Notepad++ is a free powerful text editor and source code editor. It is a replacement for Notepad. It is being developed for Microsoft Windows environment.It uses powerful editing component Scintilla. Notepad++ is written in C++ and uses Windows 32 API, code has been optimised, that is the reason the installed size of the program has a very small footprint. It is governed by the GNU General Public license.Notepad++ was created by Don Ho. First version of the software program was released in 2003.It supports around 80 programming languages. I am only going to discuss functionalities of Notepad++ which are useful for all. If you are a programmer, you should visit official user manual site for excellent Notepad++ Tutorial. This Notepad++ tutorial created for non-programmers in mind.
There are three sections under this topic.
Notepad++ Free Download
Please visit Notepad++ Free download site, choose your version. While writing the post, the latest version was 8.4.4. There are two relevant sections in the download page, first Notepad ++ “Download 64-bit x64” and second is Notepad++ “Download 32-bit x86”.
Based on your operating system choose 64-bit or 32-bit installer. Each of the two sections has 4 items.
* Installer (Windows Installer executable file)
* Portable (zip)
* Portable (7z)
* Mini-Portable (7z)
Standalone Notepad++ Installation
* Download zip or 7z version of installer from download page
* Create a New Folder
* Unzip zip or 7z version of downloaded file in new folder using an unzip program on your computer.
* Double click on notepad++.exe file to run the program.
This option is only advisable, in case you are looking to try the Notepad++ functionality before install.It is highly recommended to install Notepad++ from the installer.
Install Notepad++ using installer
* Download installer (64bit or 32 bit) based on your operating system.
* Run the installation file and follow the instructions.
* If you are not logged in as an administrator account, installer may prompt for administrator credentials.
* If a previous version of Notepad++ is installed, the installer will remove that but it will save the existing configurations.
* Installation will create a shortcut for Notepad++ at desktop.
* After successful installation, when you right click on any file,in the menu. you will see an entry for “Edit with Notepad”.
Making Notepad++ default editor for text(.txt) files
* My operating system is Windows 10.
* To check your version of Windows, go to the command prompt(cmd) and type “winver” and enter.You will get your version of Windows.
* Following step should work on all version of Windows
* Right click on any text file. Text file has extension “.txt”.
* Choose “Open With”
* It will show programs registered with .txt file extensions.
* On my computer, Notepad and Wordpad are registered with the .txt extension.
* click on “choose another app”
* choose option “Always use this option to open .txt files”.
* Click on “More Apps”
* Scroll down to the bottom of the window and you may get an option “Look for another app on this PC”.
* Click on the link “Look For another app on this PC”.
* Windows File explorer will open.
* Browse to the Folder where “Notepad++” is installed.In my computer it is installed in C:\Program Files\Notepadplusplus folder.
* Select “notepad++.exe” and click “Open”
* You are all set, you may see now files with .txt extension has icon of Notepad++
* Double Click on any .txt file, now it will open with Notepad++
Useful Feature of Notepad++ for all
Although Notepad++ is a powerful source code editor having support of around 80 programming languages, it has many functionalities everyone can use.I am not a programmer anymore but as a webmaster and system admin,I modify configuration files and source files as needed.
When you open a new file in Notepad++, it opens in a new tab. You can switch between the tabs easily.
Session is a set of files opened in Notepad++.There is a default session when you are working with Notepad++. You may save a session and open a session as well.To save a session, go to, “File” menu, look for “Save Session”. Choose a path and filename and your session is saved. Similarly, you may open a closed session as well. When you close Notepad++ and open it next time, all files saved in the default session get opened.Settings of default session are configurable. Go to “Settings” –> “Preferences” –> “backup” and you can see or modify default session settings.
“Column Mode” and “Column Editor”
his is an excellent feature not found in most text editors. Relevant menu can be found under “Edit” menu.There is an excellent tutorial about it, please visit tutorial link.
A word wrap is a feature which automatically adjusts lines of text to fit within the page margins. Words exceeding the margins are set to begin on a new line. It’s important to understand that word-wrap doesn’t add an end of line character when moving to the next line. Typically to add a new line character you need to press enter on the keyboard. By default editor has word wrap not enabled, Go to “views” and click “word-wrap” to toggle between activating or deactivating it.
White space,Tab,New line character and word wrap characters are hidden characters. You may enable or disable using the menu “view”–> “Show Symbol”. It is a helpful feature of Notepad++. A use case may be you want to see all White spaces and Tabs in your document, to differentiate between white spaces and tabs.
Search and Replace
Under the “Search” menu there are a lot of sub menus, most of them are shortcut to some features or the others. For tutorial purposes, I will use the menu item, “Search” — > “Find”.
* First important feature is “count”. Suppose you have a list of top 10000 websites of the world, you are interested in finding how many of them are .in domains, You should enter “.in” in “Find What”, choose “Search Mode” as normal and click count. It will give you info about numbers of entries that matched the string.
* Second important feature is “Find All in Current Document”. Enter the string you want to search for in the “Find What” text box, choose Search Mode “Normal” and click “Find All in Current Document”. Results will be listed in a new Window below the opened document. You can copy the search result and save it as well.
* “Match Whole word only” text box, so “in” won’t be matched in word “information”.
* Search Mode “Extended”, has a few options for everyone. “\n” – the Line Feed control character LF, “\r” – Carriage Return control character CR, “\t” – Tab control character. Play with it, you would appreciate the feature.
* “Wrap around” option – By default the search would start from cursor position, till end of document. When you choose “Wrap Around”, search will go to the end of file then from beginning of file to cursor position.
* “Backward direction” option – search will go from cursor position to beginning of document.
* “Regular Expression” search mode – This is for advanced users. If you are looking to master this feature, please visit regular expression tutorial site.
*”Replace” functionality – You may go to replace the window by clicking, “Search”–> “Find” –> “Replace” or “search”–> “Replace”.
* Replace options work the same as find options, the only difference is that it doesn’t just find the string but replace it as well.
Useful Notepad++ plugins for all
There are many useful plugins available for Notepad++ which extends its functionality. There are a couple of them which are useful for all.
Go to menu item “Plugins”–> “Plugins Admin”. There are three tabs in Window that opened.First is “Available”, Second is “Updates” and third is “Installed”. Go to the “Installed” tab and view all installed plugins. By Default, there are three installed plugins that come installed, they are “Mime tools”,”Npp Converter” and “NppExport”. To install a plugin, visit the “Available” tab, select a plugin by clicking on the checkbox then click on the “Install” button. Notepad++ will ask you for confirmation, after that plugin will get installed and Notepad++ will be restarted. If you are not an administrator, it will ask for admin credentials for installation.
This plugin,automatically save the currently open files based on a timer schedule and/or upon the application losing focus.
The plugin offers several options to save the current (or all the files), selecting only the named ones, accessible through an options dialog box. To install “AutoSave” plugin, visit “Plugins”–> “Plugins Admin” –> Available , search for “AutoSave” and choose it by clicking to the text box for the plugin and follow the instructions in “Installing Plugins” section above. Once the “Autosave” plugin is installed , Go to “Plugins” –> “AutoSave”, hover on the “Autosave” menu, it will show you “Options”. I recommend you select Check Box, “Auto Save when” , “At time intervals every 10 minutes”.
If you are looking to use Notepad++ for text editing, having a dictionary for your language is a must. DspellCheck stands for “Decent Spell Check”. For installation, Go to “Plugin Admin” as stated above and search for “DspellCheck”, install the plugin. After your Notepad++ restart, the plugin would be installed.
Now, you need to add at least one dictionary to use the feature.
To install a dictionary, please visit “Plugins”–>”DspellCheck”–> “Settings”–> Then click on the “Download” button. It will give you a list of languages available in the dictionary. Choose a language you would want to use. It will download the dictionary for the language you have selected.In case, you have multiple languages installed, You may select a language for editing. To choose a language, please visit the menu, “Plugins”–>”DspellCheck”–>”Change current language”.
As a webmaster, I need to modify configuration files, source files etc at the hosting server. If you are comfortable with editing files using an editor like “vi”,you can always do so by SSH login. I am more comfortable editing the file in Notepad++ and transferring to a hosting account. You may achieve it by an FTP client as well.Using FTP client is a multi step process, first you need to download the files you want to edit, second you need to edit the file and third you need to upload the file. NppFTP automates the process. After you configure FTP settings in NppFTP, you can directly open a file from the hosting server to Notepad++, edit it and save it on the hosting server. Install “NppFTP” as suggested above. For configuring and using FTP settings in NppFTP, you may read developer documentation by visiting the link.
Summary : Notepad++ is an excellent free alternative of Notepad for all.This post is written for non-programmer in mind.If you found the info useful, please share it on social media, social media links are below the post.