What are the best alternatives to Notepad ?
I would like to get syntax highlighting support for major languages. Other desired properties are:
Notepad++  is very nice and free. It has a lot of highlighters included, but you can download or even create custom highlighters. http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net/
My editor of choice is Emacs but it does have the same learning curve as running into a brick wall.
Lifehacker had a good rundown of text editors.  Their top choices were:
You want Notepad2 
Lightweight and fast. And supports syntax highlighting for most common languages. Can open very big files also.
It even comes with a .bat that helps you replace notepad.exe http://www.flos-freeware.ch/notepad2.html
I just use Notepad 2 . Simple yet powerful enough and easy to rename it as Notepad.exe to replace the original. http://www.flos-freeware.ch/notepad2.html
Definitely TextPad  for me. It is easy to use, a lot of syntax files are available and it supports a number of extensions. If you cannot find a syntax file to suit you, it is pretty easy to build one yourself. http://www.textpad.com/products/textpad/index.html
Here's a very good review of various editors:
SciTE  - small, fast, syntax highlighting for everything. http://www.scintilla.org/SciTE.html
You might want to try the e Text Editor  - a windows alternative to textmate. It feature some cool features like inbuild version control for the small save that you do.
It does cost a bit and I am still waiting for the linux version. http://www.e-texteditor.com/
I work with EditPlus , mainly because I'm so used to pressing CTRL+B to open the current webpage in an browser tab right in the editor.
Might be that other editors also have this feature, but as in most cases that's one of the "started with it and stuck with it" programs. Once you know all your important keyboard shortcuts the expense of changing your editor is quite high ;)
Of course it also supports syntax highlighting, regex-search'n'replace, ANSI and UTF-8 character encoding. Oh, yeah: And it can work with the PHP Help file to show context sensitive help with just one key press. Or you can add external programs like HTML Tidy as filter. http://www.editplus.com/
cdleary mentioned gVim for Windows. It is definitly a great text editor for windows. All the power of the original, no learning curve since there is a menu you can access, a small executable and right-click menu integration in Windows. Here is a link: gVim  http://www.vim.org/download.php#pc
I was put onto Programmers Notepad  and love it. I had been using Notepad 2 but this is much better and more customizable. http://www.pnotepad.org/
I SWEAR by Scintilla based SciTE. For my money ($free) it the best text editor: lightweight, tabbing, syntax highlighting, you can run code in it ,
See it here http://scintilla.sourceforge.net/SciTE.html download it here http://scintilla.sourceforge.net/SciTEDownload.html
On Windows, I really like EmEditor . I've used it for years. http://www.emeditor.com/
The gVim (graphical Vim) distribution for Windows  comes with a shortcut named eVim, which I believe stands for "easy Vim" -- in this mode it works like the point-and-click text editor (i.e. notepad), and still has all of the syntax highlighting capabilities available through the menu bar.
I recommend trying this out if you don't want an immediate switch to a steep learning curve text editor but hope to learn one: you can get accustomed to the gVim interface in "easy" mode and switch out when you feel adventurous and want to experiment with the more powerful features. http://www.vim.org/download.php#pc
Another vote for Notepad2 ; it's the most similar of the bunch to the original Notepad, but with a lot more glitz & glamour (syntax highlighting, line numbers, current line highlight, etc). I actually prefer the single-document approach, as opposed to the tabbed multi-doc views of Notepad++ & Crimson (which are also very good editors).
This is going to be rather large.
are two good ones. I like the later because it is FAST.
If you're on a Mac, I have to mention TextMate , maybe a reason to switch to a Macintosh, no, seriously. :)
PS: none of the above are free. http://www.ultraedit.com/
On Windows: PSPad 
On Mac: SubEthaEdit 
Multiplattform: Editra 
Everywhere: Vim  http://www.pspad.com
I use EditPad Pro. Has many features including great regex searching (which gets a lot of use as my RegEx tester :)). There's a free version, EditPad Lite, that comes without the regex support, which I guess makes it pretty much useless.
EditPad Pro. A pretty interesting guy living the life in Thailand producing this most excellent editor. It's all I use on the Windows side of our existence.
Here is my preference:
I use Notepad2  and replaced notepad.exe with it. Lightweight, fast and perfectly meets my demands. http://www.flos-freeware.ch/notepad2.html
Notepad++  is also my favorite. besides syntax highlighting it has several other plugins like:
compare plugin - A very useful diff plugin to show the difference between 2 files (side by side).
ftp synchronize - A FTP client which is integrated in Notepad++ seamlessly. Open a php file from a server of distance, modify it, save it and try it on your browser directly just like you work locally http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net/
I tried several over the years finally settled on Programmer's Notepad . Simple, fast, easy to configure and all the features you would expect from a notepad replacement.
