Notepad++ My New Favorite Code Editor

Unless you use a hosted blogging service such as or Blogger, chances are you’ve had to touch the code within your theme or blogging software of choice. For a longtime, I was a big fan of Dreamweaver. But that program is expensive. Once I got sick of the cost, I went out and searched the web for a free alternative. That’s when I stumbled across a piece of software called Aptana Studio. Aptana is opensource software available free of charge and in my mind, comes the closest to mimicking much of what I enjoyed with Dreamweaver such as the ability to perform code suggestions which I find to be very handy when messing around with CSS.

However, there are a couple of things with Aptana that have bothered me so much, I’ve moved on to a new piece of software called Notepad++.

Brownie points awarded to anyone who can guess what this code is part of

It seems like each time I open Aptana, there are 50 new updates I have to install. But the biggest annoyance for me is when I open up a PHP file for editing and try to SAVE THE FILE AS, a dialog box pops up asking me to save it as a project or something to that affect. Saving PHP files is a real pain in the rear.

With Notepad++, the software loads much faster than Aptana and once it does load, I’m not bombarded with news or updates that need to be installed. I don’t do much if any development work so using Notepad++ as a quick and easy editor of PHP and CSS files has worked well for me. The one thing I miss about Aptana is its ability to auto complete code or code suggestions. For example, if I type in the CSS property of background: into Aptana, a drop down list of variables is presented to me that I can click on to finish the statement. So far, I’ve not seen this feature in Notepad++ but if you know how to turn that on (if it exist) let me know.

I received a number of suggestions on Twitter on which code editor I should use but in the end, I’ve decided to go with Notepad++. It’s free, easy to install, and it’s quick to load. If you’re looking for a program to quickly edit code, this one should fit the bill.

Which editor do you use to edit or develop code?

19 thoughts on “Notepad++ My New Favorite Code Editor

  1. Yes, you can auto-complete CSS in Notepad++; press Ctrl + Space in the middle of the word.

    I tend the write the whole line though.

  2. There’s also the auto-close html/xml tag under TextFX >> TextFX Settings … After finding this gem I might be able to make notepad++ my primary html editor. Lord knows how boring it is closing them tags!

  3. Hi

    I have installed Notepad++ after having trouble with Kompozer regarding special characters. I’m having a little trouble with installing a theme though, the instructions on the website are a bit confusing. Anybody managed to install a theme and have an easy to under way to explained the process?

  4. I use NotePad++ to quickly edit an existing template (I have it set to open by default form FileZilla).

    When I’m doing more than a quick change though, I jump into NetBeans. It is more like Aptana in terms of what it allows you to do (project management etc.) but doesn’t have all of the quirky bugs, nor the frequent update annoyances (though it is actively developed). I love how well the code suggest feature works. It improves development by about 50%.

    The CSS editor in NetBeans also has a cool feature, a preview for what the current selector will do. kinda neat.

  5. I totally agree! Notepad++ is my tool of choice when working on Windows machines. But when I’m working on Macs then it must be Coda. Dreamweaver and Aptana both have too much stuff going on. As a programmer I don’t need the visual editor and other fluff that they offer. Keep it simple!

  6. From

    This feature is disabled by default, but a quick trip to the Preferences will get you using the new auto-complete feature in no time at all. Go to Settings -> Preferences, and switch to the Backup/Auto-competion tab. At the bottom of that screen you’ll see where you can enable auto-completion, and you can optionally turn on the “show function parameters” feature as well.

  7. I’ll have to test this out because I usually use Dreamweaver, but that it’s installed on my two machines at home. This is a good way to sneak in some editing while at work.

  8. My favourite is Coda for the Mac. This is a slick and efficient app on the mac. Along with a CSS editor and preview tools, it has ftp, ssh and svn support.

    My other favourite editor for quick edits is “vi” when I am logged into my webhost via ssh.

  9. try any IDE written in java. netbeans or eclipse. They are way more than code editors and let you manage your projects. If you import source code of wordpress in it. Debugging will be much easier.

  10. For bigger projects I use Eclipse, yes you do have to setup the project environment, but if you tend to make changes reasonably often to that set of files this overhead is easily justified. Especially with ftp synchronization and or svn plugins. As a bonus it’s cross platform.

    If I just need a quick edit, often directly on the server, I would use KDE’s Kate. Nice and simple.

  11. you could try pspad too – I have always liked it myself, although my coder friends half use that and half notepad++ so they are probably equally as good. Too many features to count!

  12. Jeff, You may already know this but another useful feature I’ve found with Notepad++ is that you can upload edited files directly from your PC to your website. Go to the Plugins menu, FTP synchronize, and check Show FTP folders. In the FTP Folders box which opens up, choose the Open settings dialogue and enter all your ftp details there to upload to your site.

  13. I have used Notepad++ at school and found it pretty good, but it’s only available for Windows. At home, and whenever I bring my notebook to school, Smultron gets put to work.

    It is excellent at completing html tags, has decent templates, a distraction avoiding full screen mode, and integrates perfectly with Cyberduck. It’s not Dreamweaver, and Notepad++ does a couple other things better, but it will work with just about any coding language, and has made me more productive in my programming classes.

  14. I use Winsyntax, always have. It color codes for HTML, PHP, CSS, Javascript and several other languages.

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