Microsoft’s default text editor Notepad is not good. Especially for us programmers there is Notepad++. It is the fast pure text editor for programmers. Everytime you need to edit a small script and you don’t want to boot up your big IDE, Notepad++ is the editor to go for.
- It is fast.
- It’s got syntax highlighting for most programming languages.
- It can handle multiple open files in tabs.
Probably you knew this already. But maybe you do not know some of the less known features of Notepad++ which often come in handy for a developer.
Less Known Features of Notepad++
|With Notepad++, you can ….
||With these commands
|change tab to space and vice versa
||Edit/Blank Operations/TAB to Space
|convert end of line
|change the encoding of a file. ANSI, UTF-8, UCS2, …
|encode and decode Base64
|do URL en- and decoding
|convert between ASCII, decimal, hex, binary and octal
|do block indentation and de-indentation
|change all keyboard shortcuts to your preferred ones.
|apply syntax folding on multiple levels
||View/Fold All, Unfold All, Collapse Current Level, Uncollapse Current Level, Collapse Level/1,2,3,4,5,6,7, …
|zoom in and out
||Ctrl-Num+ or Ctrl-Mouse-Wheel-Up
||Edit/Line Operations/Sort Lines…
|record and play macros
||Macro/Start Recording, Macro/Playback
|use a function list
|use the plugin-manager to browse and install from dozens of special plugins that may be helpful for you
||Plugins/Plugin-Manager/Show Plugin Manager
Make Notepad++ Your Default Editor
I’ve associated many file types, including txt, ini, cs, cpp, tcl, bsh and others with Notepad++, so if I double click on such a file, Windows opens it with Notepad++ automatically. You can do this easily in Notepad++ by selecting Settings/Preferences/File Association .
Here, for every extension you want to be associated with Notepad++, do
- Select an entry in the Supported exts column, e.g public script.
- Select the extension you want to be associated with Notepad++ besides.
- Click the arrow right.
Also, I have set Notepad++ as the text editor in Double Commander, so I can open any file in Notepad++ by clicking F4 in Double Commander, completely independent of its extension.
Stuff That Needs Improvement
There are some features in Npp that are meant well, but which need improvement.
A function list is a nice thing for a programmer, no question. A slight pity here is, it doesn’t work too well. I’ve tested it with bash, C++, C# and Tcl.
- It doesn’t work at all with bash, C# and Tcl.
- It doesn’t show constructors and destructors in C++
It is a good idea to build a diff function into a programmer’s editor of course. But pitily, the compare feature in Notepad++ is not mature at all. Ok, you can do a rudimentary comparison of two files. But that seems to be all. And before you do the comparison, you must make sure that the second of the files to compare is zoomed to the default level.
You just can’t compare Notepad++’s compare function to a real comparison tool, like Beyond Compare or WinMerge. (Sorry, this sentence just had to be.)
This post refers to Notepad++ version 6.5.5.