I'm looking for a Windows or cross platform text editor which let's you easily place text anywhere with just a click to place the cursor, without having to tab or space your way over. Similar to mspaint or Photoshop, where you can place text in arbitrary locations without having to manually tab white space around.

  • 1
    I'm a little irritated: are there editors without that "feature"? Even the on-board Notepad app let's you click anywhere to insert text there. What am I missing?
    – Izzy
    Aug 15, 2014 at 16:54
  • 1
    @Izzy I think OP is referring to the ability to click in a location in programs such as Paint to insert text anywhere without existing text nearby.
    – grg
    Aug 15, 2014 at 17:19
  • 2
    Hm, the tag "text-editors" doesn't support your interpretation (Paint is no text-editor). But it might be a wrongly selected tag. Without clarification of the OP, we only can guess...
    – Izzy
    Aug 15, 2014 at 17:44
  • @Izzy Yes it does? OP is looking for a text editor, with the ability to place the insertion point anywhere, like you can with many image editors such as Paint.
    – grg
    Aug 18, 2014 at 12:05
  • @GeorgeGarside I've never seen any text editor where that's not possible, sorry. Looks like I don't get the point, so I will stop monitoring this before we get "too chatty" in the comments on it. Mike seems no longer interested anyhow, as he didn't provide corresponding details yet.
    – Izzy
    Aug 19, 2014 at 11:26

5 Answers 5


You can do this with any recent version of Microsoft Word by double-clicking anywhere on the page. This adds any required lines between the top of the document and the point that you click, as well as automatically set the indent correct for that line to allow text insertion in arbitrary locations.


You can use NotePad++:

  • free
  • Windows
  • can enable virtual spaces with this hack:
  1. Install NppExec plugin

  2. Go to Plugins -> NppExec -> Execute

  3. Enter the following code:

    // ensure console stays hidden
    // enable virtual spaces (cursor past end of line) outside column edit mode
    SCI_SENDMSG 2596 3 0
    // SCI_SENDMSG == send message to Scintilla edit control
    // 2596 == the message we're sending is SCI_SETVIRTUALSPACEOPTIONS
    // the default value is 1 (just SCVS_RECTANGULARSELECTION) for
    //   virtual spaces in column select mode only
    // you can find these values by poking around the source code a bit, or
    // see http://www.scintilla.org/ScintillaDoc.html
  4. Click the Save button at the bottom, and give the script a name

  5. Now go to Plugins -> NppExec -> Advanced Options

  6. On the right, under "Execute this script when Notepad++ starts", select the script name you just saved

  7. Click OK, close/reopen Notepad++, and enjoy ;)

  • Very helpful thank you. if you have a 64 bit Notepad++ like I do, you won't have the NppExec plugin by default, you should download the file NppExec20160628_dll_x64-2.zip from sourceforge.net/projects/npp-plugins/files/NppExec/… and extract the zip contents to the Notepad++ plugins folder then close/reopen Notepad++.
    – snajahi
    Apr 27, 2017 at 10:58

You can use Microsoft Visual Studio:

  • limited version available: Visual Studio Express (which has enough features for beginners). Besides Express there's Pro, Premium and Ultimate.

Go to: 'Tools' --> 'Options' --> Text Editor --> All Languages and check "Enable virtual space".

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(I tried with Microsoft Studio 2010 Ultimate, I don't know about previous versions)

As for other IDEs, Eclipse and Sublime don't seem to have any option or dragging for that enabling white space.

You'll still have to add the line breaks yourself.


In all versions of Microsoft Word you can place a text box in your document, and move it around.

Add textbox

You can easily format the text box (remove borders, change color, change text wrapping, etc...) and the text (change font, size, etc...)

This might not be the one-click solution that you would've liked, but in Paint and Photoshop you first have to select the 'Text' tool before you can click somewhere to enter text, so that's more than one click anyway.


It's a notetaking app rather than strictly a text editor, but Microsoft OneNote allows this. OneNote actually creates a textbox to contain the text or images when you click someone in the page.

These days Microsoft OneNote is free if you don't mind storing all your documents on the cloud.

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