A text editor is a type of program used for editing plain text files.
A text editor (e.g. NoteTab) should not be confused with a word processor (e.g. Microsoft Word), since the former only edits plain text (most commonly using the ASCII character set) while the latter--unless specifically instructed to use plain text--adds special hidden information that enables the display of texts using different fonts, highlighting something in bold font, etc. ASCII or plain text does not contain such formatting information in its set of characters. If files are edited in a word processor and simply copied to a text editor, the text that is transferred will not automatically change to plain text, and the files will not be usable by utilitities requiring plain text. Thus, XML encoding for the purpose of displaying text on a website requires the use of a text editing program.
One of the preferred text editors used by Whitman Archive staff is NoteTab Pro. Among its special features are basic syntax highlighting, which makes distinguishing between text designed for online display, comments, and XML code quite easy, for instance, and a user-friendly interface that allows for the creation of customized clipbook libraries where shortcuts to commonly used tags and combinations of tags can be stored.