Don't be put off by the complexity of the default configuration ( screenshot ) which has all the IDE features turned on.
You can easily configure it to look like this: ( screenshot ) http://www.pnotepad.org/
Programmers Note pad for me.
EditPad Pro from JGSoft used the trial version for several years till I finally got my company to man up and pay the $50 license fee but it is a wonderful piece of software. Super-fast, complete, has exactly what you want and need and the trial version is hardly limited at all.
I do also occasionally use JEdit (free) for its ability to split window, its neat search features and its excellent Macros support but its java nature just makes it feel clunky to me. Otherwise, it was my IDE of choice before I became a Visual Studio rat back in the days of simple ol' PHP.
I've used Textpad from Helios for quite some time. Only thing I miss is the "Visual Basic" style context menu which autocompletes or describes e.g. function in certain programming langues.
Check out EmEditor (http://www.emeditor.com/). It is super light (right now it is currently consuming 424K on my system), blindingly fast regardless of file size, and the one time I had a feature request for it I mailed the guy who owns it and he replied, "great idea!" and added it a week later.
I won't give up my IDE, but EmEditor is a great complement to it.
Nobody has yet to mention JEdit which is an excellent open source text editor for any language....
Notepad++ is REALLY solid, that's the one I ended up sticking with and it does HEAPS of languages. It has lots of cool little things you can do with it, but it's definitely light. I'm not a fan of the epic, "chew all your memory just to edit text" Eclipse, style IDE's either..
Although, I think IntelliSense  in Visual Studio 2008 is freaking awesome. I've used a fair bit of Vim  in my time as well when I need to get freaky with .conf or GCC  stuff on Linux. I once read a famous quote saying that you should master one IDE?? Not sure where that is from..
Notepad++ works with
And you can hook up 'auto complete' functionality (with API's) as well. It also has tons lots of other really cool helpful stuff. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IntelliSense
I still use Kedit  from the days when I was installing programs under VM/CMS . Kedit is a very lightweight and powerful emulation of IBM's XEDIT . It is a REXX  interpreter which, similar to Emacs , allows me to modify its environment. A single Kedit session can edit up to 100 files simultaneously up to the size of memory.
One of the major benefits that I enjoy with this editor is it's capability to edit text within a column or a block. Another is it's capability of issuing complex commands.
I have used many of the editors in this writeup and I keep coming back to Kedit because it does more.
BTW, the learning curve is considerable as is true with any "good" editor. http://www.kedit.com
I'd just want to mention
for the mac users among us... http://smultron.sourceforge.net/
Obviously the best and free one is NotePad++ out there. Of course if you can spare money to those paid programs, you can find better ones maybe.
TextPad always. First class product. Almost a must have for programmers.
I have been using EmEditor  for years now for both code and regular content editing. When working with files in different encodings it performs flawlessly. The latest version also offers a hex view of your opened file. http://www.emeditor.com
@ htanata 
+1 to gedit. It is my choice when writing ruby, groovy and trying some java code.
Kind Regards #43617
I've been using UltraEdit on Windows for a long time, and TextMate on Mac for at least a year. I'm not using them near their fullest (it's tricky to memorize advanced features in two different tools), but they both work well and highlight syntax for a bunch of languages.
I'd have to say EditPlus , $35 well spent! http://www.editplus.com
I use Far Manager 's built in editor for simple text editing. The editor has highlighting for a lot of different languages including C# and XML. http://www.farmanager.com/
I have to go with Notepad 2 or Notepad++
I use notepad2 as a replacement for notepad (replaced like travis suggested), along with SciTE as a standalone executable on my tools flash drive. I also have notepad++ through Portable Apps , which I use on occasion.
notepad2 -- very lightweight, lacks tabs, love the flawless replacement of notepad.exe
SciTE -- Portable, tabs, syntax highlighting by default, can run basic console inside
Notepad++ (on portable apps) -- nice interface, slower response http://portableapps.com
I love TextMate for the Mac, but on Windows I have been using Notepad++ lately, which seems to be handling itself decently enough. I've been meaning to try E TextEditor which is a windows clone of TextMate - If it's anything like the original, I'd highly recommend it.
Sorry, but I have to plug my personal favorite Programmer's File Editor .
It's from the previous century, you don't get syntax highlighting but you get line numbers. It looks like the times when computing was fun and keeps the simplicity of notepad.
