Text Editor Speed Comparison for Large Files

We published a Text Editor Speed Comparison in April 2009. However, numerous text editors have undergone significant updates and improvements since then. As a result, we have decided to conduct speed tests once again.

For this round of testing, we selected seven text editors known for their ability to support very large files, including EmEditor. We assessed these editors in various categories: Opening files, Searching, Replacing, Sorting, Saving, and Searching within Files. The test outcomes demonstrated that EmEditor outperformed the other editors by a margin of 2 to 187 times in all the tested categories.

You can find the detailed results in our Text Editor Speed Comparison (PDF).

Disclaimer: We tested all apps as accurately as possible; however, all speeds depend on the tested computers, files, and other factors. All speeds, as well as failed tests (including crashes, incomplete, and partial results), may be improved or resolved in future app versions. We recommend that you install and compare these apps for yourself. Other factors, including the feature set, stability, usability, affordability, and design, should also be considered when deciding which app to choose.

Text Editor Speed Comparison

Recently, we conducted an experiment to determine and compare the speeds of some of the most popular text editors. Guess what? We found out that EmEditor Professional 8.02 is the fastest overall! In fact, EmEditor Professional 8.02 completed all tests in 30 seconds or less, every single time! For more details, please see our test results:

We tested for:

  • Time to Launch Program (no sidebars)
  • Time to Open a Medium File (141 MB)
  • Time to Open a Large File (809 MB)
  • Time to Complete Replace (case sensitive) *Replace “a” with “@@”.

We tested twelve of the most popular text editors. Please see the footnotes for more details regarding the test conditions.(*)


Time to Launch Program (no sidebars)

The fastest text editor was EmEditor Professional 8.02 at 00:00.196th of a second.


Time to Open a Medium File (141MB)

Almost half of the text editors were able to open the test file in less than 25 seconds. EmEditor Professional 8.02 opened the test file in 00:16.02 seconds. The test file was 1.75 million lines, ASCII text file (141MB).

Mouse Tab

Time to Open a Large File (809MB)

Although all of the text editors could open the medium file (141MB), not all of them could open the large file (809MB). In fact, only 1/3 of the text editors were able to open the large file (809MB). The fastest text editor was EmEditor Professional 8.02 at 00:28.39 seconds. The test file was 10 million lines, ASCII text file (809MB).

Time to Complete Replace (case sensitive)

Two text editors were unable to complete this test and a third took more than one minute to complete the test; however, all of the remaining text editors completed this test in less than twelve seconds. EmEditor Professional 8.02 was one of the fastest text editors at 00:001.41 seconds. The test file was 200,000 lines, ASCII text file (16MB).


Some text editors are optimized for speed and size, and others are not. There are text editors which include optimization options and others that simply operate quickly, and still others that just crash. For these tests, here are the overall best text editors.

The following text editor completed all four tests in less than 1 minute each, every time.

  • EmEditor Professional 8.02

The following text editors (quickly) completed all four tests.

  • EmEditor Professional 8.02
  • U 14.20
  • T1 5.2.0

These text editors completed 3/4 of the tests in less than 1 minute; however, they failed to complete the Time to Open a Large File (809MB) test.

  • N2 5.7b
  • H 7.10

If you would like to view the raw data, please see Text Editor Speed Test Results (PDF).

