Viewing & searching large text files

When doing research you sometimes come across large (plain) text files. Either you do a download from a specific secondary source, or you (or a colleague) created it while measuring phenomena. Handling such large files can be difficult as most regular programs are unable to (easily) handle large text files:

  • Wordpad, Notepad and  Microsoft Word have difficulty opening large text files with millions of lines or there is a limit based on file size. Word 2010 can not deal with files that are larger than 500 MB, for instance.
  • A program like Microsoft Excel 2010 also can use text files but has a limit of a million lines and is pretty slow when working with these files or searching through them
  • Out of the Office programs Microsoft Access 2010 has the least difficulty with larger text files but quickly becomes very slow when handling large text files that are larger than 500 MB or that contain millions of lines.

I recently came across the small open source program called Glogg. I tried it out with a couple of text files in the ranges 500 MB – 1,5 GB and found it opens these files very quickly and fully compared to other programs. In addition to being able to open such a large text file, it also has a nice search feature that can highlight items in the file you are looking for. The search result screen at the bottom allows you to jump to the items in the text file at the top. Below you see a screenshot of the Glogg program.

The Glogg program is nothing fancy but it does allow you to quickly view and search large text files. This may be handy if you are unsure whether the content is in order (odd characters) or to judge how the file is structured.

The Glogg program can be downloaded from the website. There is a 32-bits version and a 64-bits version.