdit is no longer actively maintained.

UltraEdit (Trialware)

UltraEdit is the powerful yet ideal text, HEX, HTML, PHP, Java, Javascript, Perl, and Programmer’s editor.

TextPad (Shareware)

TextPad is a general purpose editor for plain text files which is easy to use and comes with all the features a power user requires. It work with the 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows® 2000, Server 2003, XP and Vista.


  • Huge files can be edited, up to the limits of virtual memory.
  • Supports Universal Naming Convention (UNC) style names, and long file names with spaces.
  • CUA compliant keyboard commands.
  • English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish user interfaces.
  • A spelling checker with dictionaries in 10 languages.
  • Multiple files can be simultaneously edited, with up to 2 views per file.
  • Warm Start feature lets you restart exactly where you left off.
  • OLE2 drag and drop editing for copying and moving text between documents.
  • Unlimited undo/redo capability.
  • Block (column) selection mode, and visible display of tabs and spaces.
  • A keystroke macro recorder, with up to 16 active macros.
  • Sorting, using up to 3 keys.
  • Text can be automatically aligned and indented, relative to the previous line, to aid block indentation.
  • The right mouse button pops up an in-context menu.
  • The cursor can be constrained to the text, or can be positioned freely in the document view.
  • Toolbar with fly-by usage hints, and an active status bar.
  • A powerful search/replace engine using UNIX-style regular expressions, with the power of editor macros.
  • Visible bookmarks can be placed on individual lines, and on all occurrences of a search pattern. Bookmarked lines can be cut, copied or deleted.
  • A built in file manager for fast file copying, renaming, deleting etc.
  • Viewer for binary files using a hexadecimal display format.
  • Built in file comparison utility, and up to 16 user-defined tools with argument macros.
  • Hypertext links from file search and user tool output to the relevant source line.
  • DDE interface to other tools, such as MS Visual C++. The editor detects when an open file has been modified by another tool, and prompts you to reopen it.

EditPlus (Shareware)

EditPlus is an Internet-ready 32-bit text editor, HTML editor and programmers editor for Windows. While it can serve as a good replacement for Notepad, it also offers many powerful features for Web page authors and programmers.


  • Syntax highlighting for HTML, CSS, PHP, ASP, Perl, C/C++, Java, JavaScript and VBScript. Also, it can be extended for other programming languages based on custom syntax files.
  • Seamless Web browser for previewing HTML pages, and FTP commands for uploading local files to FTP server.
  • Other features include HTML toolbar, user tools, line number, ruler, URL highlighting, auto-completion, cliptext, column selection, powerful search and replace, multiple undo/redo, spell checker, customizable keyboard shortcuts, and more.

There are plenty more of free or paid replacement text editor alternative for Notepad. You can see a comprehensive list of them in Wikipedia. To completely replace Notepad so that whenever you double click on a text file or view source in IE, it’s the replacement text editor that open it, you need this trick.