Quick Guide of PSPad programmers editor

This article was modified on 2012-08-25 17:50:14

PSPad is one of the best editors for programmers. For the rest of us, regular users, I guess it can be used as an advanced Notepad replacement tool. For a quick overview over how it looks you may want to read this article.

Do you need a PSPad review ? It doesn't make sense as the entire list with all of his features could be included into a...book. I would not be able to cover all of his options, even Jan Fiala (the developer) on software features page stated that there were "too numerous to list" and focused only on a couple of them. So I am trying a different approach, I will show you several screenshots from the main program area's and at the end you can decide if you like the program. It's not a tutorial but rather a quick guide or a short introduction over main program capabilities.

My only observation: If you choose to download and install the regular version, it will also come with a toolbar. Yes, you can uninstall if after you're installing the application (I have made a separate document for this – coming in the next 24 hours as a separate PDF file) OR you can choose to test or use the portable version - that's the same version that I used in this article. It is clean and does not contain any toolbars or additional stuff. So let's get started, you can download both: the regular setup version or the portable version from PSPad homepage. I have opened the portable version of PSPad and it looks like in the following image (I have resized the window for a smaller image - yours will look larger). That's the main software interface.
The editor has several tabs which allows you to access the most important areas. Please keep in mind that I cannot cover all the aspects. I am just featuring principal sections that also have their own sub-sections and so on. That being said let's move on and take a look at the first tab.

File: The first tab allows you to create new files, save (sessions), open, print documents or to exit the program. It's very similar to many other programs not just text or syntax editors.

File menu

Projects: As you can see, the second tab is dedicated to projects. It's very useful, especially for programmers as it helps them to gather different related files in one place. The best example (given by the author) it's the one of a website project. Most of the websites contains several different files such as .html .css .php .asp etc. Looking at them from a programming language or syntax perspective, yes they are different but being connected one with each other it will ease the work. So, the program will "arrange" all the files on folders under a "project tree".

Projects menu

Edit: Just like the first tab, this is also a familiar option that can be found at other programs. From this area you can perform all kind of operations that involves: Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy, Paste, Select, Sort etc. on opened files. Just one thing to remember, this won't work for files that are opened in read-only mode.

Edit menu

Search: As the name suggests, from here you can use several search features. Besides of the "traditional" Search, Find, Find and Replace commands you can use others that we could say that are more advanced such as: Incremental Search, Next or Previous Occurrence of Current Word, Matching Brackets and even a customizable Google Search.

Search menu

View: Under this tab you can find several other useful functions that can change the way you're viewing opened files and also the main software interface. It also includes a Spell Checker (not available in portable version), Syntax feature that does one thing: it allows you to enable highlighting on or off, Line numbering, Word Wrap lines and Ruler (well-known feature at other text or office editors) and even a HEX edit mode.

View menu

Format: I would dare to say that most of the features found under this menu will be used by advanced users and programmers. From here you can change font for regular editor or HEX editor, use other functions such as Char and Code Case Change and other text changing function.

Format menu

Tools: This tab contains the most numerous options. From here you can use interesting features such as: Auto-Completion, Repeat last Command, Create Clip from Block, Char Table, Hash generator etc. However, in my opinion, the most interesting ones are the Macro (which allows you to "record a number of file navigation and editing functions so that they can be repeated later") and Text Differences (that allows you to compare two text files showing you the differences between them).

Tools menu

HTML: As the name suggests, from here you can perform several actions that are related to HTML files. You can preview pages, reformat or compress the html code, convert tags to UPPERCASE or lower case, convert text to HTML, import from CSV or RTF formats etc. Also, with the help of TIDy library you can check the HTML code, clean and correct HTML code, upgrade HTML to CSS, convert HTML to CSS, XML or XHTML.

Html menu

Settings: This tab will allow you to customize PSPad in many ways, there are just too many of them to be listed here. You can perform basic things such as changing the language, colors used and advanced stuff like those found in system integration, files and dirs sections.

Settings menu

Window: Again, this is also an interesting area. From here you can make use of several nice features such as: Auto-refresh Window, Vertical and Horizontal Split, Tile Vertical and Horizontal, Arrange and many other options.

Window menu

Help: Finally, the last tab allows you to use several help resources whenever you feel stuck. The first one is one of the most important: (?) Help - will open a new window that contains detailed instructions with images and everything else. Right-after there is a second option named FAQ that contains answers to most known problems. Also, via Online Help section you can get direct access to valuable online resources from trusted and respected websites such as W3Schools Home and others. From the same Help section you can access the PSPad forum.

Help menu

Conclusion: Unless you're a programmer, computer expert, IT guru, webmaster etc. why would you use PSPad ? I don't know about you but I would use simply because it has several features that others will charge you money for them. Just a few examples: FTP client, macro recorder, text comparison feature and many others. If you're convinced about this wonderful text editor, please consider a DONATION to the author.

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