Need a better text editor? Try Jarte

As text editors go, Notepad and Wordpad are clearly just a little too basic, which is why a host of developers have made their own replacements available online. But if you’re just a regular user then many of these may seem too complex, with syntax highlighting, code folding, regular expression support and many other features which may not rank high on your priority list.

There are also some mid-range editors around, though, and Jarte is one of the most interesting: portable, free and feature-packed, yet also concentrating on the kind of functionality that matters to most people.

What you’ll notice first, unfortunately, is the program’s rather unconventional interface. There’s no menu bar, for instance. You can hover your mouse cursor over one of the tiny icons to see various menus, but these tend to ignore many Windows conventions. It looks nice, but it’s also confusing, at least initially.

Don’t give up, though. If you check the menus you’ll realise that Jarte’s commands use very conventional shortcuts: Ctrl+O to open a file, Ctrl+F to find text, Ctrl+P to print, even F7 for the built-in spell check (as with Word). You probably already know how to do most basic tasks.

And the interface can also be given a clearer look in just a few seconds, adding labels to the icons and bringing back a conventional menu bar, if you prefer it (click View > Show Main Menu). All of which will help you forget the interface, and concentrate on what really matters here -- the excellent feature set.

Jarte can open plain text, RTF, DOC and DOCX files, for instance, in multiple tabs.

Your documents can include tables, pictures, hyperlinks, even equations.

You get a full range of paragraph formatting options, and a format brush to help you apply them.

There’s a configurable “auto save” option. Easy footer and header configuration. Template support. A clipboard manager to help you display and reuse 25 clipboard samples; a screen capture tool; and the option to integrate a dictionary and thesaurus.

But what we really like about Jarte is the depth of functionality. So sure, you can left-click a tab to switch to that document. But right-click a tab and you’ll find options to move it; to copy the file name, folder name or full path of the document to the clipboard; or to open Explorer or a command prompt at that folder, ready for immediate use. Just small things, but genuinely useful, and there’s a host of similar goodies dotted throughout the program.

If you might be interested in a Notepad replacement which isn’t just aimed at developers, then,Jarte is a great free example which gives you plenty to explore. Just be aware that you might not like the interface, at least initially, so be prepared to spend a few minutes learning the basics and adapting it to suit your needs.

Photo Credit: urfin/Shutterstock

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