How to open Gigabyte-sized text files on Windows
When you try to load a Gigabyte-sized text file on Windows, you will find out quickly that the default programs that Windows ships with are not suited for this.
While most users may never encounter huge text files on any system, those who do need a program that opens these text documents reliably.
Neither Notepad nor Wordpad open very large text files, and even favorite third-party alternatives such as Notepad++ won't once file size reaches a certain threshold.
Most programs refuse to load a 30 Gigabyte password hash text file, and the same is true for sizeable Gigabyte-sized log files and other large text files.
The following guide lists text editors and viewers that you may use to open very large text files on Windows PCs.
Programs to open large text files on Windows
The list focuses on free programs. While several commercial applications such as Ultra Edit support large text files, it is not necessary to pay money to open these text files on Windows.
- EditPad Lite -- Has a limit of 2 Gigabytes but supports viewing and editing.
- EM Editor -- Opened the 30 Gigabyte text file without issues. It took a while to load the whole file. According to the feature listing on the official website, EM Editor supports files with a size of up to 248 Gigabytes.
- Glogg -- Is a cross-platform program that loads large text files quickly. It is a viewer application that supporting browsing and searching text files.
- Large Text File Viewer -- A free program for Windows that opens large text files just fine. The program loaded the 30 Gigabyte text document just fine. It is a reader application only, however, which means that you may use it to find text and view it but not to edit it.
- Universal Viewer -- The program loaded the 30 Gigaybte text document faster than any other. It is a read-only application that supports search.
Most of the programs on the list support viewing and searching only, and not the editing of text documents. You may want to consider splitting the document into multiple parts for better accessibility.
This works only if you don't need to search across the entire archive though as it would make things more complicated if you'd split the file.
It is quite troubling in my opinion that you cannot really load large text documents in any of the programs that Windows ships with for that purpose. So, if you have to view or edit a Gigabyte-sized text file you need to use third-party programs for that.
Now You: Which text editor do you use predominantly? Know of another text viewer or editor that is capable of loading large files?