Hearing the question “which text editor to choose?” most often we answer “Microsoft Word” in one breath. This is the most popular, advanced and, unfortunately, paid solution, which has already taken root in the minds of Windows users. Writing programs are not only the soft giant from Redmond, but a lot of independent software and alternatives that will successfully replace the popular Word in various scenarios.
Which text editor to choose?
It all depends, of course, on our needs. The most popular writing programs fall into one of four groups:
- Text editors from office suites . Editors that are part of the entire software package and comprehensive solutions are generally very complex in terms of functionality and have efficient auto-correction tools . Office packages are also worth considering when you want high compatibility with file extensions (doc, docx, odt).
- Online text editors . I mean mainly the services of the giants on the market – Microsoft and Google . Although the network ecosystem of the former company has less functionality than in the version for desktops or laptops, it has one important advantage – at least for now, it is available to the ordinary user for free.
- Smaller word processors that are separate programs. They focus only on the functionality related to entering and editing text. In some cases, their capabilities can be further extended by downloading and activating plug-ins.
- Programming text editors . They pay special attention to the compatibility with various programming languages and many file formats as well as the readability and clarity of the interface during operation. It’s mostly open source software with access to a large amount of scripting and community support.
Writing programs: functionality with a capital F
Before we choose the candidates for the title of a software perfectly tailored to us, let’s think for a moment what we expect regarding the functionality of the program. What is our typical operating scenario ? When decomposing the characteristics of editors into prime factors, it is important to:
- User interface . Some users will prefer complete solutions, which at the beginning can even overwhelm with functionality and configuration options. Demanding in this respect, the program will provide the greatest opportunities, but not necessarily the best user experience. If we do not need dozens of icons and drop-down bars, maybe something more optimal will be a simple editor that will simply allow us to focus on our work?
- Plugins and extensions . For a small group of people, plug-in support is a necessary condition. If we need a particular feature that is not natively supported, we have no choice.
- Customizable themes and functions for content display . Aligning the visual layer may be more important than we think. It is not only about modifying the fonts, colors or the background on which we write, the built-in syntax highlighting and indexing tools can also be important.
- Functions such as “search and replace” and derivatives . The ability to assign the most important repetitive actions to universal keyboard shortcuts can save lives. In many cases, simplicity may be advisable, but let’s remember the basics.
- Optimization and loading speed . While less important in the age of high-speed semiconductor drives and technological advances, it still matters. Perhaps we do not need a sluggish harvester taking up a dozen or so gb of data space to work, which is greeted by a splash screen with the manufacturer’s logo. Instead, we click on the icon for something simpler and just work.
Online text editor. You won’t find anything better than Google Docs
Don’t feel like installing anything and use the internet? If you care about accessing content from any computer or smartphone or working with other people – feel at home. Google has invested huge resources in creating a work environment for both individuals and teams .
The function of simultaneous work on a given project or document was carried out in an exemplary manner. Sharing content is as simple as typing the invitee’s email address. We can also define cooperation rules on the spot: it can be both full editing and only the possibility of displaying the document or suggesting corrections (with the option of accepting or rejecting them later).
Read Also: Google Docs will help you compose your email
The applied changes are visible in real time, and during editing we can even see where the person’s cursor has stopped. Communication between users has also been facilitated . We can chat and exchange comments, or leave comments with notifications (just add an e-mail address preceded by a “+” sign). For full clarity, a history of changes has been introduced , which we will verify with the date and author.
For many users, support for doc and docx files will also be extremely important . It is possible to convert Word files to Google Docs format and vice versa. These extensions are supported by an additional plug-in for Chrome , Office Editor , which we will install from this page:
You can check Google Docs here:
Writing programs. LibreOffice is the spiritual heir of Open Office
For many years, the main alternative in the area of office suites for Microsoft Office was Open Office . Unfortunately, the project has not been further developed for a long time, although its website still exists. Is there anything else on the market that can successfully replace OO in many scenarios that do not require the most advanced functions and only native support for Microsoft formats?
I would call LibreOffice the spiritual heir of Open Office and, like its predecessor, it is open-source software. As the producer recalls, “it is made up of a global community of hundreds of programmers, artists, and other free software enthusiasts.” Observing the work of this team for several years, I must say that the advantage of paid software has been decreasing over the years and in many scenarios the differences lie in the details.
Unlike the spreadsheet module, the word processor doc and docx compatibility is noticeably better. In the past, most tables and more complex formatting would go awry when converted to odt and vice versa, a document saved in open source did not always look good when opened in a Microsoft product.
The differences remain, but the problems are no longer as numerous or conspicuous. If our work does not require full native support for these formats, I will risk saying that we will be satisfied in most cases.
Of course, this product is not the only comparison to Word. It also defends itself with a fairly clean interface, its own extensive list of templates to facilitate the creation of documents, an extensive dictionary with the auto-correction function and improved handling of shapes and comments.
Of the newer features added in LibreOffice, it is worth mentioning the QR code generator and the censorship feature that allows you to hide sensitive data in your documents. The process can be automated based on defined text or regular expression.
LibreOffice can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website here:
Which text editor to choose? Focus Writer and Notepads
Two small and very useful applications for a change. Focus Writer is based on entering text in full screen view with maximum emphasis on focus . Regardless of whether we have a large amount of material to prepare or just a few paragraphs, in today’s world of notifications and flashing icons on the taskbar, it is easy to find distracting stimuli.
So the program takes us to the world of seclusion, where we only have a piece of paper in front of us (or not!) And the view in the background of one of several predefined visual styles. We can modify these in any way to get the effect we want.
By default , both the toolbar at the top and the document tabs at the bottom are hidden. The functions typical for the editor, such as undoing changes, justifying, searching and replacing text, will be seen only after hovering the cursor in the appropriate place.
Focus Writer is available for download at:
I would describe Notepads as a systemic notebook on steroids , which is a fantastic piece of code. With regard to its poor progenitor, it differs, among others, in the introduction of a convenient tab bar , from which we can easily switch between different documents, the ability to search for selected text on the web, go back in the history of changes in more steps and support formatting on a completely different level.
This little free tool also has a built -in preview of changes, file sharing and spell checking. The whole thing is very well optimized and was written from scratch using the Universal Windows Platform.
We will download the application at:
Programming text editors. Neovim and Notepad ++
Finally, there are solutions for professionals . Neovim is of course an extension of the functionality of the legendary VIM editor, which was created in 1991.
Provides exactly the same syntax setup as the titled old man. Therefore, it is a good alternative if we think about a tool that uses proven solutions and functions, and at the same time is designed for modern GUIs .
The undeniable strength of this software is the huge community around this tool, which means a lot of good quality plugins and scripts . For some, the disadvantage may be the effort that we have to put into “learning” Neovim and fully mastering the software with such great possibilities.
We can download the editor from the manufacturer’s website here:
The popular chameleon was based on the Scintilla editor component . The application is characterized by a good compromise between general use and strictly programming functions.
In other words, it works as a text editor as well as a handy programmer’s tool that does not require sophisticated scripts from the handler. In both cases, we will not be overwhelmed by the heaviness of the interface and the complexity of the use.
Read Also: Ranking of web browsers 2022
The distinguishing feature of Notepad ++ is its lightness and optimization . Even very large files of several gigabytes in size can be loaded without any problems. Working in cards is fully supported, and the whole is complemented by large configuration options, including in the field of personalization of the theme and syntax coloring .
The program is available on the website: