Although text files are undoubtedly useful, they are somewhat limited when it comes to function. Thankfully, a number of utilities can convert, edit, or manipulate them. This article lists five such tools.

Note: This article is also available as an image gallery and a video hosted by TechRepublic columnist Tom Merritt.

1: TTSReader

TTSReader (Figure A) is a free utility for converting text into speech. The utility allows you to open a text file, which is subsequently read aloud. You can adjust the speed, pitch, volume, and gender of the voice. Best of all, the audio can be saved as a WAV file or as an MP3 file.

Figure A

2: Go2PDF

Go2PDF (Figure B) is a free utility for converting documents, including text files, into PDF files. This particular application doesn’t have a user interface, nor are there any real features to speak of. What the program lacks in features, however, it makes up for in simplicity. The software exists on your system as a virtual printer driver. Any document can be converted to PDF format simply by “printing” it.

Figure B

3: Free File Merge

Free File Merge (Figure C) is a free utility for merging multiple text files into a single text file. This is especially useful for compiling large collections of data files that exist in text format.

Figure C

Although this tool does exactly as it claims, there are two limitations you should be aware of. First, all the files in the selected folder are merged. There is no mechanism for choosing individual files. Second, you can’t control the order in which files are merged. As such, this tool is good for merging data files, but may not be the best choice for merging documents.

4: Batch Text File Editor

Batch Text File Editor (Figure D) is an awesome tool for bulk editing of text files. Suppose, for instance, that the organization you work for changed its name and you need to update five hundred text files to use the new name. The process would take forever if done manually, but this utility makes the process easy. Some of the supported editing functions include basic replace, RegEx replace, multiple replace, multiple RegEx replace, insert text, delete text, move text, copy text, extract text, and format text.

Figure D

Batch Text File Editor sells for $39.00, but a free trial version is available for download.

5. MasterSplitter

MasterSplitter (Figure E) can split a text file into multiple pieces and then later reassemble them. The nice thing about this tool is that you can choose the size of the split. For example, you could set the size of each resulting file to a specific number of megabytes (or kilobytes). This tool might be most useful to those who do scientific research and generate huge amounts of raw data that needs to be stored to removable media.

Figure E

MasterSplitter sells for $12.95, but a free trial is available for download.

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Other apps?

What tools do you use for working with text files? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.