Why do you use UltraEdit?

Why do you use UltraEdit?


    Jan 21, 2015#1

    I was just killing some time tonight, and heard somebody praising UltraEdit. I decided to check it out.

    This has to be one of the worst editors I've used. In the context of paid software, it is probably the worst. What keeps all of you using it, with the awesome modern options available, like all of the IDEs from Jetbrains? I'm assuming most are using it for C/C++? I guess there aren't that many options when it comes to those.

    Anyways, I'd love to hear back. I'm guessing that most are just used to it, and have felt no reason to change, which I understand. Though the dated 90's look of the interface was enough to cause me to projectile vomit on to my monitor.

    Does UltraEdit have support for autocompletion BTW? I noticed that some text files can be downloaded with lists of tags. I'm assuming that's how you get it working?

    Grand MasterGrand Master

      Jan 21, 2015#2

      UltraEdit is for me the best general text editor. It is impossible to answer your question as we don't know what are your requirements on a text editor.

      For example if you want to use UltraEdit mainly for coding C/C++ using projects and expect features that IDE (Integrated Development Environment) usually offer which are designed for writing code in specific supported programming languages, UltraEdit might not be the right choice. UltraEdit is basically a general text editor.

      UltraEdit is highly customizable and has lots of features to make writing text (including) code very efficient. Therefore many use UltraEdit although not being an IDE with customizations for coding in C/C++, too. UltraEdit can be extended with customizations to an IDE like tool. I have done this in the past also for some controllers. (Now I'm using UEStudio.) UltraEdit has features which usually only IDE have like customizable syntax highlighting and code folding. But UltraEdit has no built-in language intellisense. There is an auto-completion feature in UltraEdit, but it is language neutral.

      UEStudio is a product of IDM which is UltraEdit with additional features to become an IDE for some programming languages. It has intellisense for the supported programming languages offered via IntelliTips features for the user. It supports also debugging for some languages and architectures within UEStudio.

      However, if UEStudio is the right tool for you depends on what you are coding. For example C/C++ development can be done for Windows applications on x86 based architectures, but can be also for various controllers in embedded devices. This does not make a difference on writing code in C/C++, but it makes a difference for example on debugging. UEStudio is also highly customizable which is the reason why users created lots of configurations for various C/C++/C# compilers, assemblers, interpreters like PHP and Java, etc.

      But UEStudio is an IDE not designed for 1 to 5 specific developments like for example Visual Studio.

      So why do I use UltraEdit and UEStudio?

      I use them because being the best text editor and best IDE for my work on various text files and my various developments.
      Best regards from an UC/UE/UES for Windows user from Austria

      Power UserPower User

        Jan 22, 2015#3

        I (and many members of my office) use UltraEdit on our PCs to edit source code for multiple Linux clusters. This source code ranges from Fortran90 to Perl to Python to Java to IDL to HTML to JavaScript to C/C++ to shell scripts (Korn, Bash and C). It makes more sense to keep a single editor open to work on a project than to have multiple IDEs open and besides not all of the languages mentioned have IDEs. That doesn't mean that I never use IDEs but I usually only do so when it provides a service that UltraEdit doesn't and that I need at the time.

        As to the dated 90's look - I programmed on punch cards two decades before the 90's. I don't care what the interface looks like as long as it provides the services I need. UltraEdit keeps me productive. We've been using it for more than 12 years and over that timeframe our UltraEdit PCs have been connected to VMS, OpenVMS, Unisys MVS, AIX, Unix and Linux machines.


          Jan 23, 2015#4

          I see that JetBrains boasts over 75,000 customers. UltraEdit has millions. Apparently there are a lot of people that don't agree with your assessment.

          One thing I've learned about UltraEdit and UEStudio... if you don't give several days of delving into the depths of what all it can do, you just won't be able to understand why it is so powerful.

          I remember the 90's interface. Lived through it. I started programming with punch cards in the 70's as well. UltraEdit has a modern interface, more so than many editors out there.

          However, perhaps you're talking about UltraEdit for Linux? Is that the one you tried? Yeah, it's further behind the curve than the Windows version, but the Windows version is quite solid.

          One thing I would look forward to, however, is UltraEdit redone as a Windows 10 Universal App, so I can run it on my Laptop, Tablet, and Phone, and automatically sync between the 3, with a nice, modern Windows 10 touch interface. I rarely use mouse and keyboard these days, as most of my input is done by touch, gesture, glance, blink, and speech recognition, with speech recognition being one of my primary ways of working with my computer. So, yeah, an UltraEdit with full Cortana integration would be more ideal for me, but I'm asking too much for now. However, wait a couple of years and I'll probably be demanding it, or something like it.
          “Don’t document the problem, fix it.” – Atli Björgvin Oddsson

          Power UserPower User

            Feb 13, 2015#5

            For me there are two main (and interrelated) drivers: flexibility and familiarity.

            I program in a number of different languages (Perl, C, Java, batch, makefile...) and work with a lot of different text formats (YAML, XML, TAP, custom...) IDEs tend to be focused on a single language/environment. Eclipse is good for Java, Padre is focused on Perl, etc. UE is a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. What it lacks in power/features for a particular language it more than makes up for in its ability to adapt to anything I throw at it.

            I'm more productive using the same editor for everything than a different editor for each thing. UE's flexibility makes it useful in enough situations for me to become deeply familiar with it in both the number of features I'm aware of and the frequency with which I use them.

            There is of course some inertia as well. I'd heard enough glowing praise for xmacs that I tried it (several times) but gave up because it was frustratingly inefficient. I didn't know how to do anything in it. I didn't even know what it could do. I couldn't justify investing the time that would have been necessary to become proficient at it.

            Some of my favorite features:
            • Syntax highlighting (fully customizable)
            • Function list (fully customizable)
            • Projects (simple, but flexible)
            • User tools (This allows me to define my own implementation for many IDE features; e.g. SVN integration)
            • Column mode (including column fill)
            • Code folding (fully customizable)
            • Templates (fully customizable; can contain placeholder variables)
            • Scripting (e.g. I have a custom script to re-wrap comments)
            • ctags support
            • Autocomplete
            • ...and many more that I use daily
            None of these features are unique to UE, of course, and there are useful ones missing. (I can't refactor the way I can in Eclipse, auto-complete isn't class aware, etc.) In the end, the selection of an editor/IDE is always a trade-off. Overall I find UE to have a great breadth of features and be highly customizable, which is more valuable to me than being optimized for a particular language.

            Basic UserBasic User

              Apr 14, 2015#6

              It's all about what you are trying to do!

              I work in IT where my primary role is to manage EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) processes. I've been using UltraEdit since something like version 4 for viewing and editing EDI files, and what set UE apart from the rest way back then were four main functions: Sorting, HEX mode, Column Mode, and macros. While these are basic functions of many competing editors today, UE continues to implement them well, and UE has been significantly improved over the many years.

              A couple years ago, we migrated to BizTalk to handle all EDI processing. BizTalk is very XML-centric, so we needed something that would handle XML files seamlessly. The then current version of UE failed miserably enough that we turned to NotePad++ for all XML viewing/editing. While NotePad++ provided almost what we needed for handling XML files, it was still very rough in spots such as HEX editing, comparisons, and comprehensive macros. Yes, it worked well, but it was rough.

              Since then, UE fixed its XML management making it our current go-to XML viewer/editor. So once again, UE remains the one-stop-shop for text, EDI, and XML file viewing/editing.

              After countless paid updates, I purchased a lifetime license, and haven't looked back with any regret. And this were PERSONAL purchases, not work purchases, so I'm quite invested in it. I have always kept an open mind for other solutions, but in all cases, I always end up back with UE.

              Maybe for other people, a different editor may be more appropriate, but for me, it is my Swiss Army knife of editing tools. YMMV, of course.

              Jim Barr


                Aug 10, 2015#7

                I used Codewrite for many years. It inherited the key commands from an older editor whose name I forgot. But you could switch between that mode and vi mode - for the regular expression work of find/replace. Codewrite support is gone and it ran out of gas on large files, and a few other things. I switched to UltraEdit as a fill-in replacement and also because most other editors in the general purpose category just didn't have the features.

                The text processing - by that I mean changing or formatting large chunks of code seems to slow it a bit, not like vi for example, but it does work every time without dying.

