Best Text Editor for Windows: 10 Comprehensive Options

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best text editor for windows

Choosing the best text editor for Windows devices can simplify your life substantially, whether you’re using it to jot down information or code.

Below, I’ve picked out 10 options that are suitable for beginners and experienced users alike. I’ve also explained how I chose them and demonstrated how to use them.

Best Text Editors for Windows

1. Sublime Text – Most Efficient Text Editor for Windows

sublime text interface

As you can see, I wrote a simple Python code defining a function greet(). It takes the name as input and presents a greeting message. I only tried this to see how easy it is to write code in it.

sublime text  syntax

I liked the clean and distraction-free interface, with clearly defined options. It covers features like split editing and quick shortcuts.

sublime text file menu

The search function also worked perfectly, even when trying it out with enormous files.

sublime text  code sample

Another element that stood out were its customization options, which allowed me to set up the app to work exactly as intended.

sublime text documentation

Furthermore, the provided documentation was very useful, giving me clear instructions.

sublime text forum

The forum was also convenient, with plenty of active users.

Pros:

  • The installer includes an option to Add Sublime Text to the Explorer context menu
  • Includes a variety of valuable tools like split editing, command palette, and plugin API
  • Notepad-style design
  • It can also run on Mac OS X and Linux while maintaining the user interface
  • A large number of customization options
  • Performs well with large files

Cons:

  • It can be tested freely, but for continuous use, you’ll need a license
  • A slight learning curve

2. Visual Studio Code – Customizable Text Editor for Programmers

visual studio code interface

Microsoft created Visual Studio Code (VS Code) with a wide range of features.

I also wrote a small Java code to see how the software operates. The same Alice greeting message was used like previously.

visual studio code  welcome screen

What made it stand out from the crowd was its compatibility with various file types and its speed.

visual studio code  explorer

The interface was very intuitive, and the fact that I could customize its appearance made it even simpler to use. The software includes a Learn the Fundamentals section.

visual studio code settings

It also supports auto-completion and syntax highlighting.

visual studio code  functions

The software has a built-in terminal and debugger, allowing me to streamline my coding process.

visual studio code extensions

Furthermore, Visual Studio Code offers users access to extensive documentation and a fantastic community.

visual studio code documentation

Pros:

  • Installer includes an Open With Code option
  • The lightning-fast user interface makes it easier to code
  • Allows coders to create individual prototypes and then add them to larger ones
  • It includes a wide range of free addons
  • Perfect Git integration helping with version control
  • Very regular updates are released

Cons:

  • Some users complained that the software doesn’t include a button bar like in Visual Studio
  • Occasionally, users reported issues with disabling telemetry
  • Using a large number of extensions can make the software slower

3. Notepad ++ – Best Free Open-Source Text Editor

notepad ++ interface

Notepad ++ is a reliable and open-source text editor for Windows protected by the GNU general public license.

notepad ++ encoding

I first looked at how the app handled different file types and how it dealt with large files.

notepad ++ operations

The element I liked most about this text editor was its tab structure. This ensures that anybody who knows how to code and use a browser can navigate the app without issues.

notepad ++ tabs

The tabs also ensure that information is well structured.

notepad ++ plugins manager

Notepad ++ can also run a wide range of plugins.

notepad ++ user manual

When checking the software documentation, I was surprised at how well the information was organized.

notepad ++ forum

The manual and community dataset information is easy to understand and can be used by coders of all levels.

Pros:

  • Fully supports syntax highlighting for a wide range of programming languages
  • You can customize the software visually with a significant number of skins
  • Incredibly low impact on system resources, even when dealing with large code
  • Can edit, write, and manage multiple documents at the same time
  • The GUI is customizable

Cons:

  • It lacks certain features included in other text editors
  • The design is outdated compared to other similar tools

4. UltraEdit – Best Text Editor For Massive Files

ultraedit interface

UltraEdit offers a great range of valuable features while also operating efficiently on various system configurations.

ultraedit code

This text editor is compatible with JavaScript, Perl, C/C++, and PHP programming languages. I also wrote some code in Java to see how the software reacts.

ultraedit  find and replace

Besides supporting various languages, the interface is user-friendly and customizable.

This software was designed to be able to deal with huge text batches with low system impact.

ultraedit run DOS command

You can extend its capabilities with add-ons like debugging and autocomplete.

It also has a built-in package manager to streamline the entire code-writing process, as you can add features on the go.

ultraedit forum

After researching the documentation, I can vouch for its comprehensiveness, and the community seems active.

Pros:

  • UltraEdit supports large files compared to other text editors
  • It includes a useful live preview function
  • The software worked perfectly on multiple configurations
  • The software uses a Git integration solution
  • UltraEdit has advanced software tools like file finder and integrated FTP Client

Cons:

  • The installer also tries to get Ultra Compare Pro on your device
  • The user interface might be overwhelming for beginners
  • It’s more pricey than other options on the market

5. Brackets – Split-Screen Text Editor For Windows

brackets interface

Brackets is another modern-looking text editor for Windows with a split-screen capability. You can work on two projects simultaneously.