* Notes
– We tested the text editors on a clean Windows Vista SP1 (512MB RAM) on a Microsoft Virtual PC 2007. The host machine was a Dell Dimension C521 Athlon 64 X2 4600 2.40 GHz (3GB RAM), Windows Vista.
– All compared and reported results are the average of 5 tests.
– For each program we recorded six times for each test. The first time was always discarded, since this time tended to be much higher than the other test times.
– Then we calculated the average of the remaining 5 times—this is the reported time.
– For the first test—Time to Launch Program (no sidebars)—the times are reported in MM:SS.000.
– For the remaining three tests—Time to Open a Medium File (141 MB), Time to Open a Large File (809 MB), and Time to Complete Replace (case sensitive)—the times are reported in MM:SS.00.
– Any text editor that returned a test time higher than 10 minutes was tagged as too slow or error, as appropriate. These text editors were given a 00:00.00 test time for the tests they failed, and display gray results on the graphs.
– In the Time to Complete Replace (case sensitive) test, besides the Match Case option, we used all default settings. All undo information was kept.
– In the Time to Complete Replace (case sensitive) test, for H 7.10, we used the option “Go Faster”. Without this option, the replace would be too slow to be measured.
– In the Time to Complete Replace (case sensitive) test, for U 14.20 we used the option “Use temporary files for editing (normal operation)”. If we used the option “Open file without temp file but prompt for each file (CAUTION: Edits are permanent, decreases load time for large files)” the replace would be too fast to be measured.
– For the Time to Launch Program (no sidebars) test, we conducted the test with no sidebars, to optimize launching speeds.
– The programs, Notepad 6.0 and WordPad 6.0, are Microsoft programs included with the Windows Vista install.
– For the text editors other than EmEditor and the Microsoft programs, their names have been abbreviated for anonymity.
– For those commercial programs not included with the Windows Vista install, we used the available trial versions of the products.
– The Japanese text editor, H 7.10, included an English version, so we used the English version.
– We ran the Japanese text editor, T2 0.93, on the Regional and Language Administrative Options Japanese option.
– We used Application Launch Speed Measuring Program (Japanese) to measure program launch time.

12 Reasons Why You Should Have EmEditor

There are a lot of text editors out there that just offer too many features, resulting in a bulky application, or not enough features, failing to meet even your basic needs. EmEditor, however, strikes a balance between these two extremes, providing you with the ability to customize the program with exactly the features you desire while maintaining functionality and productivity among other essential qualities. Here are the top 12 reasons you should be using EmEditor for text editing.

1. EmEditor capably opens very large files

EmEditor opens up to 248 GB or 2.1 billion lines with only a little memory. EmEditor skillfully handles files larger than 248 GB by opening a section of the file with the Large File Controller. The Large File Controller allows you to specify the begin point, end point, and range of the file to be opened. It also allows you to stop the opening process and monitor the real size of the file, monitor the size of the temporary disk space available, and adjust the section you are viewing.

2. Unicode Support: Including CJK Extension B Characters and Extended Katakana

EmEditor supports Unicode natively because the whole program is built as a Unicode application. You can open a file with any encoding supported in the Windows system, and easily convert from one encoding to another within EmEditor. You can open Unicode file names and search for Unicode characters. The ability to open and edit files as Unicode makes it the preferred encoding method for multiple language support because it can display multiple languages at the same time. EmEditor even supports Unicode characters outside of the Basic Multilingual Plane (BMP); therefore it can display CJK Extension B characters (as long as a supporting font is available on the system) and Extended Katakana.

3. Small Footprint/Lightweight Design

EmEditor excels as a small, fast text editor of the highest quality and standard that performs reliably. The size of the core program “emeditor.exe” is only 620 KB. EmEditor’s light-weightedness is not affected by powerful macros. EmEditor does not use commercial libraries such as Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC), making it well-optimized, particularly for startup times. Because of its small size, EmEditor’s startup time is less than 1 second in most environments. EmEditor Quick Start allows the EmEditor window to start even faster, and usually launches in less than 0.5 seconds. This is possible because a hidden EmEditor window launches at the same time as the EmEditor tray icon. When you start EmEditor, the hidden EmEditor window switches to the visible state, and EmEditor appears to launch quickly.

