Stepping Up My Game - Notepad++ (More Than Just A Text Editor)
Lately I've started to go a bit "old school" when I write shorter pieces. Rather than firing up Word with all the associated overhead and formatting, I go with a simple text editor to remain focused on what I'm writing. Normally, that text editor was Notepad. It was there and did what I needed. But I finally decided to take my own advice and upgrade to Notepad++. It's clean and unobtrusive, but there is so much that you can do with it...
With straight text, it really doesn't matter much about formatting. But say I'm looking at an HTML or XML file. Notepad++ can format and clean it up for me. What if I copy over some text from a source that has special characters like the curly quotes used in Word? Notepad++ can clean that up for me. Typing in some C#? Notepad++ will format properly as I enter the code. Uppercase everything, indent, encode characters, create macros... It's hard to believe that something that looks so basic can do so much.
And it's FREE!
Part of my motivation to move away from Notepad and to Notepad++ is that I have UltraEdit at work. I find that for a number of the things I do for work, having the extra capabilities of a package like UltraEdit for coding and file manipulation is essential. Since Notepad++ has those same types of capabilities, I figured that using Notepad++ in both environments would give me a better experience as I move between computers and environments.
Adding Notepad++ to my daily routine should have been a no-brainer a long time ago. But now that I've finally made the shift, I can't see myself going back to anything less.