I tried a lot of editors but always liked notepad better till I fell in love with PFE http://www.lancs.ac.uk/people/steveb/cpaap/pfe/pfefiles.htm
I favour Notepad++ over any other editor on Windows.
If you happen to use a macintosh I would suggest SubEthaEdit (availiable at: http://www.codingmonkeys.de/)
Another Editor I recently heard about is Context, availiable at http://www.contexteditor.org/
But I have not yet tried Context.
The Emacs version on Windows feels clunky to use.. :( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emacs
On Windows, I like TextPad .
On Mac, I like TextWrangler .
It would be a mistake for me to recommend a text editor to any linux users :) http://www.textpad.com/
Btw Notepad++ and Notepad2 is also based on Scintilla  and they basically have the same functionality. http://www.scintilla.org/
I am a fan of vEdit.
TextPad and e-editor for windows and textedit for the mac.
We use Textpad, have done for ages - one of the nice things about it being the way it copes with huge files.
I've looked at others but not found anything compelling enough to make me want to switch (though there is only so much one can do with a text editor before you progress from useful to bloated...)
I personally love notepad++ and use it all the time.
Notepad2 , hands down..
It includes all the core functionality of a major editor (color code, zoom, line numbers, identation controll, auto tag closing, bracket identifying), but is also as fast and light weight as they come. Oh and it has an extremly simple interface. The complex stuf fare nicely tucked away. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notepad2
I use a combo of Notepad2 and Notepad++ for my coding needs.
Real programmers use
Huge TextPad fan. If it had source control integration and intellisense it would be the perfect code editor.
If you are after a free solution, you can't go past Notepad++ .
I'm a big fan of SciTE , myself. Syntax highlighting, bracket matching, supports multiple languages, and it is very fast and lightweight. http://www.scintilla.org/SciTE.html
I use Notepad 2, replaced Notepad with it. Lightweight and feature full.
I am a fan of ConTEXT , it also allows you to fully program your own syntax highlighting. Not sure if it is still being developed though. http://www.contexteditor.org/
For a lightweight solution either notepad++ or vim/gvim. For a more project based solution pspad is pretty good. I also like the customisability of notepad++ and pspad with their syntax highlighting. Eg. Add extensions like csproj, vcproj, wix to the XML language family to get the appropriate highlighting.
UltraEdit  - very handy text editor. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UltraEdit
Snippely  is a great little Adobe Air app for mixing thoughts and code together in a much more organized way then just text files. The only problem I had with it was it didn't have support for as many languages as programs like Notepad++ have, but it's still worth a look. http://code.google.com/p/snippely/
Geany  is cross-platform and uses the same editor component like Notepad++ and SciTE, but has much better IDE stuff. http://www.geany.org
And you could also try http://www.pspad.com/en/ . It has python syntax highlighting and is really smart and neat (but need some configuration before using with python)
Mac: Textmate Windows: Intype http://intype.info/home/index.php
I love SciTE ! http://www.scintilla.org/SciTE.html
I use NetEditr 
It's web-based based on TinyMCE and EditArea.
I mainly use it as an extra buffer when editing content in a CRM such as Joomla or Drupal. It's more like a sandbox to do your editing and copy paste to where you want. Saving source code to local computer is supported also. http://neteditr.com
The Zeus  IDE wins hands down. http://www.zeusedit.com
Nice tool between Windows Notepad and Notepad++ is Notepad GNU . http://sourceforge.net/projects/notepadgnu/
I have used TextPad for years. The part I really like about it is the find and replace functionality, which works really well over multiple files. I have found the ability to use "find" with regular expression syntax to bookmark lines, and then copy the bookmarked lines to another file, to be very useful. And, it has enough syntax highlighting, and you can define your own if you language is not already supported. And you can run it in demo (=free) mode indefinitely, although I did buy a license long ago. I don't usually program in it though. For that I use Visual Studio + Whole Tomato Visual Assist X, which is not light weight by any stretch of the imagination. If you want the editor specifically for programming I would choose one of the other suggestions here. But you did ask for an alternative to NotePad, and that's what I use TextPad for. Ohh yes - I did use it on Linux for a while by installing it with WINE.
It does not look like anyone mentioned KomodoEdit yet.
Notepad++ is the best one, because it is free and works fast.
Xemacs has a less steep learning curve than emacs, but with all of the underlying power. That might be a reasonable choice.
I wonder why people don't mention AkelPad (http://akelpad.sourceforge.net/)
If you don't need full-fledged code editor like Emacs but rather notepad replacement AkelPad is best choice. It's incredibly fast and ca