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When trying to edit .html files on Windows XP, they open up in MS Word. Is there any reason that this is the default rather than something that is more lightweight and only deals with plain text and doesn't insert any sort of formatting/complex objects (such as Notepad)? Does Word really provide any extra benefit to editing .html files?

On a related note - how can this setting be changed to use something like Notepad, Wordpad, Notepad++, etc?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Windows itself doesn't set that association, Office does when it's installed. The reason, I suppose, is that Microsoft intended to make it so that editing HTML files was easier for 'regular people', and Word can (sort of) achieve that.

To change the 'Edit' association, you'll need to go into Windows's file types settings:

  1. Open any folder in Explorer (My Computer, for example)
  2. Go to Tools > Folder Options
  3. Go to the File Types tab
  4. Scroll to and then highlight HTM and/or HTML (you can just tap H on the keyboard probably)
  5. Click the Advanced button
  6. In the Edit File Type window, you will see 'Edit' listed under actions; make sure this is highlighted, and then click the Edit button

    (added). If 'edit' is not listed, then add it via the new button. 'edit', no caps.

  7. In the action editing window, first untick 'Use DDE'
  8. Then, in the 'Application used to perform action' field, change the application path to the application you want to use. Leave the %1 at the end alone. So, for example, to change it to Notepad, you can do: "C:\Windows\notepad.exe" %1
  9. Click OK, OK, OK
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+1 I would suggest Notepad++ over Notepad for editing html files. –  Ganesh R. Oct 26 '11 at 6:10
@GaneshR. I would too, but Notepad is at least installed on any Windows default installation, and works as an HTML editor. I'm sure lots of people have their own preferred text file editor, though. –  Ben Richards Feb 5 '13 at 18:44

This doesn't work in Windows 7 because there is no longer a File Types tab in the Folder Options. You can change the default program through the control panel, but not any of the other context menu options, unless you edit registry keys.

The Microsoft Approved way to do this is (and should also be in Windows XP):

  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. Type Alt+T, and select Internet Options from the menu.
  3. Select the Programs tab
  4. Select from the dropdown "HTML editing", change this from Microsoft Word to another editor.
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The user was using Windows XP so the accepted answer is 100% correct in that context. Furthermore some of this answer seems like a comment best to leave that out. –  Ramhound Feb 5 '13 at 20:02
Thankx for providing information for windows 7. –  Ratna Feb 15 '14 at 11:22

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