I have lost count of the number of times that I have lost important information because of crashes, or absent-mindedly closing a word processor without saving my edits. That’s why I use cloud-based solutions like Office Online or Google Docs which support autosave.
HandyPad is a freeware offline text editor that autosaves the content of the document as you type.
It has a very minimal design with the interface just having an editor pane and a menu bar. To start using HandyPad, just type the text in the editor pane.
The contents of the file are saved in a plain text document called HandyPad.txt. What that means is that the program is limited to the one document, which is referred to as a “Memo”. There is no toolbar because the editor has no options for formatting text, so essentially it is meant to be used a note taking application.
Right-click anywhere in the interface to access a menu with basic options such as undo, cut, copy, paste, select all, etc. HandyPad has single-level undo/redo, so if you make an error and notice it later, there’s no way to fix it.
The application places an icon on the system tray that has options to Find (Search in the memo), Print, auto resize the window, among other options. The ClearClipboard option deletes the Windows Clipboard’s contents. The important option here is AutoSave Memo, which is not enabled by default.
How does the autosave work?
When autosave is enabled, HandyPad saves the memo after each keypress. And the program warns you that since the saving process is done in real-time, the typing speed could be slow when used with a removable disk. I tried it with my Western Digital external drive, and didn’t notice a difference in the speed compared to using the program on my computer’s internal SSD.If you’re not a fan of the autosave, don’t worry, there is a “Save” button in the menu bar that you can use for manually saving the memo.
HandyPad’s ClearMemo setting discards the memo’s contents. To prevent recovery of the document, the program replaces the contents of HandyPad.text with an empty file, thus overwriting it. This seems to be the reason why the application uses a single document system. To prevent loss of any important data, you should save a copy of the file manually. The program stays on top of windows and there’s no way to disable this. Click on the Hide button in the menu bar, or on the tray icon to minimize it.
The program is portable, but HandyPad by default will start with Windows, and the interface is displayed on startup. Right-click on its icon to disable both of these options. The settings of HandyPad are saved in an INI file that’s created in the folder you extracted it to.
Though it is touted as a Notepad alternative, I wouldn’t use it as such simply because it cannot open text files other than the memo it saves. You could however use it for typing documents, though again it is restricted to the lone memo. On the plus side, you can view, edit the document that you created using HandyPad with any text editor, or use it for jotting down notes.
All in all though, it is fair to say that there are better programs out there unless you require real-time saving of your text. Popular text editors such as Notepad++ support plugins that introduce auto-saving to the application as well, and they serve more purposes than just jotting down notes in a single text document.
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