Add “Open with Notepad++” to the Right-click Menu in Windows


Many users have replaced Notepad with Notepad++ as the default text editor on their computers. Those who haven’t completely replaced Notepad but use Notepad++ only when needed, usually 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 Notepad++ portable edition.

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

Download to a folder, and unzip it. Run the appropriate .reg file (Windows 32-bit vs 64-bit) by double-clicking on it. 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 assume the following default paths for Notepad++.

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

Windows 64-bit:
C:\Program Files (x86)\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. Alternately, you can apply the original .reg file and then edit the registry to update the path for notepad++.exe. Registry edit method is provided below.

Using the Registry Editor

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 an .ico file or point it to a resource which 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 an .exe file and know the icon index # of your preferred icon, see section Icons From DLL/EXE Files in article How to Change the Default Icon for a File Type in Windows?.

Hope you find the Open with Notepad++ context menu useful and a little bit more easier to access than using the Open with menu.


About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in Windows — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP (2003-2012) who contributes to various Windows support forums.

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