                I dislike IDEs in general as they try to help you too much. I've always felt that it is not the job of an editor to find a database table's structure and try to help you type. That is annoying to me.
                It is sometimes difficult to undo some of the IDE hooks that get going, always trying to help you, as an example try to get Visual Studio to understand Oracle, and not its own database connections. That can be a challenge.

                Yes, I've been at this probably longer than most programmers have been alive, but UltraEdit has extraordinary features that I really like. Easily extending keywords for color is one of those really nice, and very easy to do features.

                One feature I want added: Please add an auto-keep like Notepad++, so I can close my editor and not have to go around saving all my files, or not - just close, and open them all back up when I return. That's not that hard to do. I often have five or six files in various stages and for different reasons that I may or may not want to keep. Just save everything so in the morning when I can think again, I can decide then.


                  Aug 12, 2015#8

                  Why do I use UltraEdit?

                  I've been using it since release 7. I find that it is easy to use. I use it for all of my text editing tasks. It is the only editor I've found with an embedded FTP that supports Unisys OS2200 systems.

                  I use it for the syntax highlighting feature. I have written wordfiles for several of the more esoteric "languages" available for use on an older OS2200 system.

                  I use it for the scripting features. I have been slowly teaching myself JavaScript. It makes some tasks much easier. And I like the macros as well.

                  I use it because I can setup the toolbars and menus the way I want them. With just the features I use most often. With the themes feature I can even change to colors to what I want.

                  Thanks for asking.
                  Greetings from Chicago!

                  Basic UserBasic User

                    Aug 20, 2015#9

                    I use UE because I write code in several different languages - it is much easier to do so if you can use the same editor for all.

                    UE has a clean interface, it's very easy to use and has powerful features such as a well defined column editing mode, User definable syntax highlighting, User definable GUI, User Macros, handles very large files .....starting to sound like IDM's advertising now :D

                    Of course it's not perfect, and everyone has a different view of what is best (hence the User customization). I have always encouraged people to try it for a few days, and then judge how it measures up to what they are currently using. It's very rare for UE not to come out on top once it has been put to the test - you just get so efficient with it and that allows you to really concentrate on your work.


                      Aug 28, 2015#10

                      I have watched UltraEdit evolve and I use it constantly. It is one of (if not) the first applications I reinstall on my system in the event of a re-load - I feel naked without it. It's easy to use, extremely powerful and highly customizable. I use column mode and macros daily, and custom syntax highlighting has allowed me to work with some really wacky files over the years. I've always loved that I can load up a 30MB CSV file and run a search and replace for 30,000+ items with almost no effort - try that with notepad even today.

                      Back in the old days, I used a DOS editor called QEdit, which started out as Shareware. I used that right up until the release of Windows 3.0, they wanted a hefty premium at the time to upgrade to the Windows edition, and the Windows version was terrible product at the time so I moved on. I worked on a job where they reimbursed me for a $400 copy of Visual SlickEdit, so i used that for a little while.

                      When I moved from Windows 3.1 to Windows NT 3.1, I found that my copy of Visual SlickEdit wouldn't run anymore, so I went searching and found UltraEdit-32 - basically the only decent editor that supported Windows NT at the time. I actually called Ian direct to register the software - I forget if it was 1996 or 1997, but it cost me $30 (plus Ohio tax) and I think it was maybe version 3.0 I was using at the time. I upgraded a few times until I finally decided to purchase a lifetime upgrade license around version 12.0 I think. I'm currently running v22.10 with the same license, so I've definitely got my money's worth on upgrades.

                      I've used many other text editors, but UltraEdit is always going to be in my toolset. :D

                      Basic UserBasic User

                        Sep 16, 2015#11

                        Interesting topic. I encounter a lot of things I don't like, too. I have always just moved on. But whatever.

                        I've tried all the other text editors. I got fed up with UE's slowness about a year ago and tried them all again. I actually bought another one in part because it was lightning fast. ... But then I encountered annoying limitations and missing features. ... And I got a refund.

                        I've also tried all the freebies that everyone seems to think should do the trick for me. No thanks. Many of them are a complete joke.

                        There's no single reason I am still with UE, even though it's general slowness has always annoyed me. It's everything. It's the load of features. It's the configurability. It's the column mode that works like I want it to. It's the built-in FTP support. It's a ton of things I can't remember.

