AkelPad vs Notepad Plus – Can It Even Compete As A Notepad Alternative?

Chris Hoffman 21-03-2012

notepad alternativeThere are lots of Notepad alternatives The 6 Best Windows Notepad Alternatives Windows Notepad is too simple, but Microsoft Office is overkill? If you're looking for a Notepad replacement, here are the leading alternatives. One will be perfect for you. Read More out there, and it seems like everyone has their own favorite. Notepad++ is one of the most popular, but AkelPad is a more minimal option. AkelPad is a fast, simple replacement for Notepad – it’s an improved Notepad with much more flexibility.


AkelPad feels very similar to Notepad after you install it, but it can start to feel like Notepad++ if you enable enough plugins. AkelPad offers more features than Notepad, but without losing sight of Notepad’s minimalism 7 Simple Steps to an Awesome Minimalist Desktop Read More . Most of AkelPad’s features are implemented as plugins, so you can easily select the features you want.

Getting Started

AkelPad can even replace Notepad.exe on your system when you install it. However, it installs to its own directory by default.

notepad alternative

Launch AkelPad for the first time and you’ll see an interface that looks very similar to Notepad. It’s much more minimal than Notepad++ by default.

alternative to notepad


Multiple Documents

AkelPad runs in single-window mode by default, just like Windows Notepad. You can switch to either multi-window or pseudo multi-window mode from the Options menu if you want a tabbed document interface.

alternative to notepad

With tabs enabled, you can easily edit multiple documents in the same window. You’ll have to restart AkelPad after switching window modes.

alternative to notepad


Working With Code

Notepad++ has a variety of features that help when you’re working with code 3 Windows Text Editors For Programmers Read More . Open a code file in Notepad++ and you’ll see syntax highlighting – colors that help you understand the code structure at a glance. You can also collapse parts of the code.

akelpad vs notepad++

Open the same file in AkelPad and you’ll get none of these useful features. AkelPad displays the file just as Notepad would.

akelpad vs notepad++


You can enable syntax highlighting from the Plug-ins window under the Options menu. Look for the Coder::HighLight plugin.

akelpad vs notepad++

AkelPad also comes with a code-folding plugin named Coder::CodeFold and an autocomplete plugin named Coder:AutoComplete. Neither application is designed primarily for code Sublime Text: The Text Editor You'll Fall in Love With (Windows) Read More , but they’re both capable code editors.

AkelPad vs Notepad Plus - Can It Even Compete As A Notepad Alternative? screenshot 081


The Coder::Settings plugin allows you to customize the way the Coder plugins work. Select it in the plugins window and click Call to configure the plugins.

AkelPad vs Notepad Plus - Can It Even Compete As A Notepad Alternative? screenshot 09


AkelPad may focus on imitating Notepad by default, but it offers much greater flexibility. Many of the features that aren’t enabled by default can be found in the Plugins window. Whether you’re looking for autosaving, spell-checking, a toolbar, a file explorer The 5 Good Free Windows File Managers Read More pane, or the ability to save and reload sessions, you’ll find a plugin here. You can have plugins automatically start with AkelPad or launch them on the fly.

AkelPad vs Notepad Plus - Can It Even Compete As A Notepad Alternative? screenshot 141

Enable enough plugins and AkelPad will start feeling more like Notepad++. It will also lose its minimalistic charm, but you can customize just how much of these features you want to use.

AkelPad vs Notepad Plus - Can It Even Compete As A Notepad Alternative? screenshot 10

With its focus on features being implemented as plugins rather than integrated into the main program itself, AkelPad feels like the Miranda IM client 3 Ultra-Lightweight Programs That Don't Get Enough Love It seems to me like a lot of the commonly discussed programs are major resource hogs. Web browsers, media players, you name it, the most popular programs from these categories keep your CPU working really... Read More  of Notepad replacements. Notepad++ also has a large amount of available plugins. We’ve written about some of the best plugins for Notepad++ Soup Up The Notepad++ Text Editor With Plugins From The Notepad Plus Repository [Windows] Notepad++ is a worthy replacement for Windows’ in-built and much loved text editor, and comes highly recommended if you’re a programmer, web designer or simply someone who finds themselves in need of a powerful plain... Read More in the past.

