Editing Text with Notepadqq

(Note: This post was originally published, in a slightly different form, at Opensource.com and appears here via a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.)

I don't do Windows. The operating system, I mean. At least, not on my own computers and not with any of my own work.

When I was a consultant, I often had to work out of my clients' offices, which meant using their hardware, which also meant using Windows at many of those offices.

Even when using Windows, I tried to install as much open source software as I could. Why? Because it works as well as (if not better than) its proprietary equivalents. One of the applications I always installed was Notepad++, which I looked at for The Plain Text Project.

To be honest, I've wanted a version of Notepad++ for Linux for a while now. Someone made my wish come true in the shape of Notepadqq. Although it's billed as “a text editor for developers,” it's not a bad tool for writers or anyone else, either.

Let's take a look at it.

Getting the Software

You can get Notepadqq in two ways. If you've got the chops and have the right dependencies installed, you can grab the source code from GitHub and compile to your heart's content.

On the other hand, there are also packages for several distros. I usually install it using FlatPak. Don't judge me...

Once you have Notepadqq installed, fire it up and you're ready to go.

Notepadqq when you first start it

Using Notepadqq

I'm going to describe how I use Notepadqq to complete the jobs I need to complete— like writing, taking notes, maintaining task lists, editing web pages, and the like. I don't code, so I can't tell you how good (or not) Notepadqq is for that job. You have been warned.

You're probably thinking that writing with a text editor involves just firing it up and typing. Well, you're right. Kind of. I'm not always writing in plain, vanilla text. I also work with a number of markup languages including Markdown, HTML, and LaTeX. For that, Notepadqq does a solid job.

Editing this post in Notepadqq

Notepadqq's Main Features

Compared to many popular text editors, Notepadqq's set of features seems a bit thin. You can, obviously, open any text file with the editor. While it doesn't do tag matching or auto completion, Notepadqq does have a smart-indent feature, which remembers the indentation settings of the last line I type.

One feature I always look for in a text editor is syntax highlighting. You need to save a file with the correct extension (for example, .md for a document formatted with Markdown) before the syntax highlighting kicks in. When it does kick in, it's not too bad at all:

Syntax highlighting in Notepadqq

Notepadqq also has a couple of other useful features for editing text. The first is the ability to convert between upper and lower case. I don't use that a lot, but it comes in quite handy when I need it. I'm hoping the developers add a feature to convert text to title case.

Much more useful, and something I use more often, is the feature for trimming spaces from the beginning or end of lines. I use it a lot when dealing with older text files, ones from those other operating systems, or with files that have been converted between markup languages. It saves a lot of boring, repetitive, manual work.

Other Features and a Problem or Two

So what other features does Notepadqq have? Here's a quick list:

On the other hand, there's no word count (although Notepadqq keeps a running character and line count) and no spelling checker.

Ultimately, Notepadqq isn't a feature-for-feature Notepad++ clone for Linux. Then again, I don't think it's intended to be. It's still under development, so I'm expecting the folks behind the editor to add a few more features in the coming months.

Scott Nesbitt

#linux #desktop #plaintext