When comparing Notepad++ vs Atom, the Slant community recommends Atom for most people. In the question“What are the best programming text editors?” Atom is ranked 10th while Notepad++ is ranked 13th. The most important reason people chose Atom is:
Atom has a built-in package manager and an extensive [list of packages](https://atom.io/packages).
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Syntax highlighting for a wide variety of languages
Notepad++ has built-in support for syntax highlighting for a wide selection of programming languages.
Pro Light and fast
Notepad++ is a very light program that starts almost instantly. This makes it a great text editor for users that want something that will start the second they open it.
You can get a portable version of N++ and put it on a flash drive or your dropbox account and have your editor, configured the way you like, at any computer that you are on.
Pro Extendable via plugins
A list of hundreds of plugins is maintained.
Pro Free under GPL
Notepad++ is licensed under GPL, which means it is free/open source software that you can use freely.
Pro Regex replace in selection, active tab, or all tabs
In Notepad++, the user can utilise regular expressions to quickly modify text across multiple files.
Pro Persistent documents, even after exiting the application
If you close Notepad++ (npp), your documents remain even if you haven't saved.
Pro Split screen
The user can open and edit files in multiple screens within the editor window.
Pro Multi-line editing
While it is disabled by default, when enabled, it is possible to edit more than one line at a time. This is helpful in many situations.
Pro Easy to use and admin
Very easy to use and personalize.
Pro User defined language syntax support
You can define your own custom syntax highlighting rules (or add support for others) .
Pro Supports Markdown
If you have the Plugin Manager installed you can search for MarkdownViewer++ and install it via that plugin.
Pro Extensive list of packages
Atom has a built-in package manager and an extensive list of packages.
Pro Built-in package management
Atom was built from the ground up with the community in mind. Package management is therefore a first class feature.
Atom can run on Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Due to its modular design, almost any aspect of the editor can be changed. Even seemingly core packages, like those taking care of search and replace functionality, can be forked on GitHub, and changed and replaced in the editor.
The documentation for creating new plugins is also great, making it easier for developers to jump in and create plugins for Atom.
Pro Free and open source
Atom is free, open source, and written in C++, LESS, and CoffeeScript.
Pro Beginner friendly
One of the goals of Atom is to be a text editor for both experienced and beginner programmers. You can add keyboard shortcuts, change themes, install plugins, and change core settings by clicking through a GUI, or by manually editing config files the old-fashioned way. It has the added advantage of being built using the same engine that powers Google Chrome, so actions like opening and closing tabs feel familiar, even to new or non-programmers.
Pro Embedded Git control
Atom will highlight folders, files, and lines that have any uncommitted edits made. It also integrates really well with GitHub.
Pro Multi-line select and edit
Multiple cursors and column selection allow for versatile ways of editing.
ctrl + d will select the current word and each time the command is repeated, it adds the next occurrence of the word to the selection.
ctrl + click or
middle-mouse click will place another cursor in the place that's clicked. Cursors can then be controlled together. This also allows for selecting vertically.
Pro Command Palette support
The Command Palette permits fuzzy searching all available functions, settings, snippets, etc.
Pro Allows for instant file switching
By pressing Ctrl or Command + T and using fuzzy search, you can look for a file in your project.
You can theme and customize Atom to your liking.
Pro Command line integration out of the box
Installing Atom adds two command line commands -
apm. The first one runs the application itself while the second is the Atom Package Manager that's used to add and remove various components from the package listing. While these features can be set up with other editors as well, Atom takes care of them out of the box.
Pro HiDPI support
Atom has built-in HiDPI support with zero scaling issues.
Pro Modern feel and very customizable and extendable
Pro Vim plugin turns Atom into a modernized vim
Pro Best support for Arduino with Platformio
Arduino is the most important platform for developing embedded systems.
Pro Could also be used as an IDE
Atom qualifies to be a good IDE because of the packages like linters, atom browser and hydrogen.
While it can run in Wine, it is native only to Windows. Linux users will have to use Notepadqq instead.
Con Outdated UI
Only the text area can be themed, and it doesn't have as many features as browser-based text areas.
Con Limited new syntax support for new languages
It may be hard to find good plugins for relatively new languages.
Con Settings confusingly scattered
Examples: try to change the tab size or used font.
Con Session backups not enabled by default
Unsaved tabs will be lost when Npp crashes, unless you first enable the session backup option.
Con User defined language doesn't support triple quote strings
It also doesn't support triple hashed comments. Both styles are overridden by their single character single line version.
Con Annoying update notifications upon start-up
Annoying update notifications tend to pop up upon start-up after not having used the app or machine for a few days. At the same time, they can be easily turned off.
Con Very slow startup time
Atom is very slow to startup, which is a big disadvantage if you are accustomed to using it to make quick changes on your files.
Con High memory usage
Atom has a relatively high memory usage, especially when compared to some other text editors not based on Electron. For those who develop on the go, this also tends to mean shorter battery life.
Con Slows down exponentially with plugins
Extending it needs sacrificing responsiveness.
Con Has difficulty with large text files
Tends to crash or hang with large >(10MB) text files, making it less useful as a general text editor.
Con Doesn't handle RTL (right-to-left text) well
Text can't be highlighted and manipulated properly, cursor isn't displayed visually according to where it is logically (you have to type to find out), and similar issues.
Con Not suitable for older computers
Atom requires a lot of system resources to run, so it will most probably be painfully slow on an older machine.
Con Indent errors
Sometimes, especially when given a file that has different indentation that the current setting, the programm seems to get confused.
Con Not known when a new window will open
It's not really clear why and when a new window is opened when you open a file out of the tree view.
Con No text UI
Con Bloated - too many packages, too little productivity
Unable to use package to even convert a C file to PDF.
Con Slow because of Electron
Atom is not a native application. As such performance is subpar and the lag is especially noticeable on larger projects. It also opens a surprising amount of sub-processes and leaks a considerable amount of memory.
Con Crash and data loss
Repeated data loss when the app crashes.
A bugreport about that was closed automatically after some time, nobody cares.
Con Missing additional touches
As Atom is still relatively new, it's missing nice little touches that other text editors have implemented over the years. From simple ease-of-use items like middle-mouse button multi-cursor select, to the ways pasted information from a spreadsheet is interpreted in multi-select situations.