No, I am not talking about editors such as EditPlus and Notepad++ that can open multiple distinct text files. I am looking for a tool that can create a single text file having multiple sheets in it. Idea is simple -- to maintain my many related text files in a single workbook. Is something available out there to achieve this?

2 Answers 2


There are a few options similar to but not necessarily an exact match to what you describe.

An old favourite of mine used to be TiddlyWiki. This has multiple "cards" that can be opened closed. Normally in a single window (bit like default Wordpress front page but a lot more flexbile) but there are plugins that will turn it into a tabbed view which would be very similar to Excel. It is a single HTML file and a very clever piece of programming. Perhaps not strictly speaking a text file then since the file contains a fair bit of HTML, JavaScript and CSS but darn clever and both powerful, flexible and easy to use. Also cross platform. There are even tools to run them from servers and on mobile devices.

There used to be a few tools that would use a single executable with a single text file but not sure if any of them still exist.

You also have the Jupyter Notebook which uses a version of Python so again not really a single file and also not really a text file (well it sort of is) since it uses a JSON format.

If you were to relax your "rules" a little, there are plenty of tools that use folders and text files (generally a simple text markup format such as MarkDown). Let me know in the comments if those are interesting and I will try to dig some out as examples.

  • This answer was posted on the same day as the question. Given that there has been not reaction to it from the OP in 5 months, I doubt that bumping the question to the frontpage will help.
    – Mawg
    Jan 26, 2017 at 14:41

Not sure whether it's possible at all: Having a text format supporting different sheets would need some markup. When talking about xls-like format, there will be formula and other things. My guess is, no chance to do it with a simple, stream lined format.

But: The OpenDocument format as supported e.g. by LibreOffice is supporting a version where everything is stored inside an unzipped XML file. The filetype is called OpenDocument Flat XML Table. Beside of some format informations, it should be possible to edit with many OpenDocument compatible tools as well as your favorite text editor.

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