                        Go use something else. I could not care less. If anything, the idiots who rave about how great the garbage freeware editors are make me feel better about my choice. My choice is based on preference, not on the fact that I'm poor, stupid, or unwilling to part with my money.


                          Jun 08, 2018#12

                          Well I don't. I've evaluated the UltraEdit version 21 or later for a while. At that moment I was searching a productive editor to write JS/CSS/HTML code. I was mad of the GVIM on my computer because it was poor at rendering the color of JS code embedded in HTML file. So, my major use is for programming. I searched on internet, and I see ultraedit.com with a title said "Program Editor | Text Editor | Ultra Editor". So I downloaded and tried for a while. And I decided to uninstall it after a few minutes.

                          In my opinion, UltraEdit is obviously the worst editor ever.

                          1) Auto complete.
                          Comparing with Sublime Text, Atom or VS Code. They all provide intelligent and smooth auto complete while you're typing. I feel the productivity those editors bring to me. E.g. if you type $.each, a jQuery function, in Sublime, you immediately see function parameter hints and with one hit, it inserts what you need into your source code.  With UltraEdit, I tried to type, but it never completes what I was trying to type... Not intelligent at all.
                          If I'm editing HTML, I have an opening <span>. Once I type "</", most editors immediately completes "</span>". UltraEdit? No.
                          Most editors has a plugin called Emmet.  If I'm editing HTML or XML, I could type li * 3 to automatically get 3 lines of <li></li>. UltraEdit? No.

                          2) Plugin system
                          Sublime/Atom/VS Code all have a big repository of plugins. VS Code even prompts you "You're editing JAVA code, do you want to install these plugins for JAVA programming?" How many plugins does UltraEdit have?

                          3) Go to any file.
                          Nowadays, almost all editors provides this feature. What is this feature? Let's say you're editing some JS code in a folder. Now you what to check another source file in a deep structure. In most cases, you even cannot precisely spell the full name of that file. If you use "Open File" dialog, you need to go up/down for tens of clicks before you open that file. With "Go to any file", you simply press CTRL+P, and type some initial letter of that file, and the editor open that file for you. Try Atom, VS Code, or Sublime if you never see such feature before. Is this feature available in UltraEdit? No. This is unbelievable. Because even VIM/Notepad++ has plugins for this feature.

                          4) UI style.
                          VIM is clean. Atom is clean. Sublime Text is clean. They let you focus on code editing/reading. When you look at UltraEdit, you see left panel, right panel, complicated menu/tool bar at top... It pretends to be an IDE (looks like Visual C++ 6.0), but actually it's just a text editor. 

                          5) Price
                          You don't like VIM? Atom is open source and free. VS Code is open source and free. Sublime sells for 70 dollars. UltraEdit sells for 99 dollars.

                          Does UltraEdit has any advantage? Yes, it's advanced in:
                          1) Hex editing
                          This is a feature most of the editors I listed above don't have. So I even thought, ok, maybe UltraEdit is actually a Hex editor which also supports text editing...
                          But for Hex editing, we also have other alternatives. E.g. 010Editor, sells at half price as UltraEdit.

                          2) Big file editing
                          Open a big file is extremely fast using UltraEdit. If you ever tried to open a file of 25 MB using other editor, you wait minutes before something is rendered on screen. This is an advantage of UltraEdit.
                          But how many cases do you need to open a file of tens of megabytes if you're a programmer?

                          3) Built in FTP/SFTP
                          Well this is feature which other editors don't have. But why do you hate using SSH or SFTP clients?

                          I see some reply in this thread says, UltraEdit is a general text editor. I could open a single instance to edit Perl/Python/Java/Shell scripts... Oh, great. But wake up. It's 2018, not 1990. Which editor can not do this?
                          I also see some reply comparing Jetbrains IDE with UltraEdit. Why do you think it makes sense to compare a text editor with a full featured IDE? UltraEdit's competitor is not Jetbrains, it's VS Code, Atom and Sublime Text.