4. Powerful, Scriptable Macros

  • Write macros with popular script languages
  • Define macros to record keystrokes and mouse operations
  • Assign macros to keyboards and toolbar buttons

EmEditor macros are modules designed independently of EmEditor executable and implemented as a Dynamic Link Library (DLL) file. To conserve system resources, the DLL is only loaded during macro execution. All defined My Macros are displayed in a macro toolbar. Macros are based on the Windows Scripting Host (WSH) engine; therefore all of the objects under the Windows Scripting Host are available to you. You can program macros with any ActiveScript language, as long as the script engines you want to use are installed on your system, such as JavaScriptVBScriptPerlScriptPythonPHPScript, and Ruby, among other ActiveScript languages. You can write a macro to do almost anything you want within EmEditor. You can define a macro to record keystrokes that you use and reference repeatedly. EmEditor can record and play keystrokes and mouse operations against other applications. You can even write your own macros to manipulate other applications, Windows-based files, or network functionality. This capability allows you to automate certain tasks on the Desktop, the browser, and your favorite applications. For developers, this ability can be used for testing applications. The Window Object includes properties that tell almost everything about the window, and the Windows Collection enumerates top-level windows or child windows for a certain window. The Shell Object sends keystroke and mouse activities and enumerates or finds top-level windows.

5. Plug-ins

The following plug-ins are installed by default with EmEditor Professional.

  • Diff Plug-in: This plug-in compares two opened documents.
  • Explorer Plug-in: This plug-in displays the folder tree and allows you to open a file from the folder tree.
  • FindBar Plug-in: This plug-in displays a toolbar, filled with the Find drop-down text box and several options, which helps you to find strings without accessing the Find dialog box.
  • HTMLBar Plug-in: This plug-in displays a toolbar, filled with buttons, which helps you insert frequently used HTML tags and elements.
  • Open Documents Plug-in: This plug-in displays the list of open documents, and allows you to activate, close, or save selected documents within the list.
  • Outline Plug-in: There are two major functions of this plug-in. The first function is outlining in the custom bar. A tree view appears when you click the on the Plug-ins bar. The second function is outlining as a guide. Outlining appears on the left side of the editor without the custom bar.
  • Projects Plug-in: This plug-in displays folder trees and allows you to open files from the folder trees.
  • Search Plug-in: This plug-in searches opened documents for a string.
  • Snippets Plug-in: This plug-in allows you to insert words and phrases quickly.
  • Web Preview Plug-in: This plug-in previews the current document with an embedded web browser.
  • Word Complete Plug-in: As you type in the document, this plug-in displays a list filled with previously used words and highlighted words defined in EmEditor, and lets you select a word from the list to complete your typing.
  • Word Count Plug-in: This plug-in counts words contained in the entire document and in a selection of text.

We keep EmEditor’s core feature set of plug-ins minimized, and maintain flexibility, so that you can add features as plug-ins to extend the EmEditor program. EmEditor exposes many APIs, to allow programmers to easily write the plug-ins that fit their needs. The core program remains minimal, but you still get to enjoy the features you want.

6. Regular Expressions: Search/Replace/Find in Files/Replace in Files

In EmEditor, Find and Replace features are available with Regular Expressions supporting Unicode. Regular Expressions find text patterns within an open document or in multiple files. When using Regular Expressions, select the Find (to find text patterns in the current file), Replace (to find text patterns and replace them), Find in Files (to find text patterns in multiple files) or Replace in Files option (to find text patterns in multiple files and replace them) under the Search menu. Then check the Use Regular Expressions check box, and any other desired search parameters. Enter the Regular Expression to search for, and click Find. If using Find in Files or Replace in Files, also enter the file type(s) (separated with a semicolon if more than one) and the folder(s) to search. If using Replace or Replace in Files, also enter the text to replace the found text pattern with.

7. Tabbed Window Design (SDI or MDI)

EmEditor uses tabbed windows similar to SlimBrowser, Internet Explorer, Firefox and other tabbed browser applications. Opening multiple documents in one window and jumping between them is fast and easy. For instance, drag and drop the tab icon to switch the document position, or use the mouse middle button to close a tab. Moreover, it is convenient to switch between the tabbed window interface and the single window interface by selecting the Enable Tabs command on the Window menu.

8. Vertical Selection Editing

The vertical selection editing feature of EmEditor enables the replacement of similar lines swiftly without using Regular Expressions. Vertical Selection Editing allows you to select and replace, or insert, text in column format. Vertical Selection editing is easily accessed by either holding down the ALT key as you click and drag the mouse over the text, or by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + F8 and using the arrow keys to select the text. Insert text at the end of the lines, by selecting point zero at the end of the lines, and typing the text you wish to insert.

