Some Notes On Trying Out Metapad


When I wrote in this column last week about a text editor called EmEditor ( I received many comments about my story, both from those who like EmEditor and from those who prefer a different program.

Ever since I've been writing about IT, which I started doing on April 6th 1983, people's preferences for text editors have probably been the strongest-held opinions, even surpassing those for web browsers and operating systems.

Many of the comments in response to my EmEditor story mentioned Metapad, so I decided that I owed it to you, my readers, to check out Metapad.

You can download Metapad from  It's a small download of around 0.1 MB, virus-free according to VirusTotal and Web of Trust, and runs on Windows XP upwards.  It's portable and free, although the author offers you the opportunity to make a voluntary donation if you want.  It's also open source, so you can download and compile the code (it's written in C) if you want to.  For what it's worth, the source code consists of a single file of 8000 lines of code, with hardly any comments.  It also hasn't been updated in more than 3 years.  Development of Metapad started in 1999.

My look at EmEditor mentioned that it handled relatively large text files (a few hundred megabytes) quickly, so I decided to test Metapad in the same way.  And in my own personal non-scientific tests, EmEditor came out top.  It was around 10 times faster than Metapad at both loading and searching files.

So there you have it.  Two perfectly acceptable free alternatives to Notepad.  But for my money, EmEditor beats Metapad.  Another worthy contender, if you merely want to browse and search large files rather than edit them, is Glogg (  

So why not check out all 3?



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On Windows 8.1: Notepad and Wordpad. I have also Word 2013. That's enough!

"So why not check out all 3?"

Exactly, that's THE point!

Thank you, rob! :-)

Metapad will load huge files but probably not a quickly as others. For the number of times I do that in a year, I can deal with it although I am sure that would be a deal breaker for some.

I use the search / replace feature extensively as well as case changing features. Shortcuts and favorites are also a plus

From memory Metapad had 2 versions, one for general use and one for very large files ...

I've been using EditPad Lite for years - i don't do much code work, but EditPad is excellent for text entry and editing before i dump it to PagePlus for final formatting.

I've also used EditPad Lite for years - excellent and recommendable - and for the last years I have used EditPad Pro.

I keep thinking of going Pro ... but there are other packages i'd likely want to go paid/full version on, first.

...and there's a new version of PagePlus i have to consider...

That is a good point. There are some excellent alternatives for people that do a lot of coding. I use metapad as it goes a bit beyond notepad with things like favorites and case changing without loading menus that I will never use

It is definitely a personal preference based on needs

I have been using Metapad for over a decade, as a Notepad replacement rather than as a serious editor. Have never felt the least desire to change editors, in that limited context.

For most editing of larger files you will want code highlighting and the ability to configure keyboard shortcuts.

For pure load-and-search operations on large files I usually use WinVi ( WinVi also has a Hexadecimal mode.

Will take a look at the most recent incarnation of EmEditor, which I used to use at version 1.xx, because it could hot link http://... text before that was routine, and Glogg.