                          Grand MasterGrand Master

                            Jun 08, 2018#13

                            whatisaidistrue, you want an IDE - Integrated Development Environment - which works perfect for your needs out of the box, but you have tested an application not designed as integrated development environment, neither for HTML/CSS/JS writing nor for any other language. UltraEdit is not designed as full integrated webpage editor neither for your specific requirements nor for anyone's else specific requirements. It is never written that UltraEdit is an IDE at all. There is UEStudio which contains built-in IDE features for some languages as the IDEs you referenced in your post.

                            UltraEdit has lots of features to make it also a very powerful editor for HTML, CSS, JSON, XML, C/C++ and many, many other languages and file types which are not even public described at all in world wide web. But a user needs to discover and learn using those features. That takes time as learning to use the features of any other IDE. You have the advantage to know already many features of IDEs used by you in the past and expected exactly the same features assigned to same hotkeys also from UltraEdit. So it is no surprise for me that you have been disappointed by UltraEdit after working with UltraEdit just some minutes.

                            A user needs to configure UltraEdit for enhanced features which IDEs have built-in for some languages. For example it is necessary to configure an UltraEdit project, for example a website directory, with usage of Ctags for being able to jump to location of the definition of a symbol like a function name with a key press and back to original editing location with one more key press, create and use smart templates for efficiently inserting code in any structure, learn to use and customize the HTML/XHTML tools UltraEdit offers to create lists or convert an existing block of text into an UL or OL list, and much, much more. UltraEdit is not designed to be out of the box perfect setup/configured for a specific group of code writers as many other IDEs.

                            You tried UltraEdit (instead of UEStudio) just a few minutes and have not even scratched on surface of UltraEdit in this short time.

                            I am using UltraEdit and UEStudio for HTML/CSS website management, C/C++ code writing for various controllers and processors, JavaScript writing mainly for enhancing UltraEdit/UEStudio by writing UltraEdit scripts (and of course I'm using also UltraEdit macros), batch file writing (with automatic usage of OEM character encoding), and other languages for which all the applications referenced by you have not even a syntax highlighting. The main advantage of UltraEdit for me is that it is not designed for a specific programming or scripting language. I have learned over the last 20 years to customize UltraEdit to my requirements for the quite large list of various file types edited by me daily. The big advantage for me is that I don't needed to install about 10 different IDEs and learn to use all of them because of UltraEdit and UEStudio which I customized for the wide range of different projects and file types.

                            You complained about the user interface of UltraEdit, but most likely you have in your short test not encountered the possibilities which UltraEdit and UEStudio gives a user to customize the user interface to the user's needs. There are a lots of views which can be displayed permanently, docked and auto-hided or toggled on/off by click or hotkey. There is the ribbon mode for which many users voted on a survey a few years ago and two toolbar/menu modes which I prefer whereby by default only the main toolbar is displayed after switching from ribbon to a toolbar/menu mode. There are more toolbars predefined which just need to make visible like the HTML/XHTML toolbar. And the toolbars can be customized by the user. A user interface can be saved to a custom layout to quickly switch the layout depending on the project or the current requirements. That's what I use on code writing for the various controllers and processors as they require different tools to compile the code and load into the device, run it there and debug it. Customized toolbars with customized tools, macros, scripts, templates, projects and views makes it possible for me to use one application for efficiently working with many very different projects and file types.

                            UltraEdit is definitely not the best application for editing text files for everyone. There is no best text editing application for everyone as otherwise there would be only one text editing application at all. UltraEdit and UEStudio are the best text editing applications for me.

                            whatisaidistrue, as you expected an out of the box perfect integrated development environment for HTML/CSS/JS development, you must have been disappointed by what you see after installing UltraEdit and using it just a few minutes and I can only agree, UltraEdit is not the application which fulfills your requirements and expectations. I hope, you find an application which fulfills your requirements and expectations. Good luck.
                            Best regards from an UC/UE/UES for Windows user from Austria


                              Jul 06, 2018#14

                              I am using UltraEdit because of definite macros! (Thanks to Mofi.)
                              I highly doubt I ever get a chance to switch to other editors unless the UE macros that I've been using stop working. :)


                                Oct 30, 2018#15

                                I've been using UltraEdit after a colleague recommended it. Never looked back since. Not doing anything all that special, but I find it to be very intuitive and as powerful as I need.