9. Binary Editing

Binary (ASCII View) and Binary (Hexadecimal View) are available encodings in EmEditor, which enable you to edit binary files. Up to 248 GB (or 2.1 billion lines) may be opened in binary files. Double click on the current encoding status bar at the bottom right of the screen to change the view. In Binary (ASCII View), null characters are shown as reversed @ marks.

10. Crash Recovery

EmEditor contains safeguards to protect your files from computer crashes and unexpected PC restarts or shutdowns. EmEditor automatically saves modified files as a file name prefixed with “AutoSave-“, without displaying a dialog box, when EmEditor crashes or when Windows is forced to restart because of automatic updates. When restarted after a crash, EmEditor prompts a message box displaying a list of automatically recovered files.

11. Portability Options (Ready for a USB Drive Install)

EmEditor includes the option to set up a removable drive, such as a USB drive, through the Import and Export Wizard. This option is possible by saving the settings to INI files instead of to the Registry. From the Import and Export Wizard (on the Tools menu), set the option to Export all settings to INI files. Once EmEditor detects INI files in its directory, it does not save the settings to the Registry. The plug-in interface supports Registry and INI file manipulation.

12. Certified for Windows Vista, Native 64-bit Edition Available

EmEditor Professional is certified for Windows Vista. EmEditor’s goal is to provide high quality software that offers exceptional productivity and delivers outstanding customer experience through the most up-to-date features. By working with Microsoft, and obtaining certification, EmEditor Professional provides users of Windows Vista with enhanced reliability, security, compatibility, and quality, and has been tested and proven to deliver a superior experience with a PC running Windows Vista. Available editions of EmEditor include the 32-bit edition and the 64-bit edition.


The list above only provides an introduction to the versatility of EmEditor. EmEditor includes many other high-quality features that you can explore by taking a look at the Features/Screenshots section of the EmEditor website and the Help file.

You should have the best text editor. If you are looking for a customizable, extendable, but lightweight text editor with great features, like the ones above, then EmEditor is the perfect solution for you.

Why is EmEditor Professional the best text editor?

This article explains why EmEditor Professional is best recommended!

1. EmEditor can launch very quickly, almost instantaneously!

You are going to view or edit a large quantity of files every day, but you don’t want to wait for many seconds just to view a file! Unfortunately, many programs, including word processors and text editors, require you to wait several seconds before you can start using! This doesn’t make sense! You want to increase productivity by using a text editor,but waiting so long every time doesn’t justify your using a text editor. You should not wait more than one second!

That’s why EmEditor has been so popular for such a long time. I have tried to optimize the startup time for each subsequently released upgrade. The startup time should be less than 1 second in most environments. In Version 6.00 or later, there is a new option called EmEditor Quick Start, and you can find it under the Tools menu, Customize, and then Shortcut tab. By checking this option, the EmEditor window will start even faster, and will usually launch in less than 0.5 seconds. This is possible because a hidden EmEditor window launches as soon as the EmEditor tray icon launches. When you start EmEditor, the hidden EmEditor window will be switched to the visible state, and it appears that EmEditor launches quickly. This option is not turned on by default, so you should turn this option on if the startup speed is important to you. Additionally, EmEditor does not use commercial libraries such as Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC), making it well-optimized, particularly for startup times. The size of the core program “emeditor.exe” is only 527KB at this writing, exemplifying how light-weight it is.

2. Extendable with plug-ins!

So why do many text editors fail to launch as quickly as EmEditor? It is because many editors include too many features! You might wonder, “Who needs A, B, and C in the text editor?” No one person needs all of the available features, and the features required by one person may be different from those required by another. If you added all of the desired, available features to the list, the result would be similar to how many text editors look today. EmEditor takes a different approach. We try to minimize the core feature set while maintaining the flexibility so you can add many features as plug-ins. This approach has been successful as it allows the core program to remain minimal while you enjoy the features you want. EmEditor exposes many APIs, so programmers can easily write plug-ins that fit their needs. Features such as SpellingWord CountExplorerWeb Preview, and Compare Files, etc. are designed as plug-ins. For your convenience, many of these plug-ins are now installed by default with EmEditor Professional 6.00.1 or later, but you can decide not to install these plug-ins or add new plug-ins down the road. There is another easy solution to extend features – a macro – which I will explain below.

