Add “Open with Notepad++” to the Right-Click Menu

Many users have replaced Notepad with Notepad++ as the default text editor on their computers. Others use Notepad++ only when needed, and launch it via the Open with menu and choose Notepad++ from the list of options.

This post tells you how to add the Open with Notepad++ command to the right-click menu for text files in Windows. This tip is especially helpful for those who use the Notepad++ portable copy.

Add “Open with Notepad++” to the right-click menu

  1. Download to a folder, and unzip it.
  2. Run the appropriate .reg file (Windows 32-bit vs. 64-bit) by double-clicking on it.
  3. Click Yes when asked for confirmation.
    This adds the Open with Notepad++ context menu option for all file types.

    Notepad++ right-click menu in Windows

Path to Notepad++.exe

Note that the .reg file above assumes the following default paths for Notepad++.

Notepad 32-bit on Windows 32-bit:
C:\Program Files\Notepad++\notepad++.exe

Notepad 32-bit on Windows 64-bit:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe

Notepad 64-bit on Windows 64-bit:
C:\Program Files\Notepad++\notepad++.exe

If you have Notepad++ located in another directory, you need to edit the .reg file and update the correct path to notepad++.exe. Alternatively, you can apply the original .reg file and then edit the registry to update the path for notepad++.exe. The registry edit method is provided below.

Using the Registry Editor (Option 2)

To manually add the Notepad++ to the right-click menu using the Registry Editor, follow these steps:

  1. Start the Registry Editor (regedit.exe).
  2. Go to the following key:
  3. Create a subkey underneath, and name it as Open with Notepad++
    The key name you type here will show up in the right-click menu. You may also use Edit with Notepad++ if you so prefer.
  4. Under Open with Notepad++, create a subkey named command
  5. With the command key selected, double-click the (default) value in the right pane.
  6. Type the full path to Notepad++.exe, followed by a %1 with double-quotes.
    Notepad++ right-click menu in Windows

    "C:\Program Files\Notepad++\notepad++.exe" "%1"
    "D:\Portables\Notepad++\notepad++.exe" "%1"
  7. Optionally, you can assign an icon for the context menu item. To do so, select this parent key:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\shell\Open with Notepad++
  8. In the right pane, create a String value (REG_SZ) named Icon
  9. Double-click Icon and assign a .ico file or point it to a resource that contains a valid icon.
  10. To use Notepad++ ‘s official icon, assign this value data:
    C:\Program Files\Notepad++\notepad++.exe,0
    C:\Program Files\Notepad++\notepad++.exe,1

    Notepad++ right-click menu in Windows

    Of course, you’ll need to type the actual path to notepad++.exe on your computer.

    Tip: You can use any other valid icon index inside you’d like. To view the list of icons in a .exe file and know the icon index # of your preferred icon, see section Icons From DLL/EXE Files in the article How to Change the Default Icon for a File Type in Windows?

Is Notepad++ missing in Open with dialog?

After installing the Notepad++ 64-bit version, the program’s icon may not show up in the “Open with” context menu or Open with dialog.

When you right-click on any file and go to Open With → Choose default program

In the resulting dialog with suggested applications, Notepad++ may not be listed. Even though you browse for Notepad++, locate, and select notepad++.exe, the dialog still may not show Notepad++, and you can’t open a file with Notepad++.

To resolve the issue, you have two options:

  • Re-register Notepad++ with Open With dialog using the OpenWithAdd utility. (or)
  • Start the Registry Editor (regedit.exe), go to the following key and fix the path to notepad++.exe manually:

I hope you find the context menu addition useful and a little bit easier to access than using the Open with menu.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

16 thoughts on “Add “Open with Notepad++” to the Right-Click Menu”

  1. Windows 32-bit:
    C:\Program Files\Notepad++\notepad++.exe

    Windows 64-bit:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe

    The above seem to have got reversed.
    It is (x86) for 32-bit and no (x86) for 32 bit

    • @VS Rawat: What was meant in the article is that, in Windows 64-bit edition, Notepad++ (32-bit) is present in the x86 folder.

    • In the .zip file I downloaded 4/13/20, the batch files were mis-named: the file ending “-x64.reg” provides paths to “Program Files (x86)”, while the file whose name ends in “-x86.reg” provides paths to “Program Files”.

      Also, the folder for later versions of Notepad++ (mine is 6.9.2) is “NotepadPlusPlus” rather than the older “Notepad++”. The executable name is still “Notepad++.exe”.


  2. The above steps do work if you are administrator of your computer…
    But if you are a standard user with no administrative rights, you can have the same result by creating the same keys in the following registry location:

    For example:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\*\shell\Open with Notepad++]
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\*\shell\Open with Notepad++\command]
    @="C:\\Users\\MYUSER\\AppData\\Local\\Notepad++\\notepad++.exe \"%1\""
  3. The above insructions fail to take into account the usage of the native 64 bit version of Notepad++ on 64 bit Windows systems. For that situation you should use the x86 registry file since it points to the correct location for Notepad++ 64 bit on a 64 bit system (I know it sounds odd, but given that Windows 64 bit likes to put 64 bit programs in ‘C:\Program Files\’ and 32 bit programs in ‘C:\Program files (x86)\’ it just happens to workout that the reg file for 32 bit Notepad++ on 32 bit Windows has the correct path specified in it for use with the 64 bit version of Notepad++ as well.


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