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I regularly find myself in a situation where I have to open large text or log files, and trying to view them using the built-in Windows Notepad will return a message saying that the “file is too large for Notepad”. Heck, sometimes my trusty Notepad++ can’t even handle them. When it comes down to files that are over a couple gigabytes I have to turn to a text editor that is a bit more reliable, and the one I’ve been using lately is called Large Text File Viewer.

This free application requires no installation, and is more than capable of handling those enormous files that other programs cringe at. I tested this with a 1GB file that had over 12 million lines, and I was able to start viewing the contents of the file in under a second. It then progressively loaded all 12 million lines over the next minute.

One important thing that makes this application useable for me is how smooth the scrolling is throughout the file. Sometimes when viewing a large text file it becomes extremely choppy to try and scroll through it, but with this viewer that is nowhere near being an issue. Opening a 1GB file and scrolling through it doesn’t feel much different than opening a simple text file in notepad that is less than a few megabytes in size.

Here are some of the features that Large Text File Viewer has to offer:

  • Designed for viewing large (>1GB) text files.
  • Uses very little memory (around 8-10MB on my system) and the executable is just 572KB in size.
  • Background file indexing makes browsing even faster.
  • It opens files that are currently being written to by other programs, and automatically checks and reads the files if new contents have been appended.
  • You can split the view either horizontally or vertically, and have each side show different portion of the same file.
  • It allows the user to perform high-speed complex text search by means of plain text or regular expression. (Note: The regular expression syntax is slightly different than normal)
  • For CSV (Comma Separated Value) files, when the user hovers the mouse over any field in the file, a hint automatically appears with the field name.
  • Customizable appearance (background, text color, etc…)
  • Automatic detection of URLs (HTTP, FTP and email addresses).

If you’re trying to open or view large text files and logs then this is definitely an app you’ll want to have around.

Large Text File Viewer Homepage (Windows only; Freeware)