I am looking for a little more advanced alternative for Notepad. There are a lot of text-editor but most of them take a while to open.

I found Metapad as a fast and feature-rich replacement. Unfortunately, it has a single but major issue: It does not support Unicode only ASCII.

Is there other really fast choice?

Some text editors claim to be Unicode enabled but could not render RTL (right to left) languages(e.g. Persian) correctly. If you copy سیب to one of them and you can see this string similar to its shape here, the editor is really Unicode editor.

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    By Instant-load Notepad you mean fast loading of the editor or the text file? Jul 24, 2014 at 18:45
  • @FranckDernoncourt I mean editor. Jul 24, 2014 at 19:01

5 Answers 5


I'm surprised no one mention Notepad++ yet.


Everything I do is instant all the time, has a bunch of syntax highlighting for most languages and markups, and a nice collection of plugins for automation, formatting, etc.

Best of all? It's open source!

  • 1
    Thanks, but this is among the slowest text editor to open. Jul 24, 2014 at 12:03
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    Did you install any time-consuming plugins? It starts in about half a second on my system.
    – ComFreek
    Jul 24, 2014 at 12:08
  • Yeah, mine loads in a fraction of a second. What environment are you on?
    – xHocquet
    Jul 24, 2014 at 13:37
  • 1
    Windows 8 might be the culprit, since I've used N++ on windows xp-7 with the same speed. You say a lot of them take time to open, which is strange since text editors are usually very light applications. So the common factor would be your OS.
    – xHocquet
    Jul 24, 2014 at 19:49
  • 1
    I've run N++ on multiple Windows 8(.1) machines without issues. The only problem I once encountered is the loading time for a very big file - but this is rather an edge case. @PHPst If you would like to invest some time in tracking down the problem, consider writing a post in N++'s forums.
    – ComFreek
    Jul 25, 2014 at 15:18

I use Notepad2, from flo's freeware.

It is an SDI text-editor rather similar to the standard Windows Notepad (and includes instructions on seamlessly replacing the Windows Notepad without hacking any files), and is very fast and lightweight. It has syntax highlighting for a variety of languages, code-folding, file-change handling, various text-manipulation/conversion functions, and various other features. It supports a variety of line-endings and text encodings including Unicode (though like with any program, you need to have a supported font available).

It is free and open source and has some forks that add other features like encryption.

Screenshot of Notepad2 with the OP’s sample text correctly rendered

  • This is my favorite. It has not been as actively developed recently, but it is already so feature rich, yet slick and non-bloated, that there isn’t as much room for improvement as with a lot of other programs. In addition, there are a few forks which add features like encryption, bookmarks, and code-folding, some of which have been rolled into the trunk already.
    – Synetech
    Jul 24, 2014 at 20:52

I am using Sublime Text 2 for quite some time now, which is a lightweight editor with many features.

  • Crossplatform (so it works on Windows)
  • Free unlimited trial, paid full version
  • Supports UTF-8 and UTF-16
  • Many features, such as:
    • Multiple themes (shown is Solarized (Light))
    • Sidebar with directory tree
    • Search in all files of the open directory tree
    • Minimap which shows the location in the file
    • Syntax highlighting
    • Fuzzy search
    • Autocompletion from words used elsewhere in the file
  • Many plugins to add even more functionality

Sublime Text 2 opened with a folder, a new file, an existing file and a search in the open project

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    It's awesome, unfortunately it cannot display Persian text correctly. There is a plugin name "sublmie text bidi" but could not settle the problem completely. Jul 24, 2014 at 19:11

Emacs (home page). I recommend the EmacsW32 build on Windows.

Emacs is relatively slow to start, but you set it up to start on first use, or with your session. When you need to edit a file, run emacsclientw to open a window in the existing Emacs process. With the EmacsW32 build, running emacsclientw automatically starts Emacs if it isn't running yet. See the Emacs wiki for more information about running Emacs and emacsclient on Windows.

Emacs has good support for Unicode and for right-to-left text (at least since Emacs 24). See Bidirectional Editing and other character sets topics in the manual.


The fastest text file editor (in terms of text file loading time from personal experience) that I am aware of is SweetScape 010 Editor:

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