3. Powerful macros with your favorite script language!

You can write a macro to do almost whatever you want within EmEditor! Not only can you define a macro which records keystrokes that you use and reference repeatedly, but you can also write your own macros that can manipulate other applications, Windows-based files, or network functionalities. The macros are based on the Windows Scripting Host (WSH) engine, so you can use all of the powerful, robust objects available under the Windows Scripting Host. You can program macros with popular script languages including JavaScript and VBScript. You can even program with PerlScriptPythonPHPScriptRuby, and other ActiveScript languages as long as the script engines you want to use are installed on your system. Nevertheless, EmEditor barely forefeits its light-weightedness when using macros. EmEditor macros are modules designed independently of EmEditor executable and are implemented as a Dynamic Link Library(DLL) file. To conserve system resources, the DLL is only loaded during the macro execution.

4. Unicode support!

The Unicode support is a must for anyone who uses international languages. Many text editors claim they support Unicode (UTF-7UTF-8 and UTF-16), however, they only convert Unicode to the system encoding (or ANSI) internally when they open files, so they cannot actually edit characters that are not supported by the system encoding. For instance, many text editors cannot actually edit Shift-JIS(Japanese) encoding on English Windows. Most text editors cannot even open Unicode file names.EmEditor supports Unicode natively, and in fact, the whole program is built as a Unicode application.EmEditor allows you to open a file with any encoding supported in the Windows system, and you can easily convert from one encoding to another within EmEditor. EmEditor allows you to open Unicode file names, and allows you to search for Unicode characters. Since EmEditor supports Unicode characters even outside of the Basic Multilingual Plane (BMP), it can display the CJK Extension B characters as long as a supporting font is available on the system. With EmEditor plug-ins, EmEditor allows you to convert a selected text to HTML/XML Character Reference or Universal Character Names, and vice versa.

5. Easy and intuitive design with tabbed windows!

EmEditor is designed for Windows XP, thus frequently used shortcut keys are similar to other Windows applications, such as CopyCutPasteUndo, and Redo. In addition, EmEditor uses tabbed windows similar to SlimBrowserInternet ExplorerFireFox and other tabbed browser applications. This allows you to open multiple documents in one window and jump between them quickly and easily. For instance, you can drag and drop the tab icon to switch the document position, or you can use the mouse middle button to close a tab. Moreover, you can conveniently switch between the tabbed window interface and the single window interface by selecting the Enable Tabs command on the Window menu. Thus EmEditor can greatly increase your productivity!

6. Other features!

There are many other useful features that are worth mentioning.

  • Keyword highlighting
  • Regular expression search and highlighting
  • External tools
  • Plug-ins using Custom Bars
  • Keyboardtoolbarmenufont and color customization
  • Drag and Drop
  • Auto save/Backup
  • Box-select mode (Mouse select with ALT key)
  • Clickable URLs and e-mail addresses
  • The window can be split into a maximum of 4 panes
  • Can define multiple configurations and associate file extensions
  • Can save backups to the Recycle Bin
  • Can open recently used files from the tray icon on the task bar
  • Shortcut keys to insert accent marks and special characters
  • Application error handler support
  • 64-bit edition available
  • Windows Vista ready
  • Fast e-mail support
  • While not guaranteed, historically free upgrades for many years!

7. Final words

If you have not tried EmEditor Professionaltry it now. Please do not walk away without trying EmEditor! If you try it, I know you will like it. However, if you have any questions, please contact me so that I may assist you with how to use it, or try to improve it so that you will find it more useful. I am sure EmEditor will increase your productivity.

Best Wishes for whatever your project or business is!