For this week’s Freeware Frenzy, I will be taking a look at EditPad Lite v6.2.2

The installation process will first present you with three options. The first, the ‘No Questions Asked’ option will go directly to the license agreement and install. The second, ‘Select Components’, will let you choose to add the documentation and/or desktop and start menu shortcuts. The third choice, ‘Advanced Options’, lets you choose the Program Files folder and the Start Menu folder, as well as choose the components from the previous option. Being the busy reviewer I am, I clicked on ‘No Questions Asked’ and EditPad installed in a flash. You’ll find an icon on the desktop to start EditPad. When you first run it, EditPad will ask to be set as your default text editor. Unless you enjoy being pestered each time you run the program, be sure to click Yes and uncheck the box labeled ‘Always check if EditPad Lite is the default text editor’. You are now ready to go.

We all know about Notepad, the simplest of all text editors, that comes in the Accessories menu of Windows. It has very basic word processing features and is useful for basic text reminders or, for programming and web gurus, the HTML editor of choice. But from a word processing perspective, it’s too limited to be useful to the masses. Microsoft also includes WordPad as a more advanced, but still limited, word processor. This is most likely included as a way to placate those who complain Microsoft Office software is overpriced. As many of us know, Office’s popularity and Microsoft’s considerable market influence, have made it the standard for home and workplace word processing. But I digress. Today I will be looking at EditPad Lite as a replacement for Notepad, and how its various features over Notepad make it worthy of a look.

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As a fair comparison, let’s first take a moment to look at Notepad. Opening Notepad does little to inspire writers, with a bare text window and a mere five entries on the menu bar. Customizing a document is restricted to only new fonts, nothing about formatting, spell check, bullets, pictures, or any of the hundreds of extras you’ll find Word or OpenOffice. And I’m sure the default setting of no word wrap turns off many users. Given all this, most people will simply skip over Notepad in favor of more advanced editors. How then can EditPad Lite become that replacement?

One of the first things to notice is the bevy of menu entries and toolbar buttons. You’ll also notice tabs, something we could not find in Office until the very latest release, Office 2007. These tabs are also unlimited, so you’ll only ever need one instance of EditPad in the taskbar, which is handy for multitasking. You’ll also find a more advanced search function, which can limit searches to whole words only, cases, all tabs or specific documents. I also found the highlighted current line for the cursor to be a big time saver and cure for lost cursor syndrome in long documents. EditPad Lite also boasts the ability to convert text types to and from all sorts of Windows, Unicode, and DOS code pages, as well as UNIX and Mac readable text. In fact, the program’s website even claims EditPad can read text from any kind of system, from a day old Windows PC to a twenty year old IBM mainframe.

The additional options can customize both the program itself (such as shortcuts, system tray icon) and the user experience (cursor colors and more). The help file is very thorough and covers every available feature and menu in EditPad. EditPad also supports East Asian languages, something Notepad cannot do. And for all of the HTML coders out there, there is a useful button for "Preview in Browser".

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To conclude, EditPad Lite is admittedly not for everyone, simply because text editors are not nearly as popular as full fledged office suites such as those from Microsoft or OpenOffice. Check out our previous Freeware Frenzy columns on OpenOffice here: and here: But for anyone looking for a useful text editor with just the right feature set, give EditPad Lite a look. Check it out here: