How to edit text documents and code on your Android phone

Sometimes you need to create or edit text files or code on the go. What do you need on your Android phone to enable plain text editing? These free apps edit text documents on your phone.

Although long documents are best created in a word processor, sometimes you need plain text without all the formatting information stored in a Word document. This is especially true if you want to copy and paste the text into a web page, such as in WordPress or other CMS.

Some people need to inspect, edit or create code on the go and you may need to tweak some HTML or CSS on your blog. Programmers may need to edit JavaScript, C, Python, and other programming languages. With the right app on your phone, this is perfectly possible and there are dozens to choose from, but which should you install on your phone?

The apps I look at here here were selected to do a specific job. I needed to edit a plain text file stored on OneDrive. The Microsoft 365 app (which used to be called Office), would only open the file if it was converted to a Word document. I didn’t want a Word doc, just a plain text file and OneDrive and Microsoft 365 couldn’t do it.

I needed a text editor that could load and save to OneDrive on an Android phone. There are lots of code editors, but editing plain text was the main use for me, but some code editing would be useful at times. Here are the apps that piqued my interest in the Google Play Store.

OldSchool Editor: Text Editor

There are two versions of this text and code editor for Android and OldSchool Editor: Text Editor is free, and OldSchool Editor Pro : Coffee costs UK £1.29 (around US $1.50). It’s the same app, same features, and paying is just to say thank you to the developer. Take your pick.

This is a useful app to have on your phone and it has two user interfaces, a modern Android one and a classic one. The Android interface is plain and simple. Swipe right from the left edge and a sidebar appears that contains a long list of functions. There are about 40 menu items, including file operations like opening, saving and printing, edit functions like undo/redo, cut/copy/paste, trim, insert date/time, word wrap on/off, encoding type, autosaving and more.

OldSchool Editor text editor app for Android phone.
Editing code using OldSchool Editor

The classic interface mimics an old-style text editor on a desktop computer and there is a menu bar at the top of the screen with File, Edit, Search, Tools and Options (swipe left/right to see all the menu items). Tap File and you can open, save, save as, and print. The Edit menu has typical edit functions, the View menu has word wrap on/off, word count, and view options, and so on. It’s very retro and like an old DOS app, which I found to be fun on a modern Android phone.

Edit text documents on a phone with OldSchool Editor Android app: Screenshot
The Classic interface for OldSchool Editor

The classic menu is not the way phone apps work, but I like it, maybe because I have spent so much time in text editors on desktop computers. It is just so familiar and easy to use.

At the bottom of the text editing area is another toolbar that contains some common functions. Swiping over it reveals more functions. At the very bottom is a status bar that shows the line number, column, read/write status, encoding and more.

Open the app settings and almost every aspect of the interface can be customized and there is a large number of options. This enables you to change the way it looks and works to suit your preferences.

OldSchool Editor does not have as many features and functions as a desktop text or code editor, but it comes quite close. I was surprised at how good it is for a phone app and you can easily edit text documents and code. It does a lot more than I expected and costs either nothing or the price of a coffee, if you wish to make a donation. It is recommended.

Text Editor

I installed Blaze Wordpad, which is a very nice app that enables you to create documents, enter, format and edit text, and scan in text from printed material. It does not have an Open or Import function, so I could not load text files for editing, which meant it was no use for me wanting to edit text docs and code on OneDrive.

I then installed Text Editor and found it to be the same app from the same developer, with almost identical features, but this version does have an import feature allowing you to edit text documents. You can load text files and code from sources like OneDrive and edit them.

Text Editor app for Android phone.
Text Editor app for Android is a word processor

However, it would not write back to OneDrive. Documents could be exported as plain text files, but they were saved to the phone storage and not the original location. Using the Samsung My Files app (other Android phones may have a similar app) to view local documents, the exported file could then be shared to OneDrive and so saved online. It is not an ideal situation, but you can load, edit and save documents to OneDrive if you need to.

Text Editor app for Android phone export options: Screenshot
Text Editor export options

The app uses its own filing system and recently edited files are shown on the home screen. You can edit a file, create a new one or import one from elsewhere, like OneDrive. Text Editor is more like a word processor than a text and code editor and it has a formatting toolbar with bold, italic, thrikethrough and underline, left, center and right justification, bullets, lists and checkboxes.

I like Text Editor as a simple word processor and it has a good interface, useful features, and is easy to use. It is recommended if you want an easy and lightweight word processor on your phone. It is less good as a code editor or editor for OneDrive text files because it lacks features I need.

QuickEdit Text Editor

QuickEdit Text Editor is a multi-purpose text and code editor. It is available as an ad-supported app or ad-free version costing UK £3.59 (somewhere around US $4.40). The app is good, but the ads irritate and it seems that too many actions trigger an ad. However, it doesn’t cost much to remove them.

QuickEdit text and code editor app for Android phone: Screenshot
QuickEdit text and code editor

The app has some unusual features, like the ability to edit multiple files on tabs and switch between editing plain text and code on tabs. Files can be loaded from the phone’s storage or it can be loaded from places like OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, GitHub, and other storage. Tap a OneDrive file and you have the option to open it in QuickEdit. Save it and it is put back where it came from.

Editing code on an Android phone using QuickEdit app: Screenshot
Using QuickEdit as a code editor

There are enough text editing features to make the app useful for editing text documents. It is geared more towards code editing and it has syntax highlighting, so it color codes dozens of popular programming languages like PHP, Python, Markdown, JavaScript, C/C#/C++, HTML and many more. Line numbers can be shown in the left margin and the current line is highlighted. Regular expressions can be used in searches.

QuickEdit is customizable and there are many options, like default encoding, line numbers on/off, word wrap on/off, auto capitalize, line spacing, theme and more.

This is a decent text editor and code editor for Android phones. The rating in the app store isn’t that high, but mainly because of complaints about the ads. There are a lot, but it doesn’t cost much to remove them.

Jota+ (Text Editor)

Jota+ Text Edior is a useful app that enables you to edit text documents and code on an Android phone. There is a free version that is ad-supported, but for UK £4.09 (about US $4.99) you can go ad-free. It’s not just ads in the free app, there are also some feature limitations too, which may irritate. However, it is inexpensive to hide ads and unlock all features.

Jota text and code editor app for Android phone: Screenshot
Editing text with Jota+ on an Android phone

The app can be used to load text files from the phone’s local storage or online drives like OneDrive (only twice a day for free). Text documents and code can be edited and then saved back to the original location.

There are fewer editing features than with some of the other text editors and the the features are only basic, about on a par with Windows Notepad. The best feature is the ability to open files in tabs (only two for free) and switch between them with a tap.

Editing code on an Android phone with Jota+ app: Screenshot
Editing code on a phone with Jota+

Word wrap can be on or off, line numbers are optional, and regular expressions can be used in search. At the top of the screen is a mini toolbar with cut, copy and paste, and a couple of menus to access a few other functions, like file opening and saving. Another toolbar with common function is available below the text editing area. Load code and it is color coded automatically. I couldn’t see a list of supported languages, but HTML and CSS, and others (not sure how many) are fine.

The number of customization options is good and you can select the font and size, tab width and line spacing, and many more. You can even edit the toolbar.

This is a good text editor that enables you to edit local and online documents and code. The limitations and ads in the free version will irritate, but it won’t cost to hide ads and unlock features.

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