Textbrowser is a freeware notepad with tabs, syntax highlighting, compare text tool and more

Dec 1, 2019
Software, Windows software

True to its name, Textbrowser can open multiple documents at the same time in a tabbed manner. Of course, you can use it to create and edit text files using the editor at the center of the screen.

Textbrowser is compatible with all supported versions of the Windows operating system as well as unsupported systems such as Windows XP or Vista.

The Toolbar offers basic file operations, editing actions, and lets you switch between tabs and files quickly. The Menubar at the top lists advanced options that you may not need all the time.

Textbrowser is a freeware notepad with tabs, syntax highlighting, compare text tool and more

The Edit menu is useful if you want to change the selected text from Uppercase to Lowercase or the other way around. It can also add the current date and time to the text and remove empty lines.

You can disable some of the program's visual elements from the View menu. It contains toggles for Word Wrap, Switch Editor and Binary View.

There are three additional view options; Line Numbers, Special Characters, Highlight Active Line, but these only work in the secondary editor mode which you toggle using the Switch Editor option. When enabled, the changes are quite reminiscent of Notepad++'s editor.

Note: Binary View opens a new document in binary mode.

The editor supports TXT, HTML and XML files by default and syntax highlighting which you may access from the Highlighter menu. Support for programming and scripting languages such as VB, JS, Lua, SQL, C#, or PHP is included natively. Text editors designed specifically for coding, e.g. Geany or Atom offer better functionality though.

The Window menu is perhaps what I liked best in Alternate Textbrowser. It lists options to tile documents horizontally or vertically, and to cascade them.

If you pick horizontal or vertical, you may place multiple documents next to each other. Cascade as the name suggests changes to stacked windows. Regardless of which mode you're using, the tab bar at the top is visible so that you may switch quickly between open documents.

Tip: To exit Tile or Cascade view, just hit the maximize icon on one of the opened document windows.

There is a Folder selection menu below the editor pane. Selecting a directory will display all the documents that it contains in a small pane at the bottom of the screen. This can then be used for opening the document quickly; that's another neat feature to have.

Textbrowser compare text tool

TextBrowser has an ASCII code viewer and a compare text tool which are both available from the Tools menu. The latter can be used to select a source file and a second one, and compare the differences between the two.

Both the installer and the portable version of Textbrowser come with two standalone tools from the same developer called Memo and Calculator. You can access them from the program's folder, or directly from the interface from the Tools menu.

Alternate Tools Memo

Alternate Tools Memo is a note taking application. When Memo is opened (and in the background), it manages to capture text that you copy to the clipboard, which I found to be pretty useful. The Alternate Tools Calculator program is pretty good and supports scientific functions and currency conversion. You can edit the currency values or add new ones too.

Alternate Tools Calculator

Closing Words

TextBrowser may not be as comprehensive and feature-rich as Notepad++ or other advanced text editors for the Windows operating system, but it is well designed and supports a handful of useful features.

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  1. Emil said on December 2, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    To be really handy and modern, it should be able to handle markdown tags.

  2. Q said on December 2, 2019 at 5:55 am

    It is very important to be aware of a software’s system requirements and any external dependencies the software may have. Especially in a software review, one should expect that this information be provided.

    ghacks.net used to once do a good job of providing the information, but it seems that recently (some time during the past year) this is no longer the case. I request that software reviews provide a software’s system requirements and any external dependencies information when it is available.

    In the case of the software reviewed in article on this page, Alternate Textbrowser, there is an important external dependency worth noting: Microsoft .NET Framework.

  3. VioletMoon said on December 1, 2019 at 11:39 pm

    Not so sure this is relevant, but if a user is looking for tabs for documents and uses MS Office, there is a free version of Office Tabs. It’s really quite handy!


    1. fortuitous said on December 2, 2019 at 4:12 pm

      Do they have a free forever version, or just a ‘free download’ of a trial version? Too bad they didn’t have something for OneNote, but Gem for OneNote is great imo. I use it with ON 2016 the granddaddy of ON.

      1. VioletMoon said on December 2, 2019 at 10:52 pm

        Yes, the link goes to the free forever version which only works for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

      2. Addy T. said on December 3, 2019 at 5:53 am

        That’s not what the site says. It prices the basic version of OfficeTab at $29.

  4. Tom Hawack said on December 1, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    HTTPZ Firefox add-on redirected to https the above mentioned Textbrowser landing page :=)

    Textbrowser seems interesting, lightweight and valuable features, but I’d miss too many of ‘EditPad Lite’ to make the switch. For instance Search, Replace, Rexex replace?

    EditPad Lite phones home unfortunately but if you block it correctly it remains one of the best free or not text editors.

  5. Allwynd said on December 1, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    My only question is how is file type association being handled? I really like the UI and features of Notepad++, but I don’t like that I have to manually add each file type to be associated with Notepad++.

    I’ve tried different advanced text editors and none of them seem to be handling this any better.

    1. Anonymous said on December 3, 2019 at 9:09 pm

      You don’t have to change any type.
      You can block Microsoft’s bing promo also known as Notepad.

      create and run a cmd with

      DIRECTORY=the path of notepad++.exe

      REG ADD “HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\notepad.exe” /v “Debugger” /t REG_SZ /d “\”%DIRECTORY%\notepad++.exe\” -notepadStyleCmdline -z” /f

      If you want to bring back … Bingpad

      REG DELETE “HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\notepad.exe” /v “Debugger” /f

    2. Annonymous said on December 3, 2019 at 3:32 pm


      Could you please clarify whether you mean file association on OS or app level?
      Generally file association is done on the OS level, so look around in Windows and try browse around the net for instruction on how to do it.

    3. ron denis said on December 1, 2019 at 9:29 pm

      in Notepad++ [Settings/Preferences/File Association/Notepad] then add to Registered extensions box

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