View 70+ file types with Free Editor

FreeEditor

Office, PDFs, ebooks, archives, audio, video, images: the average PC owner regularly encounters a lengthy list of file formats, and viewing them all typically requires an entire library of software.

Free Editor claims it can simplify all that by opening 70-plus file formats from a single interface, and editing some of them, all for free. Too good to be true? Let’s see.

As you might expect, the installer will by default change your browser home and search pages. But this is easy to avoid, as long as you’re paying attention, and we didn’t find any other issues.

Free Editor can open Office documents (doc/ docx, xls/ xlsx, ppt/ pptx, odt), many image types (including RAW, ICO, PSD, TIFF), videos, audio files, archives, PDFs, RTF, ePubs, source code, binaries, plain text and more.

The program wasn't always successful in our tests. Free Editor failed to open some large PDFs. It crashed with one test PSD, and we found complex Word documents were sometimes formatted incorrectly.

The program's editing abilities are limited, too. You can’t edit PDFs; audio and video files are strictly for playing only; and the image editor is just about as basic as you'll get anywhere (it includes only rotate, resize and crop tools, grayscale/ blur/ sepia effects, brightness/ contrast adjustment and simple tag editing).

Free Editor is better at text-based documents. There are all the usual text formatting options, indents, paragraph settings, lists, tables, images and more. The spreadsheet is more basic (no charts, not even a formula bar, although you can enter a formula directly in a cell), but you can still view, edit or create sheets, edit formatting, and edit/ enter data.

Another plus is that you’re sometimes able to save your files as another type, although this didn’t work as often as we’d like. PDFs can only be saved as PDFs. Image exports are restricted to BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG, TIFF and TGA. Word documents may be saved to DOC, DOCX, ODT, RTF and TXT (no PDF).

There are a few unexpected extras. A hex editor, a very simple resource editor for binary files, and a source code editor with syntax highlighting for a few languages.

In our tests, Free Editor revealed some bizarre shortcomings. We wanted to create a new Word document, for example, but found there was no File > New option. Pressing Ctrl+N worked there, but was ignored with some file types, and crashed the program if we tried it with images.

We also noticed that, if you modify a file and accidentally close the program, there’s no "Do you want to save?" warning: it just shuts down.

Despite that, Free Editor can open some file types which you might not currently be able to handle (EPUB, ODT, PSD, TIFF, various RAWs). Specialist viewers will always deliver the best results, but as it’s free you might also try Free Editor as a viewer of last resort.

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