MS-DOS Editor is a text editor developed by Microsoft and published as a bundled application with MS-DOS version 5.0 in June, 1991. It was included with later versions of MS-DOS and several versions of Windows.
My family's first computer came with MS-DOS 5.0, so I became pretty familiar with the MS-DOS Editor and used it to create and edit text documents, batch files, and occasionally, to view the contents of binary files, although the version I had made editing impossible.
I remember recognizing that the editor was extremely similar looking to QBASIC, but, it wasn't until years later that I discovered that it literally used QBASIC under the hood. To this day, I still associate the default white on blue color scheme with MS-DOS because of the editor and QBASIC.
Through my old collection of computers, I legally own all of the versions of MS-DOS Editor.
- This is one of the best user interfaces for a text editor of the 16-bit era. There is mouse support and full menus, so you don't have to memorize a bunch of esoteric key-combinations like with VI.
- The first version has some basic customizations like custom colors and the width of tabs. Version 2 added split display, binary editing, multi-document support, and the ability to print to multiple ports.
- File size was limited. v1.0 couldn't even open a 500 KB file. However, v2.0 increased this limit quite a bit to several MB. This wasn't too much of a constraint because text files rarely reached such sizes in the early 1990s.
- By default, the open dialog in v1.0 only shows *.TXT files, but there were many other common text extensions of the time like *.DOC, *.BAT, *.INI, etc. Thankfully, v2.0 displays all files by default.
- It doesn't preserve non-printable characters. So, if you save a document that had binary data in it, all binary data will be permanently lost. It wasn't until v2.0 that binary data was supported, and, even then, it converts normal end-of-line markers to Microsoft end-of-line markers.
|1.0||MS-DOS 5.0, Windows 3.x NT, Windows 4 NT||Built on QBASIC, the crippled version of QuickBASIC bundled with MS-DOS.|
|1.1||MS-DOS 6.x||No new features, but updated to handle DOS help documents.|
|2.0.026||Windows 95, 98, ME||Stand-alone EXE independent of QBASIC. Multiple document support, split view, hex view for binary files, more customization.|