Searching one or two text files is easy. Windows Search and Notepad will probably be enough. But what if you need to browse 10 files? A hundred? Thousands? That's when you just might need Depeche View Lite.

Point the program at a location and it will open every plain text file in that folder tree, up to a total of 10,000 for this version (the commercial build is unrestricted). These are all displayed in a flat view, one above the other, so at a minimum you might just scroll down and start reading.

The real benefits begin when you start to search, of course, and this is extremely easy. There's no need to open a dialog box, just start typing and the screen updates immediately, displaying only matching files and highlighting every occurrence of your keyword.

The search text can include operators like AND, OR, NOT, and the * wildcard, providing a little more power. And you can define a path mask which restricts your searches to particular files (main*.html NOT .html.old , say).

If you prefer to use the mouse, then holding down Shift while you click a word will search for it immediately. Or right-clicking a word leaves your current display as it is, and opens a pane on the right hand side with the results of your search.

And if you need to keep track of the various items you've found, that's not a problem. Locations within any file can be bookmarked for easy recall later.

At some point you may want to edit a file, of course, and life isn't quite so convenient here: unlike its commercial big brother, Depeche View Lite doesn't have an integrated text editor. Just pressing Ctrl+E at any point will open the current file in Notepad, though, and you can customise this to have the program use whatever editor you like (Settings > Options > Search, Edit).

Version 1.6.3 changes:
-  fix: line match mode: missing update of all views
        after line selection from filter view.
-  add: command line options:
        -find  "the text"    to find text instantly after startup
        -sfind "the\qtext\q" to find a string using slash patterns
        -path  "foo\src"     to set  path instantly on startup
        -spath "foo\\src"    to set  path using slash patterns
        -tab n               to set tab size n

Verdict

Depeche View Lite is an interesting text search tool, with plenty of time-saving features. The interface is quirky, though, so expect to spend an hour or two exploring before you even begin to understand how everything works