NotePad++ Review May 2017
NotePad++ Review May 2017
Copyright©2017 Larry Neal Gowdy - May 09, 2017, updated May 12, 2017
Of all the many free and commercial html/text editors available today, the one that I continue to use almost exclusively for work-work is NotePad++. Regardless of whether I am in Linux® or Windows®, NP++ is one of the most important programs on my computer. I am not much picky about email clients, and most browsers are similar regardless of the operating system, but I am very picky about my word processor, music player, and html editors.
Speed — NP++ is lightweight, it loads quickly, and it runs fast. Especially important when updating numerous pages of a website, NP++ lets me focus on the updates without the software interfering by being sluggish or nagging me with unwanted 'feature' popups.
Stability — It is relatively common for most editors to occasionally crash or get goofy with bugs, but NP++ has always been very stable on my computers, far more stable than any other editor ever used.
Ease of Use — NP++ is so easy to use, I recommend it to my customers who want to do little updates on their own web pages (even if the customers have no experience with HTML). Generally, if an individual is familiar with common menus and keyboard shortcuts that have been used for over twenty years in word processors and most all other software, then the user will not have a problem navigating through NP++.
Features — I only use a tiny portion of the available features, but the ones that I do use are very important to me. The ability to zoom in/out the text is easy with both ctrl/mouse wheel and ctrl/+-. The ability to turn off menus and toolbars is also important to many of us who prefer to only see our work, and to not be distracted by user interface (UI) buttons and boxes.
UI Color Changes — I have been using personal computers for over thirty years now, and I have grown excruciatingly bored of the common light-grey colors in most software, so bored that it can actually cause me to feel depressed. Feeling depressed with a tool is a fast way of losing interest in your job, so sometimes I use other editors like Microsoft's® Expression Web 4 (EW4) just to feel more comfortable and to alleviate the boredom. Nevertheless, NP++ works better than EW4 for most work-work uses, and so I change settings in NP++ to enable a cleaner UI.
The default UI and font theme is fine and works well, but it can be too bright for tired eyes. Too, individuals who have conscious peripheral vision need darker borders to reduce distractions and eye fatigue, so, an all-white program can be a serious health hazard to the individuals.
The dark UI above is what I prefer. The screenshot shows NP++ in Windows 8.1 with the toolbar, document list panel, tab bar, status bar, and menu bar clicked off in the Preferences settings, and the window is sized-down to fit personal preferences. The scroll bars, tabs, menus, and the doc switcher frame cannot share a similar color as the title bar, so I sometimes simply widen the window and then slide the window to the right to where the bright scroll bar is out of view. I can still quickly switch between files with ctrl-tab and access the menu with right-click or the alt key, or temporarily open the tabs or doc switcher if I have to repeatedly make small edits to numerous files. For me, this setup is pretty good.
NP++ also permits add-ons, including a wide choice of available workspace themes. The screenshot shows the 'Deep Black' theme, but I also use the 'Ruby Blue' at times when I need a change. The workspace themes are XML and can easily be modified.
The screenshot above is of Expression Web 4 with the dark theme and font colors that are comfortable for long hours of typing. I still very much enjoy using Expression Web 4 for toying with new designs when I am not in a hurry, and the spell checker is fantastic, plus EW4's visual feature lets me insert lengthy text a little easier, but for work-work NP++ is the best choice for me.
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