How to open Gigabyte-sized text files on Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 22, 2018
Updated • Jul 19, 2021

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.

txt file too large

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.

    EditPad Lite

    Version 7.3.8

  • 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.


    Version 7.00.3

  • Glogg -- Is a cross-platform program that loads large text files quickly. It is a viewer application that supporting browsing and searching text files.


    Version 1.0

  • 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.

    Universal Viewer

    Version Free

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.

Closing words

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?

Related articles

How to open Gigabyte-sized text files on Windows
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How to open Gigabyte-sized text files on Windows
Want to open a very large text file (several Gigabytes or more) on Windows PCs? Then you need to use third-party programs to do so. Our list points to several viewers and editors that you may use; all free of course.
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  1. pr said on February 12, 2024 at 7:44 am

    Thank you, Martin.

    After NPP threw a fit everytime I opened a txt file of 400MB with 20 million lines, I tried EditPad Lite and it easily handled the required read/write operations on 200k line out of 20M.

    While some basic features when working with large texts, such as marking lines and line operations, are paid only features in EditPad Lite, it atleast has Regex support in lite version which was very helpful to achieve what I was looking for.

  2. Krystian said on May 2, 2021 at 8:29 am

    it is possible to open larte files in notepad++?

  3. Anonymous said on December 12, 2020 at 10:09 am

    I used EmEditor today for 6.5 gb file and worked perfectly fine.

  4. variar said on January 7, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    If there is no need to edit large files try klogg – I started it as fork of gIogg, but now it has more features, than original project.

    I use it daily to search through files from several hundreds megabytes to tens of gigabytes with no problems. It is well optimised for fast IO and multicore CPUs.

  5. Klaus Hartwig said on September 23, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    I’m working a lot with log files and missed always some functions — so I wrote a viewer also supporting huge files; search etc… . Have a try at — feedback is welcome!

  6. joe said on September 10, 2019 at 8:15 pm


    Kainet can also edit files much larger than memory and it’s free. It only offers simple functions, such as search and replace but it works well.

    I’ve also used Emeditor, Editpad and Textpad.

    Also hex editor can edit large files but they don’t use to show the result breaking lines nor offer advanced functions.

  7. JustARoamer said on August 26, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    This one is not very famous and seems to be newcommer. It has some fancy features.

  8. MarioCP said on May 7, 2019 at 11:22 pm
  9. Nicos said on March 25, 2019 at 1:48 am
  10. William said on January 24, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Great stuff, I tried the last one you recommended Universal editor, opened up a 11GB file easy.

  11. James R. said on June 5, 2018 at 2:06 am
    Reply is an large file opener that can open your file instantly without installing anything on your computer. You can scan through the file easily.

    You can also make regex searches and export the results.

    1. Justin said on October 27, 2018 at 2:47 am

      Wow, I’m surprised that it works

  12. Lakehache said on April 27, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    And right now I’ve downloaded 010editor, opened the same 42gig file a little quicker.

  13. Lakehache said on April 27, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    UltraEdit can open huge files. I opened a 42 Gigs file. It took over 2 minutes to load, but then I was able to search stuff instantly.

  14. Pedro said on March 4, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    TextPad 8 [0] does the job well.
    Only has issues with very long lines though. So if your 3GB file is one line only, you’re out of luck


    1. Tom Hawack said on March 4, 2018 at 2:06 pm

      >So if your 3GB file is one line only, you’re out of luck

      Imagine a one line novel, no punctuation, no carriage return, likely the talent of a female author; even with less than 3GB would probably bring to its knees any device with AI components.

      Sunday morning smile brought to you by Hawack, when words count :=)

  15. M. Paquet said on February 25, 2018 at 12:11 am

    I use WnBrowse to view large files. Works beautifully.

  16. Stefan said on February 23, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    64-bit Notepad 2 ?

  17. Ivan said on February 23, 2018 at 8:46 am

    NP++ for most tasks. Glogg for huge files.

