Large Text File Viewers – Swiftgear vs. UltraEdit

Large Text File Viewers – Swiftgear vs. UltraEdit

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  1. If you’ve ever worked with large text or data files, you’re probably already familiar with how agonizingly long it can take to open them with standard tools like Notepad, Word, or WordPad. Analyzing a large text file, sometimes even those weighing-in at several gigabytes, often imposes a heavy burden on these “vanilla” applications, assuming it doesn’t exceed what they’re capable of handling in the first place altogether.

    Enter the domain of the Large Text File Viewer (LTF Viewer) (or LTF Editor, as they’re also referred to). These applications are designed to make short work of opening and working with such large files, and often aim to provide additional tools and options, specific to what can often be a rather wide range of client file formats.

    For this example, I was in need of a LTF Viewer that could handle opening a 5 Gb text file for analysis. The file in this case was generated by Microsoft’s freeware utility for measuring Input and Output (IO) on a Microsoft Server (Database Server in this case) called SQLIO. Most large files are only a few hundred Mb in size, so I really needed an excellent LTF Viewer or Editor to get job done right. Just type-in “Large Text File Viewer” into Google and you’ll find the top two results listed as being’s Large Text File Viewer 5.2, and’s Large Text File Editor. Let’s see how they fared:


    The LTF Viewer (5.2 being the latest version) from (also available on cnet) is a freeware application weighing-in at only only 572Kb in size and, let’s face it, you simply cannot beat the price! Naturally, this was my first choice but when I launched the utility and tried to load my 5Gb file, it literally took over an hour for it to finally finish loading my file! This was beyond disappointing considering the first line one reads from their website regarding this product is “Have you ever felt frustrated when you just want to look at the content of a large text file but it takes forever for Notepad or Word to open it?”. Considering how this is the primary, and arguably, sole function of a LTF Viewer in the first place, it saddens me to say that I won’t be looking to this application in the future.


    IDM Computer Solutions, Inc.’s UltraEdit LTF Editor, from, is available on a try-before-you-buy, full featured download basis, with versions for Windows (7, Vista, 2000, & XP), Mac (10.5 & up), and Linux (unlike Swiftgear’s solution which is only designed for Windows 98, 2000, & XP). If you decide to keep it, the price is $59.95 which, quite honestly, seems a little steep, but when I installed it to see what it could do with my 5Gb SQLIO .dat file, I was amazed that it only took 6 minutes for this application to load my file and allow me to scroll, with reasonable performance, up and down all through its considerable length. The program comes with a plethora of options and features deserving of an article unto itself, so suffice to say I was greatly impressed with this company’s LTF Editor solution and, besides reserving a space in my book as the number one app of its kind I’ve ever worked with, I’m left with just one other question lingering in my mind: What price can you place on the time this utility can save you?


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