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With Microsoft Word, I regularly wait 2 full seconds () to go from the Table of contents to the document paragraph. The software feels slow in general. I prefer Notepad++, but it doesn't do automatic Table of Content, as far as I understand, nor rich editing (by which I mean: Heading 1 / Heading 2 etc formatting, colors, etc).

Does anyone know of a fast rich text editor to replace Microsoft Word?

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I can't recommend anything.. but have you tried LibreOffice or OpenOffice? Or maybe it is due to your computer being fairly slow? Have you tried doing what you do on a different computer? –  Darius Oct 9 '13 at 5:47
    
@Darius I have Windows XP on a Intel Core i5 CPU, M 560 @ 2.67GHz, 3 GB of RAM; I don't think it is slow (Notepad++ is very fast for example; I understand it's lighter but I don't need so many features: just automatic Table of Content mostly). –  tucson Oct 9 '13 at 8:24

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Personally, I really like LaTeX. However I also know there's a lot of people who don't like it since it's not a WYSIWYG editor. If you want to try LaTeX but stick to the WYSIWYG philosophy, maybe try LyX. LyX somewhat limits LaTeX in what it's capable of (in my opinion), but it's a good starting point...

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You could stay with Notepad++ and use Markdown plus Pandoc.

Markdown WYSIWYG editing can be done via Stackedit.

Notepad++ is restricted to edit pure text files without formatting and layout. However, if you edit page description languages like HTML, LaTeX or Markdown, you get a properly layouted document in the end. But it takes an additional rendering step.

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Thanks. Can you confirm which one of these tools can generate an automatic Table of Content (based on pre-specified headings)? –  tucson Oct 9 '13 at 8:29
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Markdown needs an external extension for ToC: stackoverflow.com/questions/9721944/… In LaTeX ToC is available right away. texblog.org/2013/04/29/… –  Axel Kemper Oct 9 '13 at 9:09
    
Thank you for the link to the blog. Very useful. –  tucson Oct 9 '13 at 9:29

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