Top 5 Free Portable Text Editors for Windows

Anybody writing or editing any kind of code knows that Operating System default text editors just don’t cut it. Even for the more simple tasks involved in formatting source code, a more advanced text editor will make the process faster and easier to accomplish. Starting a text file in HTML, CSS, Perl, Javascript, or any other programming language, from scratch, definitely requires a more advanced editor. There are text editors available that can be installed as a Notepad replacement or used as portable software. Here are five free source code and text editors that will meet your needs.

Notepad++ Portable

A portable multi-language application with syntax highlighting

Inclusive of all the features of the original, well-established Notepad++ code editing program, Notepad++ Portable is the ideal solution when you need to constantly revise and reformat code on several different machines.

The free text editor has a comprehensive tabbed user interface making navigation simple and providing the possibility of work in a number of documents at the same time, or work using different views of the same document. You can even drag and drop a document into another view. Lines are numbered, the syntax is highlighted and sections can be bookmarked for easier access to areas of large documents.

A small compact Notepad replacement or on the go editor, Notepad++ Portable supports over 50 languages, macro recording/playback, recognizes the range of coding formats, and its power can be further extended with plugins. It is compatible with Windows 7 and higher, 32- or 64-bit.


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A basic text editor with a range of plugins for transformation to source code editor

AkelPad’s basic text editor user interface – menu bar, window, and status bar -makes it as simple to use as Notepad. The difference is that a wide range of plugins facilitates its use as a fast and easy code editor.

Yes, you’ll find the usual ‘Open‘ and ‘Save tabs under the ‘File menu, Cut, Copy, Paste, etc. under the ‘Edit menu and font selection under ‘View.’ However, the ‘Options menu is where the free text editor becomes more than just a Notepad replacement. This is where you’ll find the ‘Plugins and ‘Settings tabs to transform the application to meet coding requirements like auto code completion, highlighting and code folding. You can choose from three window modes – single window, multi-window, and pseudo multi-window, change keyboards, create hotkeys or create toolbars to interact with other programs.

AkelPad can be installed as a standard Windows program or, it can be installed to replace Notepad or as an editor for the Windows file manager, Total Commander. A compact application, it is compatible with all Windows systems and supports a range of language modules.


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Text Editor Pro

The versatile multi-purpose free text editor that has everything you could ever need

Text Editor Pro, originally known as EditBone is a free text editor that enables you to work in more than fifty scripting languages complete with syntax highlighting. Bookmarking, word, character and line count, search, replace, browser previewing, line sorting are just a few of the tools available in addition to the usual text editing tools.

Side-by-side view enables text and syntax file comparison. There’s a Unicode character map, an SQL formatter, you can convert numerical units, record macros – and that’s just the basics! In addition, to name a few more:

  • 100 customization options
  • 100 skins
  • JSON/SQL/XML formatter
  • Multi-caret/synchronized editing
  • Code folding
  • Classic menu or ribbon user interface
  • Interface elements can be added or hidden
  • File recognition for automated formatting
  • Multi-document loading
  • Directory loading

The application is available for Windows in a 32- or 64-bit installation version or as a portable application.


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BowPad Portable

Fast free text editor with ribbon user interface and customizable syntax highlighting

BowPad’s odd name is due to its being named for its ribbon user interface. Supporting more than 100 languages, it presents as an ideal editor for programming and scripting. The ribbon toolbar provides easy navigation and fast access to all the most used features of text management in addition to custom commands.

The application includes an integrated web search feature enabling you to do a Google or Wikipedia search for a highlighted word, and supports commenting and bookmarking in addition to the basic editing tools. It highlights syntax, handle UTF-8, UTF-16, and UTF-32 encoding, and provides an entire range of functionality-extending JScript and VBScript plugins.

The BowPad interface can be split to up to four windows to facilitate simultaneous viewing of document versions or parts of the same document. Features include customizable code highlighting colors, line/column display options, use of dynamic fonts and many more. The application is free for Windows 10 but is also compatible with Windows 8 and 7.


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TED Notepad

Free, lightweight Notepad replacement with 368 text-processing functions

Portable, fast advanced editing tools on hotkeys sums up the advantages of using TED Notepad. It bills itself as the swiss army knife in free text editors and is the epitome of KISS.

Upon download, you can choose to either install TED Notepad as a Microsoft Notepad replacement or use it as portable software.

Simple, neat and targeted to the requirements of users of advanced text editors, the application launches to a basic window with menu bar above and status bar below. Looks are deceptive, however. You’ll soon find features, settings, text tools quickly accessible on hotkeys and mouse clicks for almost every function in addition to being available via the menu bar or context menu. A numbering column makes it suitable for scripting. 

Features include:

  • Auto completion
  • Experimental line completion
  • Search and replace
  • Clipboarding text and, swapping and moving
  • Nine clipboards
  • Bi-directional editing
  • Unix and Mac file conversion function

TED Notepad is a compact application compatible with all versions of Windows back to XP and 2000.


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Interested in more Text Editors and Notepads? Check out our Free Text Editors category.