Review: UltraEdit

UltraEdit-32 10.20+
IDM Computer Solutions
Indian Springs, Ohio

UltraEdit is one of the longtime survivors in the shareware world, having started life as a 16-bit application. Still shareware and with a wide array of features despite the low price, it's worth considering for your text editing needs.

What you get here is a syntax-coloring editor (there are nine common languages in the default install, but you can download highlighting files for many more from the Web site) that can open lots of files at one time. It uses an MDI interface with tabs for fast switching between files, and a treeview showing which files you have open. Files can also be grouped into projects so you can easily open and close whole groups of them. There are also various other windows that you can add to the user interface, including an output window that shows you the results of external commands and a tag list window. The tag list was designed for languages like HTML, to let you pick tag names and get the appropriate text inserted in a document, but there's no reason you couldn't use it as a general code-snippet facility.

As you'd expect from a text editor that's been around this long, there are lots and lots of features. Just a small selection:

  • Hex editing mode
  • Search and replace with regular expression support
  • Column selection mode
  • Incremental searching
  • Support for working with files from FTP servers
  • Unicode support
  • HTML Tidy integration
  • 100,000 word spell checker

There's also a full macro language, including a recorder and macro editing facilities. You can edit macros just by choosing from a list of actions, so there's no need to learn yet another programming language.

UltraEdit can set up any DOS or Windows application as an external tool, pass it the current filename, and save the output, so you can use it in conjuction with compilers or other tools. It allows you to double-click on output messages and jump to the corresponding code lines, though I had some trouble with this when the path was very long and included spaces and numeric characters. But after this many years of accumulating files, my drive layout is fairly baroque.

UltraEdit uses the disk for intermediate file storage, so it can handle extremely large files even if RAM is limited in your box. If you're looking for a snappy tool to edit lots of files at once, it's a good choice - and you can try it out for 45 days for free.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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