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I constantly find myself trying out different text editors because sometimes I feel like I need the power something like Notepad++ has to offer, but other times I feel like it is so much more than what I need. If you’re a programmer that feels the same way then I’ve got a great find for you. The free (and portable) Extreme Editor app has syntax highlighting, tabs, and a handful of other carefully picked features that help bring a bit of simplicity back to your workday.

Below you’ll find a brief list of features the developer highlights, but there is one cool thing they never mention. In the Tools menu there is a Monitor File option (disabled by default) that I assumed I knew how it would work. Naturally I thought that if a file was saved with some other text editor while I had it opened that I would be prompted to refresh the file, which is exactly what Notepad++ does. You’ll either love or hate the way this works though. When this feature is enabled the file will automatically be refreshed anytime Extreme Editor detects that it has been saved by another app. Let me demonstrate when you may and may not want to use this feature:

  • DO NOT enable “Monitor File” if you are coding something that you’d be devastated about losing if someone else saved over your work. This is not some kind of collaboration app… it is simply looking to see if someone else has saved the file recently. So it’s very easy to lose any changes you are making to a file. Basically, if you’re making any changes to the text file I do not recommend enabling this feature.
  • DO enable “Monitor File” if you are constantly opening a log file to see what new lines have been added. This feature is awesome when dealing with files you only plan on reading, and is especially great for those files that are getting updated regularly so that you don’t have to continuously reopen them.

Here are some of the other things Extreme Editor is capable of:

  • Supports full-screen mode.
  • Syntax highlighting for several languages: C, C++, Assembler, Pascal, Python, Perl, Ruby, XML, CSS and many more.
  • Text formatting tools.
  • It has a simple Hex viewer.
  • It is a standalone binary: no DLLs or other installation. Copy the application to a flash drive and take it with you.

This is a pretty handy app for anyone that enjoys working in a notepad-like environment, but is looking for some notable features like tabs and syntax highlighting. The file monitoring capability is the cherry on top for me.

Extreme Editor Homepage (Windows only; Freeware)