    Used to use ConTEXT, but NP++ can do more.

  18. foax said on February 23, 2018 at 7:42 am

    On a previous job I had the task to open large text files on an win2003 server. I used vim for windows:

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 23, 2018 at 7:45 am

      Thanks for the link, how large were the files?

      1. foax said on February 23, 2018 at 8:09 am

        i can hardly remember. maybe 0.8G – 1.8G

  19. Zoops said on February 23, 2018 at 2:20 am

    The fastest program I’ve found to open extremely large text files is SavageEd. Written in x86 assembly language!

    Here’s a link:

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 23, 2018 at 6:36 am

      Looks great, limited by memory though ;)

  20. Bob said on February 22, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    I’ve used sublimetext for handling large files. It’s slow but does the job.

    1. Pablo said on February 22, 2018 at 11:33 pm

      I use sublime text also, i came into it because i needed to edit some huge files, it is worth noting that it has a tutorial for configuring it so it doesn’t slow with big files.

      1. Bob said on February 23, 2018 at 6:44 am

        Nice, please let me know if you happen to have a link to it.

        All I could find were links to forum posts.

        Sublime Text performance with very large files – General Discussion – Sublime Forum

        Sublime Text performance with very large files – General Discussion – Sublime Forum

        Handle large/huge files better – Ideas and Feature Requests – Sublime Forum

        Extreamly slow while handling large data – Technical Support – Sublime Forum

  21. Indenim said on February 22, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    My main text editor is Notepad++ – it has a great many features and is highly customizable. Much superior to what Windows offers by default.

  22. Rofert said on February 22, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    I use Total Commander. It has a built in viewer.

  23. Justin MacIver said on February 22, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    notepad+ dunno about gig files but it is awesome for my needs

  24. Zak Zebrowski said on February 22, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    winv , except for some very very large files.

  25. Paul's Dad. said on February 22, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    If you’re using Windows’ Notepad, you’re not doing it right. The only bearably passable software that ships with Windows (Windows 7 included) is the calculator, and even then it sucks and there’s much better alternatives, but for normal usage, it works. Everything else sucks for normal usage, let alone for power usage.

  26. dmacleo said on February 22, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    iirc context text editor works too.
    I use this for php and server conf file editing often.

    1. Tom Hawack said on February 22, 2018 at 4:45 pm

      The experts will appreciate… meanwhile basic users will remain wandering, like “- What motivated you to get into the computing knowledge? – “Well, it all started the day I couldn’t open a 30GB text file with Notepad”
      For them, having dedicated ready to use plain applications is the easy and straight-to-it solution!

  27. Kamil said on February 22, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    I’m using EM Editor or PilotEdit (Edit files of 400GB in quick mode).

  28. BM said on February 22, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    I’ve no Gigabyte files to try this out with, but what about online services, for example, Google Spreadsheets?

    Not for the average joe, but what about a loading into a local database (e.g. Access, or one from a free open source such as LibreOffice, or OpenOffice)?

    1. Paul's Dad. said on February 22, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      The 2GB limit might be due to 32bit limitations?

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on February 22, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      Don’t think that consumer-grade online services are usuable for that. Remember that you do need to upload the files first to view or edit them, and that you are usually restricted in size.

  29. Tom Hawack said on February 22, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    I’ve always used ‘EditPad Lite’ … but never encountered a txt file too large to be opened by this editor (I didn’t even know it “Has a limit of 2 Gigabytes but supports viewing and editing.” as mentioned in the article). MegaBytes is the ceiling of my conceptualization of file sizes, GB is that step beyond I’ve never advanced :)

    Nice article as always, Martin. I learn everyday here on your blog.

  30. seeprime said on February 22, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Not that opening GB size text files is common, if Microsoft’s Store-only Windows 10 S won’t be able to do a basic task like this, or even download and install a win32 program that can do so, why would anyone consider Windows 10 S?

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