How to Replace Notepad with Notepad++ in Windows 11 (and More)

In this post, you’ll see:

I’m using Windows 11 here. Let’s start.

How to Completely Replace Notepad with Notepad++

Open Run by pressing Windows + R. Type cmd, and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter. You can now see that you’ve opened Command Prompt as an administrator.

Use the following command if your PC runs a 32-bit version:

REG ADD “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\notepad.exe” /v “Debugger” /t REG_SZ /d “\”%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Notepad++\notepad++.exe\” -notepadStyleCmdline -z” /f

If you have a PC that’s version 64-bit, use this command:

REG ADD “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\notepad.exe” /v “Debugger” /t REG_SZ /d “\”%ProgramFiles%\Notepad++\notepad++.exe\” -notepadStyleCmdline -z” /f


To undo this, run the following command at the elevated command prompt.

Here’s the command: REG DELETE “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\notepad.exe” /v “Debugger” /f

That’s it.

Follow these steps to open text files in Notepad++ instead of Notepad. Remember, however, that this applies only to text files.

Here are the steps: If you haven’t already, install Notepad++. Right-click the text file. 

Note: You can create a new text file by right-clicking on a blank space, hovering over New, and hitting Text Document. Hit Enter if you like the suggested name. Otherwise, provide it and press the Enter key. That’s all. Once you’ve created it, right-click it.

Hit “Properties.” Under the General tab, you’ll find the Change button. Please click it. In the popup, select Notepad++. Then hit the OK button. Hit the OK button.

That’s it. Rather than Notepad, from now on, Notepad++ will open all text files.

How to Open Notepad++

Let’s see the different methods to launch Notepad++ first, then the steps to create a shortcut for it.

Method #1

Here are the steps:

  1. Press Windows + R to launch Run Command Box.
  2. Enter cmd and press the Enter key.
  3. In the Command Prompt, type start notepad++ and hit Enter key.

That’s it. You can now see Notepad++.

Method #2

Open Run Command. Enter powershell and hit Enter key. Type in the start notepad++ command in the Windows PowerShell window and press Enter key.

Method #3

In Run, type notepad++ and press Enter key. That’s it. You can also use the above command in the following programs:

  • Task Manager (Click File and then “Run new task” to use this command)

Method #4

Open the Start menu. Notepad++ appears in search results when you type notepad++. Please click it.

Method #5

Open the Start menu. Hit the “All apps” button below the search box. You can find Notepad++ in the N section. Hit it.

Method #6

Open C drive. Open Programs Files folder if you have a PC that’s a 64-bit version. Otherwise, open the Program Files (x86) folder.

Double-click the Notepad++ folder. Double-click the notepad++ file.

Method #7

Double-click on the Notepad++ shortcut on the desktop. If you don’t have that shortcut, you can create one, and the next section will help you with that.


Follow these steps to open a specific file in Notepad++:

Type the following in Command Prompt: start notepad++ “filepath”

Replace the filepath with the actual path to the file. Press the Enter key. Here’s an example: start notepad++ “C:\sample.txt”

Follow these steps to open a file in Notepad++ at a specific line:

Start Command Prompt. Press the Enter key after typing the following command: start notepad++ “filepath” -nX.

Replace filepath with the actual path to the file and X with the desired line number.

How to Create Notepad++ Shortcut

Check out how to add a Notepad++ shortcut to the Windows 11 desktop or “File Explorer.”

Right-click the blank area of “File Explorer” or desktop. Move the mouse over “New.” Please click “Shortcut” under “Folder.”

When a popup box appears, hit the Browse button. Select the notepad++ executable file in the Notepad++ folder, which you can find in Program Files (x86) if your PC is a 32-bit version or Program Files if your PC is a 64-bit version.

Once you’ve selected the file, hit the OK button. Click the Next button. Enter a shortcut name if you dislike the one suggested and click the “Finish” button.

What is Notepad++?

It is a source code and text editor that can create and edit documents. It was created using the C++ programming language.

This program is free, and on the official site, you can download it for your PC. Remember that Notepad++ is far more than other text editors such as Notepad. 

Following are some features and benefits of using Notepad++:

  • The software can handle any file type.
  • The app works on multiple platforms and in different languages.
  • You can create and edit multiple files using the same instance.
  • It’s customizable, with a variety of appearance and behavior options available.
  • Fast and effective search.
  • Besides, it also comes as a portable application that you can use on a device without being installed.

Notepad++ can be an excellent alternative to Notepad since it not only lets you create and edit plain text files but also offers additional functions.

However, I suggest you use Notepad++ instead of Windows Notepad only when the features you need aren’t available in the latter but the former.

How to Open a New Tab in Notepad++

When you open a file in Notepad++, it’ll be displayed in a new tab by default. Here’s how to open a new tab in Notepad++: press Ctrl + N. That’s it.

You can also open a new tab by pressing these keys one by one: Alt, F, N.

To do the same task, follow these steps: Click File in the top left corner. Select the New option.

Alternatively, you can do this by clicking on the first icon from the left.

How to Open or Move a File in a New Instance of Notepad++

Let’s see how to move or open a file in a new instance of Notepad++.

Right-click the file you want to move to a new instance or open in a new instance. The following options are now available: “Move to New Instance” and “Open in New Instance.”

Hit the former to move the file to a new instance. To open the file in a new instance, click the latter.

Alternatively, you can do the same task by clicking View at the top. Hover the mouse over Move/Clone Current Document. To move it to a new instance, select the Move to New Instance option. Please click Open in New Instance to open it in a new instance.


  • You’ll find the above options grayed out if you don’t save your work or have an empty tab.
  • On an empty tab, you need to press Alt + F6 or click Run > Open file in another instance to open a new instance of Notepad++.

That’s all.

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