Text file viewer with next/previous file function
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Jun 3, 2012

G'day everyone

Many image viewers have this function whereby one can press PgDn and PgUp (or similar) to close the current file and open the next file in the list. In this way one can browse through a folder with images, viewing one file at a time, without having to close each file and double-click to open each next file.

Do you know of a similar program for text files?

In other words, if my folder contains 100 text files, such a program would allow me to view one file at a time, but when I press a certain shortcut, it would open the next or previous file in the folder (and close the current one).

I'm using Windows 7.

Thanks
Samuel


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:41
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Image viewers with txt support Jun 3, 2012

Have you tried an image viewer which support text files? For example IrfanView does that - you have to tweak the display options sometimes, but it works well enough.

Of course, according to the post title, I'm talking only about viewing - opening for editing is a different matter...


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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IrfanView Jun 3, 2012

Jabberwock wrote:
Have you tried an image viewer which support text files? For example IrfanView does that - you have to tweak the display options sometimes, but it works well enough.


I actually downloaded IrfanView because the description says it can do it, but the text files are shown as blanks in IrfanView -- perhaps it only shows files from a specific encoding.


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:41
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Strange... Jun 3, 2012

It works with various encodings here...

Have you tried View/Display option(window mode)/Fit images to window width? It might be the font is too small to be displayed correctly...


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Endre Both  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:41
Member (2002)
English to German
Total Commander Jun 4, 2012

Among a myriad other useful features, the two-pane file manager Total Commander by Christian Ghisler in the tradition of Norton Commander (shareware, around 30 euro to buy) offers the option of showing in one pane the contents of the file selected in the other pane. Since pane size is configurable, you can devote almost the entire screen to displaying the file. You can navigate up and down in the file list, however, no editing is possible (though you can open the current file with a single keypress).

I've just tried Irfanview and while it does display text files, it a) doesn't wrap long lines and b) it displays the text converted to compressed graphics, creating some rather irritating halo artefacts. A quick scan of the program's options didn't turn up anything to improve upon this behaviour.

Endre

PS: To be fair, you will probably get the same functionality from some of the numerous free Norton Commander clones. As I'm using Total Commander for file management (and FTP, and file renaming, and some more) as well, it has been worth every penny to me - particularly given the very generous upgrade policy – my investment quite a few years back was still good for a free upgrade to this year's new 64-bit version.

[Bearbeitet am 2012-06-04 07:10 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:41
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English to Afrikaans
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@Endre and @Jabber Jun 4, 2012

Endre Both wrote:
Among a myriad other useful features, the two-pane file manager Total Commander by Christian Ghisler in the tradition of Norton Commander (shareware, around 30 euro to buy) offers the option of showing in one pane the contents of the file selected in the other pane.


Thanks for the tip -- using a file explorer's preview function seems like a nice idea. I tried a number of file explorers for this specific function. Note that my files are UTF16LE (though I might also want to look at files that are in UTF8). The clear winner is Unreal Commander.

* Unreal Commander - freeware, full-size text file preview, with next/previous shortcut

* Xplorer2 64-bit - 14-day shareware, full-size text file preview, reads encoding correctly, uses fixed-width system font with no option to change font, no direct shortcut for next/previous file.

* FreeCommander - freeware, full-size text file preview, but reads all files as UTF8/ANSI, no direct or indirect shortcut for next/previous file.

* XYplorer - 30-day shareware, no full-size text file preview, does have text file thumbnail preview, maximum thumbnail size 320x320.

* Abracadabra - freeware, full-size text file preview, shows only the byte order mark
* Alt Commander - freeware, full-size text file preview, shows only the byte order mark
* Explorer++ - freeware, only thumbnail previews
* Ac Browser Plus - freeware, nice preview function but not for text files
* Q-Dir - freeware, freeware, no preview function
* EF Commander - freeware, no preview function
* 2xExplorer - freeware, no preview function
* A43 - freeware, not preview function
* Gekko Manager - freeware, no preview function
* JExplorer - freeware, no preview function
* Snowbird - freeware, no preview function

My experience with FreeCommander made me try IrfanView again, but with UTF8/ANSI files, and those files are dealt with beautifully in IrfanView (including a nicer font than in Xplorer2).


[Edited at 2012-06-04 08:36 GMT]


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Endre Both  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:41
Member (2002)
English to German
TC handls Unicode fine Jun 4, 2012

Total Commander reads and interprets byte order marks (BOM) in Unicode files, so it should automatically display your UTF8 and UTF16LE files correctly. If a BOM is absent, you can also set the encoding manually (although of course this is less than ideal with a large number of files).

Endre

PS: I've just verified that you can customise the font in TC's viewer to taste.

[Bearbeitet am 2012-06-04 08:36 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
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@Endre Jun 4, 2012

Endre Both wrote:
Total Commander reads and interprets byte order marks (BOM) in Unicode files, so it should automatically display your UTF8 and UTF16LE files correctly.


TC works fine, except that it has no direct next/previous shortcut, and what is worse, it hard wraps the text file before showing the preview. My text files are already hard wrapped to roughly 85 characters or sometimes a lot more, but TC re-hard wraps it to about 70 characters before displaying the preview.

Total Commander


Unreal Commander


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:41
Member (2004)
English to Polish
For a one click more... Jun 4, 2012

I realize this will cost you one keyboard click more per file, but maybe the combination of a file explorer and text editor would be sufficient? Arrange the windows so that each takes up half a window, filter the text files in the explorer if it is necessary and assign Esc as the exit shortcut in the text editor. Then it is Arrow Down, Enter and Esc instead of PgDn and Esc.

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Endre Both  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:41
Member (2002)
English to German
Wrapping is customisable Jun 4, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:
TC works fine, except that it has no direct next/previous shortcut, and what is worse, it hard wraps the text file before showing the preview


In Configuration > Operation > Edit/View > Configure internal viewer, you can customise a number of settings, including wrapping (although I was disappointed to see that you cannot turn it off altogether, but assigning a large enough chars per line setting should be equivalent).

I take your point about the missing shortcut when focus is in the viewer window, but this only involves two additional Tab presses (one to focus on the file list, select the next file with the Down arrow and another Tab to go back to the viewer). You could even easily automate it with Autohotkey or a similar solution if you want to streamline the workflow to the maximum. Then you can really go to the next/previous file with a single key.

Endre

[Bearbeitet am 2012-06-04 09:15 GMT]


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Endre Both  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:41
Member (2002)
English to German
Should work fine Jun 4, 2012

Jabberwock wrote:
maybe the combination of a file explorer and text editor would be sufficient? Arrange the windows so that each takes up half a window, filter the text files in the explorer if it is necessary and assign Esc as the exit shortcut in the text editor. Then it is Arrow Down, Enter and Esc instead of PgDn and Esc.


Great idea, particularly if editing is required. I've just verified that Notepad++ can be customised to close on Esc, but so can most other editors I assume, such as the fabulously lightweight Notepad2 which I still love to use in parallel to the feature-laden Notepad++.

Endre


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Fast, painless next/previous browsing Jun 4, 2012

Jabberwock wrote:
I realize this will cost you one keyboard click more per file, but maybe the combination of a file explorer and text editor would be sufficient? Arrange the windows so that each takes up half a window, filter the text files in the explorer if it is necessary and assign Esc as the exit shortcut in the text editor. Then it is Arrow Down, Enter and Esc instead of PgDn and Esc.


Endre Both wrote:
I take you point about the missing shortcut when focus is in the viewer window, but this only involves two additional Tab presses (one to focus on the file list, select the next file with the Down arrow and another Tab to go back to the viewer).


Thanks for all your help, guys.

The ability to move to the next or previous file painlessly is an important part of what I need, and with Unreal Commander I can use a single keyboard shortcut to move from file to file very, very quickly (in the same way as one might flip quickly through a series of photos to find the one you're looking for).

By the way, it seems that Unreal Commander can use TC plugins (the plugin link on the UC web page links to the TC plugin directory).


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Endre Both  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:41
Member (2002)
English to German
Use UC Jun 4, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:
The ability to move to the next or previous file painlessly is an important part of what I need, and with Unreal Commander I can use a single keyboard shortcut


Sorry, I didn't realise that UC did the job perfectly or I wouldn't have gone on about workarounds. Great that you've found it and free to boot.

Good luck with your project!
Endre


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Alex Khanin  Identity Verified
Germany
German to Russian
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Firefox Jun 4, 2012

You could try using Firefox with the All-In-One Sidebar add-on as a text file viewer. Bookmark the folder your files are in, open it in the sidebar and click on a file name to view the file. There are no encoding problems and you can view PDFs and images as well.

Best


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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:41
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
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Directory Opus Jun 4, 2012

Directory Opus might not be free, but it does lots of useful stuff and looks nice, and has no problem previewing anything.


Wordbook.nl



Wordbook.nl


Michael


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