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  Hold No Punches...  by Rode


EditPad Lite & PRO

  EditPad Lite 
Download - 540kb

EditPad PRO <Manual Only>
Download - 262KB

One of my most used utilities is my text editor. I use mine for everything from programming to making quick desktop notes. I often write this column in my text editor. There are so many great freeware and shareware text editors that there is no reason to stay with plain old Windows Notepad.

There are lots of full featured freeware text editors but the problem with features is that they make a program load slower. A good compromise, and my favorite text editor is EditPad by Jan Goyvaerts of JGsoft. My readers know that I have been a big fan of EditPad ever since it first became available in 1996. The original EditPad, which was reviewed in a previous column, is still available as EditPad Classic, but is no longer officially supported. EditPad  is now available as Freeware EditPad Lite , and as a retail version EditPad PRO. EditPad Lite is free for individuals and non commercial use. 

I must admit that when I first heard about the new versions, I was concerned that the developer had given in to market pressure, and added a bunch of new unnecessary features to the nimble EditPad. I was mistaken. Mr. Goyvaerts has figured out a way to make a good thing even better, without slowing down the program one bit. This is a tough thing to do with software, and EditPad exemplifies what well written code can accomplish. EditPad Lite is as fast as Windows Notepad ... or at least close enough so that you won't notice the difference.

EditPad has a wonderful new interface. It has a web browser appearance that is both intuitive and easy to use. Colored tabs make it easy to switch between different documents, but I wish those 

little green icons weren't there! All of EditPad's menus have icons which can make for some very colorful displays. However, I find this icon menu display a bit busy for my taste.

 EditPad Lite has all the functionality of the Classic version and a bit more. The interface makes it easy to work with text, be it either a single word or a block of text. You can do all the usual things, such as cut, copy, and paste from the menu or toolbar icons. You can perform searches in either forward or backward as well as search and replace. The search engine appears as an nicely done attached interface, and is identical to the one in the PRO version. There is a Block menu for dealing with blocks of text that will allow you to insert a file within a text document. There is a Convert menu which will let you perform many conversions, such as from upper to lowercase, or Windows to Unix carriage returns.

Under the Options menu you can pick your own font, make EditPad stay on top of other windows, use numbered lines, and toggle Word Wrap. In the Options/ Preference menu you can select the colors you want for the interface. You can see in the pictures that I like a blue background with white text. I find it to be easier on my eyes, and it makes it easier to tell the difference between a document I am working on in another application, and my text editor. I have also selected a yellow highlight selection with red text. It is easy to change this so you can try different settings to suit yourself. Being able to select your own colors is a is a feature you won't find in any other free text editor.

If you have EditPad installed on multiple computers you can import or export your EditPad settings. After you get EditPad setup up on your Desktop computer, you can simply export the settings to your Laptop. EditPad is also Network compatible, which means you can share text files simultaneously and EditPad will prevent you from overwriting or corrupting the file by mistake.

EditPad Lite shares a really great help file with EditPad PRO as well as useful online support. The PRO manual is available for download and has a lot of information that is common to both versions. I have made the EditPad PRO manual available as a download. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the manual. The Help file is comprehensive, very well written, and easy to use. There is even a new version check in the help menu. It is very rare to find a freeware program with this level of support.

If EditPad Lite isn't enough for you then you can purchase EditPad PRO for a fair $29.95 U.S. dollars. If you are a programmer, or use your text editor as a lightweight Word Processor, then you will eventually want to upgrade. EditPad PRO is just a tiny bit slower loading then is Lite, but the gain in useful features is worth the speed hit.

EditPad Pro has all the features of the Lite version and a lot more. First you get a really excellent manual that is in a Adobe Acrobat format. This and a very good help file should answer any questions that you may have. But if you still have questions the author provides fast email tech support. 

When you load edit pro you will immediately notice a few new menus in the interface.

If you use your text editor for programming, you will find many additional features that specifically support programmers. There is syntax coloring and coloring schemes, a Hexadecimal editor, Bookmarks, and a sort function. EditPad PRO has full support for Regular Expressions, and the ability to compare two files. The serious programmer can add 3rd party external tools that launch from the Tool menu, and can run in the background, on text files that are loaded and available in a Tab. There is also a Project menu that will keep track of multiple project files, and let you open them as a file set. There is a Bookmark menu which will allow you to create defined bookmarks within the file, and quickly go that bookmark.

The search interface that is common to both versions of EditPad, attaches itself conveniently to the bottom of the interface. The Pro version adds Regular Expression parameters.

Even if your not interested in programming, the PRO version offers two things that make the upgrade worth the price, for those who use a text editor as a lightweight Word Processor. 

  • Spell checker..... available in multiple languages. 
    Multiple languages can be installed and checked.

  • Configurable toolbar..... Set things up your way.

With EditPad PRO you can arrange the toolbar for the way you like to work. I particularly like the Stay On Top icon. My readers may remember that I requested this in my previous Classic review and I was delighted to see it in the PRO version. I put the stay on top icon at the very beginning of the toolbar. Sometimes I copy things from my text editor to another application, and it is great to be able to toggle the text editor to stay on top while I perform the copy.

The spell check is simple to use and has a number of different dictionaries that can be installed. There is a cool interface that attaches to the bottom of EditPad. This interface makes it very easy to switch between spell check languages.

By default the dictionaries install in their own directory off the the C:\Program Files folder, into a JGsoft folder rather then the Edit Pad directory. This is because the dictionary is shared among other JGsoft products. If you want the dictionary to install into a different folder, you must install the dictionary from the command prompt and point it to another path, after which all dictionaries will install in that folder. I would prefer to see the dictionary self installer give you the option to install directly in the EditPad folder.

You will also find a full character map and email support which will allow you to email your text document directly from EditPad. Both of these features have attached interfaces similar to the spell check that pop up when needed. This is the first time I have seen a character map in a text editor and I have found it to be surprisingly useful. EditPad Pro also provides it's own clipboard with up to 16 stored clips which are easily accessible from the toolbar.

The one thing I would like to see in EditPad Pro is Macro support. I would be happy with a simple quick record and playback icon that was overwritten by successive macros. Something that could be used for quick boilerplate work. Of course, being able to store and playback macros at a latter time would be great. Especially if they could be associated with toolbar icons.

I have been running both EditPad PRO and Lite in Windows 98SE2 and Windows 2000 for a couple of months and haven't experienced a single glitch, hang, or bug. Everything works as it should, there is lots of help when you need it, and EditPad behaves like a well tuned Porsche. You may find a free text editor with more features, but if speed, ease of use, and problem free operation is what you want in your text editor then EditPad Lite is the logical choice. I think it is the best free text editor available. If you are a programmer, or use your text editor as a lightweight word processor, then EditPad PRO is a good choice at a fair price.

Either way you can't go wrong with EditPad!







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