A text editor is program that allows you to open, view, and edit plain text files. Unlike word processors, text editors do not add formatting to text, instead focusing on editing functions for plain text.
Text editors are used by a wide variety of people, for a wide variety of purposes. Software programmers and web developers use text editors to write and edit in programming and markup languages. This is one of the primary purposes of text editors, and many of the features of text editing software are built to help these users read and write code. However, text editors are ideal tools for anyone who needs to write quickly and simply, read source code, or create text files.
If you have Windows, you already have the default Notepad application installed on your system. Notepad is a very basic text editor with minimal features and low capabilities. If you only need a text editor for small tasks, Notepad will work just fine. However, Notepad's limitations become apparent if you try to do some more heavy duty text editing.
With more advanced text editors come more advanced and useful features. Syntax highlighting, one of the most useful tools in a text editor's repertoire, color codes text based on the programming/markup language it written in. Other staple text editing features not included in Notepad are large file support, advanced find and replace, vertical selection editing, and document comparison, and more.
If you're looking for a Notepad replacement, many text editors are available online for download and purchase. The quality of such text editors varies greatly, and it's a good idea to research the different kinds available to find one that matches your needs before making a decision. Most text editors that you can buy allow you to download a trial version before committing to a purchase, and this is a great way to figure out what works for you.