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There are a multitude of text editors for every budget out there. We at MakeUseOf have reviewed a few amazing text editors already, like Sublime Text, WriteBox (which lets you edit text files stored in your Dropbox), AkelPad, NoteTab Light, etc. and of course, Notepad++. This summer, I’ve used Notepad++ for my internship quite a bit, so I can see why almost all developers and programmers I know actually prefer it, not to mention, the thousand of Notepad++ fans that have made it such a popular product.
Even though I still haven’t explored every single option that this featured-packed editor has, within a few weeks of daily use, I have already found more than a few handy features, some of which I’m listing here, that I had not found in Eclipse or Vim (or maybe I just didn’t explore hard enough).
The neat part is also that these features from Notepad++ aren’t even plugins, though you can get them (see some recommended plugins here). The features are built-in so you (as a newly converted user) can just download Notepad++ and start making use of them!
Search Like A Detective: Find In Files/Find In All Opened Documents/Count
Notepad++’s Find features are plentiful and thus, come in very handy in multiple cases. For example, if you’re working with multiple inter-dependent files, chances are, you need to find where one variable is used and how it’s affected in another file, you can use Notepad++’s Find in Files feature, under Search in the menu bar.
This will allow you to specify a path or folder location where Notepad++ will search for a keyword in all of its files, even when they’re not text files (but this will usually show up in Notepad++ as garbled text of course).
This tip was actually mentioned a while back, but it is still incredibly useful. So is another similar feature that lets you search in all your currently opened files, which you can find when you search regularly with Ctrl + F. Just click on “Find All in All Opened Documents” instead of “Find Next”and that will probably save you some time if the directory you want to search in has too many files.
Another feature I have come to adore is the ability to “Count” how many times a keyword is present in the currently opened file. This comes in handy, especially before you start searching so you will know you’re not looking at the same line of code and that the search did advance to the next place where it found the keyword. It may sound like common sense, but a lot of times, the keyword will be in a block of code that may be present several times in the file so when you press “Count”, the search is performed so quickly, you don’t even know if the search took place since the code looks very similar. That’s how fast Notepad++ works.
Move Text Files To Other View For Split-Screen Productivity
If you’re coding on, say, a laptop, and don’t count with another monitor, Notepad++ allows you to split your files so you have your screen divided for productivity.
This is similar to Windows and Ubuntu’s window-snapping features, with a few differences. In Notepad++, you can apply the same zoom settings to both files in this split-screen view, snap windows to take up different widescreen proportions, and more, without having to manually adjust everything for each of the windows, like you would have to in Windows or Ubuntu. This is handy for the next feature I’m going to discuss.
Synchronize Vertical/Horizontal Scrolling
There is a Compare plugin that was discussed in the recommended Notepad++ plugins article, but when you want to be your own detective and find out differences in that snippet of code, a split-screen setting and synchronized scrolling will feel like one of the better inventions of all time.
Not only can you synchronize vertical scrolling but also horizontally, I’m guessing for those longer, more descriptive comments or maybe even very long ‘if’ statements (*shudders). If you assign a keyboard shortcut for either scrolling feature, comparing can go a tad faster as well!
Notepad++ is a powerhouse when it comes to features so this is not an exhaustive list of course. What features do you absolutely love about Notepad++? Or if vouch for an alternative text editor, why do you prefer that one specifically? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.