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Any good and free lightweight tools to preview text files easily?

Posted on 2006-03-20
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-17
Hi Expert,

I'm looking for a freeware that can be used to preview text files easily in Windows.  Fancy tool would be nice too.:)  I need something that I can use to help me browse through all my scripts in each directory easily.  The only tool that allows me to preview is MS Office Word, File Open, and choosing the preview view.  But Word loads slowly and the preview pane has very limited function.  I can hardly resize the screen to my liking and the mouse scroll wheel won't work.  Any suggestions?  I'm looking for something that can be a text editor (which means I can open up the file), but the main concern is the the preview function (viewing files w/o opening).  I want to be able to point to a file in a directory and see the contents of the file in another pane (kinda like a jpg viewer).  Then as I step down to another file, the other one goes into preview pane.  Actually the best way to describe it is like the popular jpg viewers, except I'm viewing text files.  I understand that the files are being opened as I view them, but I just want it to be quick w/o my intervention of having to open and close them, and have some better control on viewing and moving around the files.

Question by:skip1000
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 16242647
Use WordPad.exe or NotePad.exe on Windows to open, view, and edit plain text files quickly.
NotePad is quicker, but falls down on Unix-style line endings.

Author Comment

ID: 16242678
actually, I was looking for something better than notepad or wordpad.  I want it to be better than the ms word preview as well.  In other word, I'm looking for something w/ object browser that I can step down and the file would automatically open in a preview pane.

Accepted Solution

fastlivehelp earned 500 total points
ID: 16242863
Try this out:


Open up the zip, run setup.exe and install with defaults.

After that you can run it by going into your start menu and running it from there.

You can single click on any file to display the contents which will be readable if they are text files. If you double click on the filename it will display it in the text viewer and then also send it to windows to be opened or executed.

Please let me know if you have any questions about it.

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Expert Comment

ID: 16243012
I'd vote for vim or it's GUI version, gvim. It's not hard to use - there are buttons or menus for a lot of common commands so you don't have to remember anything for viewing purpose. It also comes handy with shell exntension so that you can right-click on any file and start viewing it. Try it if you haven't used it before or not under windows (www.vim.org)

Author Comment

ID: 16243174
Hi john,

Do you or yr company produce that program?  As for speed, it rocks.  But it could use a bit of functions to say sort or filter the directory.  Anyway, it does what I need, (nothing more, nothing less ;) thanks for the program.  Thanks.

Sorry kjpus, I was never a vim person.  I was windows-bred and never got really got into the unix world.  Not that I'm a complete windows fanatic, just that I make a living using it.  Thanks for the suggestion anyway.  

Expert Comment

ID: 16243248
Hi skip1000,

Yes, I wrote this program and you're welcome to submit any change suggestions to me.

If you click on my logo on the program it will pull up my website and you can then click on the "Contact Us" link to submit your request with the form provided.

I'm glad it's working out for you.


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