Windows' own Notepad may be the easiest editor available for writing
Since you probably used it before, at least it doesn't have a "steep learning curve".
Be aware, though, that extended ASCII characters entered in Notepad
may sometimes result in completely different characters in the resulting
batch file. A tip mailed to me by Denis St-Pierre is to use the good
old EDIT command to create a batch file with extended ASCII characters
like accented letters or "border lines".
I use File Commander's editor myself for the same reason. This would suggest that any "text mode editor" could do the trick. I can confirm that
COPY CON filename and
ECHO accented_text > filename
When saving a file through the "Save As" dialogue,
you can use the "Encoding" field to choose between
plain ASCII (ANSI) or Unicode.
So if you open a plain ASCII text file in Notepad, you can save it in Unicode and vice versa.
See the Unicode section of my TYPE page if you need to convert ASCII and Unicode from the command line.
/P switch is perfect for
printing text files from the command line:
NOTEPAD /P text_file
will open text_file in Notepad, send it to the default
printer without any user interaction, and close Notepad again.
This works with all plain text files, both ASCII and Unicode.
/A switch can be used to make
sure a file is loaded in Notepad as plain ASCII:
NOTEPAD /A ascii_text_file
Porsch taught me the following trick:
If you create a new text file in Notepad and insert a line containing only the "word"
.LOG at the
top of the file, Notepad will append a line with the current date and time
and move the cursor to the last line each time you open the file.
Huub van de Pol e-mailed me the following tip:
Sometimes it may be inconvenient to print the default page header and footer in Notepad. You can change the print settings, but Notepad by default does not save these modified settings.
The following REG file, when imported in the registry, changes this behaviour:
REGEDIT4 [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Notepad] "fSavePageSettings"=dword:00000001 "szHeader"="" "szTrailer"=""
The first key, fSavePageSettings, when set to 1, will make Notepad keep
the last print settings.
The keys "szHeader" and "szTrailer" are used to set the page header and footer respectively. In this particular example their values are blank strings, so no header and footer will be printed.
Before making these changes, you may want to save your current Notepad settings first by using the following command:
REGEDIT /E C:\NotepadDefaults.reg "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Notepad"
If you ever need to restore the original default settings, just doubleclick the file C:\NotepadDefaults.reg created with this command.