AkelPad vs Notepad Plus - Can It Even Compete As A Notepad Alternative? screenshot 131


AkelPad actually has an options window, unlike Notepad – so it definitely offers more options than Notepad does. If you don’t find a common option in this window, there’s a good chance it’s available as a plugin.

AkelPad vs Notepad Plus - Can It Even Compete As A Notepad Alternative? screenshot 111

Notepad++ offers even more options than AkelPad. If you’re just looking for the most features, you’ll find them in Notepad++.

notepad alternative

The Verdict

So, can AkelPad compete? Absolutely, if you’re looking for a lightweight, yet very flexible, replacement for Windows Notepad. There’s a reason Notepad++ is on our list of the best Windows software The Best PC Software for Your Windows Computer Want the best PC software for your Windows computer? Our massive list collects the best and safest programs for all needs. Read More , but if you’re looking for something more minimal, AkelPad fits the bill.

What Windows Notepad replacement do you prefer? Or is Notepad still your favorite? (it’s certainly the most minimal). Let us know in the comments.

Related topics: Notepad, Text Editor.

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  1. ZoNi
    March 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    I have tried many text editors... And still, I am not sure which is the best :)

    I think that for a longest period of time I used to use EmEditor FREE (very nice program, although latest version was made 5 or more years ago).

    Now I use Notepad++ and Notepad2, but I will try once again AkelPad. I know there was something I didn't like about it, but I don't remember what :-)

    Btw, I have also tried SynWrite Portable, TED Notepad, ATPad, SuperEdi, Caderno, Notepad X...

  2. Alex
    March 22, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    In my experience AkelPad much more stable than NP++

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 23, 2012 at 2:13 am

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Alex! I haven't noticed any instability with NP++, but I haven't used it as much as many people have.

      • Alex
        March 23, 2012 at 8:16 pm

        a lot of plugins contain bugs, many plugins not supported and are not compatible with newer versions

        • Chris Hoffman
          March 23, 2012 at 9:57 pm

          Ah, that explains it -- I haven't used many NP++ plugins.


    • JK
      January 12, 2017 at 11:16 am

      I installed AkelPad and turned on all plugins for autoload, all plugins which support autoload, closed AkelPad, tried to open it again, it never opened again. Fantastic.

  3. Dan
    March 22, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    I used to use Akelpad but it has an annoying bug, when it's trying to save some settings, it would insist on saving it to the application folder and thereby requiring privilege escalation. Otherwise it's a pretty good text editor.

    Now I use Notepad2-mod.

    • FF
      March 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      Of course it will insist. Because you have set to do that. Change option save location into registry and it will work. If you want to save settings in .ini-file, your working account MUST have right to write that file on its location. There are some solutions:
      1. Install to accessible folder(i.e. not as notepad replacement)
      2. Use it as user with required rights(to write into %systemroot%\system32
      3. Grand rights for users to deal with configuration file %systemroot%\system32\akelpad.ini

      • Chris Hoffman
        March 22, 2012 at 7:38 pm

        Very true, FF, thanks! You can set AkelPad to save to the app data or program folders -- app data is the ideal way to do things, but the program folder might be ideal for a portable installationl

  4. Chandra
    March 21, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    I would recommend Notepad2 if you just looking Notepad replacement.

    • Chris Hoffman
      March 22, 2012 at 7:38 pm

      Thanks for the reccomendation, Chandra! I've never used it -- what makes it better than the ones in the article?

      • y0g4
        July 10, 2012 at 10:27 am

        akelpad user will say akelpad better, and Notepad++ user will say Notepad++ better, for me 2 of them is a good editor (same powerful)

        But Notepad2
        -small @ 300 - 400 kb, notepad2 mod (by xhmikosr, he include many syntax addon made by others like flo etc) is still 350 kb
        -smallest footprint
        -SINGLE executable. it's very good program and i love it but the downside it doesnt support tabs. try it as a Notepad++ / akelpad friend.

        I, my self use SciTE (scintilla), the god of editor, 99% text editor with syntax highlighting use this lexer. scite is hard to configure, but when you understand, it will become more powerfull than any editor.

        • Chris Hoffman
          July 17, 2012 at 1:46 am

          Thanks for the information! There are so many high-quality, efficient text editors out there.