This open-source text editor understands web design.

brackets performance data

The software handled various types of files without issues and performed decently on large files.

I wrote a sample HTML code to see how the text editor feels.

brackets code written

The built-in inline editors, preprocessor support, and the live preview stood out during my testing. .

brackets live preview option

The user interface was well-designed and modern, and even the customization level is similar to the best options in this list.

brackets addons

Brackets integrates perfectly with Adobe software. This has huge implications for programmers who use the Adobe Suite.

brackets themes

You can quickly transfer colors, gradients, and measurements from PSD files to create customized coding for any project.

brackets documentation

The community is also active and constantly contributes to each other’s projects.

Pros:

  • Seamlessly integrates with the Adobe Suite
  • Open source and free to use
  • Wide range of customization packages and themes
  • Built-in package manager
  • Runs optimally on Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Includes a Live Preview feature that updates as you type

Cons:

  • With some large projects, it can be slower than other options
  • It has a high impact on memory usage, so it’s not suitable for low-end PCs
  • Primarily designed for front-end developers and web designers

6. Vim – Useful Text Editor with Classic Design

Vim interface

Vim is a very configurable text editor. This tool quickly deals with various file types and large batches of code/text.

Vim code written

I wrote a sample C code with the same greeting message to try it out.

It has a low impact on system resources. Some of the most valuable features include a syntax highlighting process, many plugins, and seamless integration with many tools.

Vim syntax option

Some developers nicknamed Vim “the ubiquitous text editor” because it supports various platforms and OS, including Windows. However, the interface isn’t optimized for Windows, even though it can be used.

Vim help info

The search and replace function helped me quickly find batches of text that I needed during my testing process.

Vim advanded settings info

Furthermore, Vim supports hundreds of programming languages and file formats. The software also has useful features like auto-correct, automatic syntax, set compiler, and even an error list.

Vim compiler settings

Regarding the community and documentation, Vim is decent but lacks the depth of other software options from this list.

Vim  documentation

Pros:

  • It has an extensive set of commands
  • Permits integration with many other popular programming tools 
  • Vim has an active online community.
  • Supports an array of programming languages
  • It has various editing modes, including visual mode, easy mode, and command-line mode.
  • Easy to integrate with other popular tools.

Cons

  • Not user friendly 
  • As one of the oldest text editors, its features are a bit different from newer options

7. Atom – Best Collaborative Text Editor

atom interface

Atom is another great open-source text editor created by Github for developers across the globe. This ensures you can collaborate on your projects with many users.

As with the others, I tested the software by trying various file types and oversized items. The software has performed very well in these tasks.

atom code

The wide range of valuable tools like smart-auto-completion, the find and replace function, and the file system browser are great.

The interface also made a good impression with its clean and customizable build.

atom packages

The built-in package managers made it easy for me to install features and add functionality as needed.

The documentation was also comprehensive.

Sadly, Github discontinued Atom on December 15, 2022, and won’t provide further support. This means there will be no new releases in the future. Despite this development, you can still download and use it.

Pros:

  • Atom is entirely free and open-source
  • Offers a good set of packages and themes for customization
  • Includes a built-in packages manager
  • It can run on Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Excellent integration with GitHub

Cons:

  • Less intuitive user interface
  • Atom can be slower than other similar software
  • The wide range of extensions can make it feel overwhelming for beginners
  • Support for the app ended December 15, 2022

8. Emacs – Text Editor With Great Customization

Emacs interface

Emacs is a free text editor that you can easily customize. This software can also use extensions.

Emacs more packages and installation window

Emacs has macro recording and key binding features that can further streamline its operability. The wide range of built-in commands ensures fast processing.

Even though the interface isn’t as modern as other options on the list, it’s user-friendly. Beginners could have a bit of a learning curve, but it’s worth the effort.

The documentation was also clear and helped me while researching this topic.

Emacs documentation

Overall, Emacs is useful if you’re searching for a classical coding experience.

Pros:

  • It has an unlimited capability to extend its utility by using extensions
  • Works perfectly for most Unix systems, making it great for system administrators
  • It can be used as a fully integrated development environment
  • Includes capabilities for compiling, running, and debugging code
  • Strong user community that continuously upgrades its features

Cons:

  • It has a steep learning curve
  • It consumes quite a bit of resources and runs slow (especially when dealing with extended code)

9. Textpad – Great for Syntax Highlighting

textpad interface

Textpad is a powerful general-purpose text editor for Windows that’s well known for its syntax highlighting capabilities.

textpad  macros recording

It also includes other useful features like macro recording and an integrated file explorer. As with previously-tested software, I’ve also written a sample code in JavaScript.

textpad code

These features make it easier for programmers to write code and add files to their work without wasting time.

textpad compare text files option

It also has a well-designed user interface. Every menu and option is easily accessible.

textpad sort selected lines

Textpad fully supports various programming languages and can be used on all Windows iterations and Server 2008 to 2022.

textpad forum

The documentation for this software is comprehensive, and the community is active and helpful.

