Text File Editor

macOS & Mac Apps

I know TextEdit on the Mac and it works fine, but is there any editor to edit plain text files that won't add formatting codes into the file and turn them into rich text or other formats but will just edit straight, plain boring Unicode text?
All it needs is a word wrap option like windows 7's notepad and it would be perfect. TextEdit is too much like Word and I want something that just opens in a blank document and doesn't prompt me for 50 things before I can edit a document.
Any suggestions?



Submitted by Dave Nason on Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi Sarah. You can actually do this with Text Edit. Just open preferences and change it from rich text to plain text. You can also toggle text wrapping and the character set (UTF-8 etc.) if you want. HTH

Submitted by UndergroundRiver on Thursday, July 3, 2014

I didn't know about the change to text so thanks for that, but I still have the problem of it prompting me each time for a location when I open TE. It used to just start in a blank file, but now it shows this huge screen with 50 controls and I have to VO right or tab to the new document button and press VO space. I just want a blank document and not all the setup screens when I'm quickly grabbing a blank file to write down a thought before I forget it.
If there's nothing else, I'll live with TE but it's really not ideal.

Submitted by dvdmth on Thursday, July 3, 2014

Club AppleVis Member

On my computer, TextEdit opens with a blank text document. Obviously I have things configured differently than you do. I'll see if I can help.

Do you have iCloud set up? I remember TextEdit behaving differently when opened if I had documents and data enabled with iCloud. Since I have only one Mac, and since there is no TextEdit for iOS, I had no need for TextEdit documents to be saved in iCloud, so I disabled it. That brought TextEdit back to its original behavior of opening with a new document.

I also set the system preference that controls whether or not an app's windows are closed when you quit the app. I don't like seeing whatever document I was last viewing the last time I had an app open, so I changed this setting. That would also affect how TextEdit behaves when you open it. I think the setting for this is in general under system preferences.

If the above doesn't help, you should always be able to get a new document simply by pressing Command-N while TextEdit has focus.

As for another text editor, your original question, I am not aware of any that would work better than TextEdit does. As I said above, you should be able to get TextEdit to work the way you'd like, after fiddling with the settings on your Mac. I hope this helps.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Thursday, July 3, 2014

Keep in mind though if you do disable icloud documents on the mac side of things tha tapps like down cast will not be able to synch. What I do is either launch iText express, or just hit cmd n when the text edit window opens then hit cmd shift t to get it in to plain text mode an make sure it is saved as unicode utf8. when it's tie to save it.


Submitted by dvdmth on Thursday, July 3, 2014

Club AppleVis Member

I don't recall how it appears in the iCloud system preferences, but I know it is possible to control which apps use iCloud for documents and data, and which apps do not. If you don't have any need for TextEdit to use iCloud, you can disable it for that app but still have iCloud available for other apps. Of course, turning the feature off for TextEdit will delete any TextEdit files stored in the cloud, but as long as you leave the documents and data feature enabled as a whole, other apps will still be able to use iCloud.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Thursday, July 3, 2014

In reply to by dvdmth

Ah cool thnks for tht. I was mislead then, I'm thinking that th emac is the same as ios. I'll have a play with it and we'll see.

Take care.