PlainEdit.NET -- A Notepad replacement for technical users

PlainEditPlainEdit.NET is a free portable Notepad replacement with some interesting and unusual extras.

The core feature set is familiar enough. A tabbed interface allows you to open multiple documents, and there’s support for opening ANSI, UTF-8, Unicode and Unicode big-endian files, with Windows, Mac and Unix line breaks.

Developers will appreciate details like syntax highlighting (Assembler, Batch, C#, C++, CSS, INI, Java, JavaScript, NSIS, Pascal/ Delphi, Perl, PHP, PostScript, PowerShell, Python, SQL, Visual Basic, XML), user-defined document templates, code snippets, the bookmarking system and more.

A capable search and replace tool supports regular expressions, and can work across files, as well as open documents.

What’s more unusual is the level of control you get over your page layout. You can define orientation (portrait or landscape), color usage, and various margins and indentations. Headers and footers can be customized with the date, time, page numbers, file name and more.

Useful clipboard tools include "Copy & Add", which adds the currently selected text to the contents of the clipboard, rather than replacing it. Insert > Clipboard options save time by inserting the contents of the clipboard before or after any selected lines.

There are small but welcome extras, dotted around the menus. Select Insert > Console Output, say, then type a console command, and its output will be inserted into your document.

And if this isn’t enough, the program can be extended with several plugins. There are tools to help you select and insert colors in various formats; extract email addresses and URLs; and export the document as a hex dump, HTML file and more.

PlainEdit.NET’s core editing engine is capable, but not outstanding. There’s no drag-and-drop editing abilities here. And the limited German-only documentation wasn’t much help when we tried to understand why a particular tool wasn’t working.

The program has more than enough editing abilities for most people, though, and plenty of extras for developers and the more technical user. If you’ve not yet found a Notepad replacement for you then give it a closer look.

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