Pros:

  • Decent user interface with easy access to options and settings
  • It includes a variety of shortcuts to improve navigation
  • It has a tabbed interface, which makes working on multiple files simultaneously possible
  • An effective find and search functionality

Cons:

  • The advanced features are limited
  • Not suitable for large projects
  • Very limited support for extensions and plugins

10. CoffeeCup HTML Editor – Affordable Text Editor for Programmers

coffeecup HTML Editor interface

CoffeeCup is a good text editor with only a few advanced features, which makes it suitable for beginners. The interface is easy to understand and navigate. As the name suggests, it was designed for HTML files.

coffeecup HTML Editor code

I wrote a small HTML and CSS code to see how they pan out within the software.

coffeecup HTML Editor code written

The software has responsive website themes, which makes it easy to navigate the site and complete tasks on time.

coffeecup HTML Editor snippets

It also offers syntax highlighting, code completion, and even a preview mode that can be very useful for testing.

coffeecup HTML Editor code settings

You can use this tool to build and customize websites with the Site Designer feature.

coffeecup HTML Editor tools menu

It’s worth noting that the CoffeCup HTML Editor works exclusively with HTML, CSS, and PHP. You can also upload files through FTP.

On the documentation side, CoffeeCup provides a good set of resources that can help users. These include tutorials with clear instructions and excellent tips.

Pros:

  • CoffeeCup is one of the easiest-to-use HTML text editors, making it suitable for beginners
  • It auto-completes codes to help with efficiency and speed
  • It has a reasonable error identification feature for correcting errors
  • It includes a split-screen view
  • Offers support for multiple languages

Cons:

  • The design of the interface is outdated
  • The price is relatively high compared with other software

How I Chose the Best Text Editor Software

To identify the best text editor software, I tested more than 25 options, covering both free and premium apps.

Here are the parameters I considered while testing them:

  • I downloaded and installed every software to my testing setup, including a VM with various OS variants.
  • I tested every software to see how the editor manages different file types and sizes. This included how it opens, edits, and saves files.
  • I checked the speed and responsiveness especially when dealing with large files or other complex actions.
  • I explored every user interface and analyzed the layout and design.
  • I tested every available feature, such as search and replace, spell check, auto-completion, syntax highlighting, etc.
  • I explored all documentation and community support services for each tool.
SoftwareFile HandlingPerformanceUser InterfaceFeaturesHelp & Support
Sublime Text5/5Fast and responsiveClean and minimalExtensive plugin supportLimited, community forums
Visual Studio Code5/5High performanceModern and intuitiveRich extension ecosystemActive community, documentation
Notepad ++4/5LightweightSimple and user-friendlyComprehensive feature setExtensive online community, forums
UltraEdit4/5Good performanceCustomizable interfaceAdvanced editing featuresDedicated support, documentation
Brackets3/5ResponsiveUser-friendlyFocused on web developmentCommunity forums, documentation
Vim4/5LightweightTerminal-basedExtensive keyboard shortcutsCommunity support, documentation
Atom3/5ResponsiveModern and customizablePackage ecosystemActive community, documentation
Emacs4/5CustomizableSteep learning curveExtensive feature setLarge community, documentation
Textpad2/5ModerateSimplisticLightweight, for basic needsLimited, basic documentation
CoffeeCup HTML Editor3/5ModerateIntuitiveHTML-centric featuresKnowledge base, email support

How To Use a Text Editor for Code Writing

  1. Download Sublime Text from the official website.Downloading Sublime Text app from official source
  2. Install the app on your device.Sublime Text installed with icon on desktop
  3. You can open files by clicking File and choosing Open File, or using the Ctrl + 0 keyboard shortcut.Sublime text File menu with Open option
  4. To customize the view, click on the View menu and adjust elements like Syntax Highlighting, Indentation, and Color Scheme.Sublime Text View Menu with options
  5. To use the Command Palette and avoid searching for options in the menu, press Ctrl + Shift + P.Sublime Text In-depth Options
  6. To manipulate text, hover your mouse over a word and press the Ctrl + D keys to choose other instances.sublime_text ctrl+d shortcut
  7. After finishing the edits, you can save your file by clicking File and choosing Save or using the shortcut Ctrl + S.Sublime text saving file

You may also be interested in:

As you can see from this list, not all text editors are made the same, nor do they have the same specialization. Carefully read through my reviews and choose the best text editor for Windows.

Feel free to share your experiences in the comment section below.

More about the topics: Text Editor, windows