What text editors are as easy as Notepad for Windows 7, but with the extra features below?

  • Advanced Find and Replace functions (replacing line endings would be helpful)
  • See control characters in my text
  • Add control characters to my text
  • Read multiple files at the same time (tabs and side-by-side view)

I would prefer a free program, but can pay a little bit for software if it is really good, maybe USD10.

  • 2
    Just about any editor other than Notepad can do all this. (I'm having trouble parsing your third paragraph though.) Yes, I know you wrote “for a novice”… but that's a highly ambiguous criterion, every vi user starts out as a novice. Feb 5, 2014 at 0:08

1 Answer 1


Try Notepad++. It's free, so you don't lose anything. Furthermore, it's GPL, so if you're interested, you can modify it, it if needed. I did use it before switching exclusively to Mac, and it was really nice. I don't remember hitting any issues. For programming, it offered highlighting and parsing (collapsing etc.). Your requirements:

  • Advanced Find and Replace functions (replacing line endings would be helpful): yes. Supports also \n, \t etc., and regular expressions for more complex patterns.
  • See control characters in my text: yes, "View -> Show symbol -> Show all characters"
  • Add control characters to my text: yes, at least with hexeditor plugin (search for "hexeditor" from that page).
  • Read multiple files at the same time (tabs and side-by-side view): tabs yes, and fully customizable. I'm not sure about side-by-side view. Based on this superuser answer, yes: right click on tab and select "Move to Other view".

Screenshot from notepad-plus-plus.org

It's almost as simple as basic notepad, but contains quite a bit of features:

  • Syntax Highlighting and Syntax Folding
  • User Defined Syntax Highlighting and Folding: screenshot 1, screenshot 2, screenshot 3 and -screenshot 4
  • PCRE (Perl Compatible Regular Expression) Search/Replace
  • GUI entirely customizable: minimalist, tab with close button, multi-line tab, vertical tab and vertical document list
  • Document Map
  • Auto-completion: Word completion, Function completion and Function parameters hint
  • Multi-Document (Tab interface)
  • Multi-View
  • WYSIWYG (Printing)
  • Zoom in and zoom out
  • Multi-Language environment supported
  • Bookmark
  • Macro recording and playback
  • Launch with different arguments
  • 2
    Notepad++ also has the side-by-side view (that the OP mentions) with horizontal/vertical scroll synchronization.
    – MrWhite
    Feb 5, 2014 at 0:46

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