Scott Hanselman


May 06, 2004 Comment on this post [9] Posted in Programming | Tools
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I’ve mentioned in a few talks that I long-ago renamed NOTEPAD.exe to N.exe as I have a tendency to “Windows-R, N, Enter” and I wanted to save a least a few hundred “otepad’s” a day. 

I’m also a big fan of starting a drag-drop operation, and without releasing the mouse button, doing an ALT-Tab, bringing my app up, and then releasing the mouse button and completing the drag.  A lot of people don’t know you can do this.

Anyway, the point was that Notepad is kind of lame, and hasn’t really changed in a while.  Sure, there’s lots of other Text editors out there, yada yada yada, but really what I want is a better Notepad.  No fancy toolbars, just Notepad++.

Now I’m using Notepad2 by Florian Balmer.  I’ve even renamed it to N.exe.  It’s really very nice.  It has lots of nice features, but here are the ones I care about:

  • Line Numbers
  • Long Line Indicator
  • Show Line Endings (CR vs. CRLF)
  • Transparent Mode (great with Always on Top)
  • Configurable Syntax Highlighting (all the obvious languages included)
  • Brace Matching
  • Zooming with Ctrl+Mousewheel

It’s definitely going on Scott’s Ultimate Tools List

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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May 06, 2004 22:19
Yours is the third or fourth post I've read about this nifty editor, so I guess it's time to try it out. What do you think of it compared to TextPad? I've been using that for years, but I'm ready to try something else. Change is good.

Also, if you're not into changing application names (or the app won't work correctly w/a changed name), you can always make a shortcut to it. I have a "tp" shortcut in my %windir% that points to TextPad. What's nice about this approach is that you can create a folder, put it in your path, and fill it with shortcuts (that have tiny names) pointing to apps all over your drive(s). WinKey+R + [tiny name] and you're off to the races.
May 06, 2004 23:17
Jeff's approach is good, too, since the file associations still work. For instance, there are plenty of filetypes that are associated with Notepad.exe in the registry that I'd rather not have to change.

This is nice, too:

It replaces Notepad in the system protected files.
May 07, 2004 0:05
Notepad2 looks nice. You might take a look at Scintilla Text Editor ( It has all the features claimed by Notepad2, plus multi-tab interface. The configuration system takes some getting used to (it's all file-based, old school INI-style), but it's incredibly flexible. I integrated it with NAnt and used it exclusively as an IDE for .NET development for a few years until my company sprang for VS.
May 07, 2004 0:38
If you want to save a step and skip renaming your file names use this Win Key

With it you can configure your Windows Key to open the programs or execute the line you want. Oh, and it is freeware.

Best Regards,
Luis D.
May 07, 2004 0:46
I am a big fan of "RunFast" (

Which allows you put all of your favorite app right at your finger tips.

Ctrl+R then an alias you need. For me, NotePad2 is just np

May 07, 2004 1:33
You can also use this approach which doesn't require any third party tools to install.

It is a registry mod that lets you specify shortcuts to type in the Run dialog.
May 07, 2004 6:42
I'm ignoring the point of this - which is the better notepad thing - but thought I'd comment about the windows-R n.exe return thing :

what I do, which I think you'll find is preferable, is create a folder in my start menu called Keyboard shortcuts. I then copy shortcuts in there to commonly used programs, and associate a keystroke with them. So, on my machine, the following works:

ctl-alt-C : calculator
ctl-alt-D : dos window
ctl-alt-G : google
ctl-alt-M : media player
ctl-alt-N : notepad
ctl-alt-Q : control panel
ctl-alt-O : outlook

I think you'll find that much easier than renaming things!
May 10, 2004 12:08
To continue the drag'n'drop bit (though I'm sure most people know this) you can also hover over taskbar items to restore the window, and in Explorer you can hover over directories in the tree viw to expand them.
December 07, 2005 4:31
If you like Notepad2, just try Notepad++ - you'll love it.


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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.