I write quite a bit in plain text files. A simple text editor, like Notepad, meets most of my needs when writing plain text files.

But sometimes being able to bold or italicize a word is very useful. And being able to indent a section of text is a big plus. Outside of that, I don't need much for these documents (see this question for when more is needed). A spelling checker is a plus, but definitely not essential.

There are tons of great notepad and word processor programs out there, but most are overkill for this simple purpose. Really, all I need is bold, italicize, and indent.

I would like to save the file as a plain text file (with appropriate markup or Markdown, which will be needed), or if I absolutely have to, as an RTF (Rich Text File).

I want the program to be Windows 7 compatible, fast, lean, free, and preferably portable.

(I've tried Jarte Portable, but it only handles RTF or completely non-formatted text (no markup), and there is something about it that after it starts, the cursor spins like it is busy for 2-4 seconds, which I know is a bit picky, but I find momentarily interrupts workflow.)

  • AFAIK you can't have bold, or italicised text I'm a plain text file, because it doesn't support it - you can only have normal text characters. Which means you'll have to save in RTF... – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Oct 30 '14 at 3:23
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    @ṧнʊß You are absolutely correct. The text editor needs to interpret the plain text to provide the additional functionality. That's how markup, markdown, and RTF all work. They store the file as plain text, but interpret certain sequences of plain text to apply formatting. The indent function can actually be performed in a rudimentary way without any markup, but to get it to really work, you need the editor to perform some sort of interpretation such as that offered by markup, markdown, or RTF. – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Oct 30 '14 at 3:27
  • @ṧнʊß Reading your comment again, I realize that I need to clarify a little. I'll do that now. Thank you! – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Oct 30 '14 at 3:28
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    PS: To get an idea what Markdown is, click on this link: edit #D – Izzy Oct 30 '14 at 10:49
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    Have you tried wordpad? It comes preinstalled on most Windows installations. – Seth Nov 4 '14 at 14:18

If you need formatting only during first openin, not needed saving of formatting, then try SynWrite:


  • you need Beta version (link at site)
  • you need to install "Color Text" via "Options - Addons manager - Install"
  • then you need to configure "Color Text" via ini file, it's simple, if you can't, ask at SW forum, just n lines in ini file

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