IDM Computer Solutions – UltraEdit review

multi-featured text editor, programmer's editor, HTML editor...
Photo of IDM Computer Solutions – UltraEdit
$30.00 (shareware, 45 day free trial)

For the average computer user, Notepad and Wordpad are the only text editors required. But for more demanding users who, for example, need to edit and create HTML code, develop Perl, VisualBasic or C++ programs, or simply manipulate very large text files, something more is needed. We’ve played with numerous different text editors over the years, but never yet found one that quite matched our needs.

The problem is that some feature-rich editors are dog slow while many of the fast, nimble editors lack the important features that we need. UltraEdit is the closest we’ve yet come to text editing perfection. The program, which is available in 16-bit and 32-bit versions (so even Windows 3.x users can make use of it) has relatively modest requirements; a 133MHz Pentium with 8MB of RAM will do, along with 2MB of disk space.

Once installed, UltraEdit can be associated with any particular file extension (.txt, .pl, .htm, .cpp, etc.) so that double-clicking on any such file will open it in the editor. Files of up to 2GB can be handled, without swamping the PC’s memory. What’s particularly nice is that different file types can be displayed in different ways. So, for example, HTML and XML files will be displayed with their tags in a different colour, while Perl scripts and other program source code is shown with different colours for variables, instructions, comments and strings. This splash of colour makes editing much easier.

The attention to detail is what really counts, though. There’s the option to compare two files side by side, with differences highlighted. You can search and replace across multiple open files (with regular expressions too), change the colour scheme completely, reconfigure the highlighting options and add new formats (perhaps for JSP and ASP). The formatting tools include sort options, converting tabs to spaces or back again, uppercase and lowercase conversion, wraps to line feeds, DOS to UNIX, Unicode support and many more. There’s a built-in FTP client and project manager, too.

In fact, there are plenty of options for user configuration, so you can tweak the display and interface to suit you. There’s even an HTML context checker and built-in spell-checker, with dictionaries available for numerous languages. French, German and Spanish versions of the program itself are also available.

Company: IDM Computer Solutions

We've only really scratched the surface of the features in UltraEdit, but what's important is that the program is stable, fast, reliable and easy to use. It's a worthy replacement for any other text editor we've seen and is certainly worth the asking price.