Is there a way in Notepad++ to convert a comma-separated file to fixed width columns?

This feature exists in UltraEdit and explained in Working with CSV files, but I am happy with my Notepad++, and I don't want to pay for a copy of UltraEdit.

4 Answers 4


Use the built in TextFX menu.

TextFX -> TextFX Edit -> Line up multiple lines by (,)

I didn't discover this on my own, I found it on sourceforge while trying to figure out this exact question!

  • 2
    Nice but "Out of memory" for 15k rows. Feb 9, 2015 at 15:38
  • 1
    also it adds spaces to the file :-(
    – Radek
    Jul 15, 2015 at 0:23
  • 1
    Radek if you want to split line, there is a feature just above in the menu called "split lines at..."
    – JinSnow
    Aug 10, 2015 at 19:13
  • 4
    Note that as of Notepad++ v7, you have to install the TextFx Characters plugin using Plugin Manager.
    – E-Riz
    Oct 13, 2016 at 20:33
  • 1
    TextFX doesn't seem to be available for NPP 64bit Aug 28, 2018 at 15:06

In the meantime I have just found a very nice tool for that. It's called CSVed and available here, with many many nice features. If you hate Excel when viewing CSV files like I do, you should give it a try.


For TSV files (tab separated) and newer Notepad++ release (either x86 or x64) the plugin Elastic Tabs is very helpful for this. I have it configured for .tsv files and it works like a charm.

Another plugin that maybe helpful in conjunction is CSV Lint, but didn't had the need for it yet. It features conversion between CSV comma, CSV semicolon and TSV formats.


Yes, it's possible in Notepad: menu Edit -> Replace... -> ReplaceAll ',' by '\t'.

  • 6
    -1. Converting it into a TAB separated format does not make it a fixed width column format. Feb 15, 2014 at 18:50
  • 3
    Literally using "\t" does not work, neither in Notepad or Notepad++. It is always a challenge to use a TAB character in a dialog. A common work-around is to enter a TAB character in a document, put it into the clipboard by a cut (Ctrl + X) and pasting it into the field in the replace dialog. Feb 15, 2014 at 18:55
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    OK, in Notepad++, selecting the option "Extended (\n, \r, \t, \0, \x)" makes it work. Feb 15, 2014 at 19:09
  • TextFX -> TextFX Edit -> "split lines at..."
    – JinSnow
    Aug 10, 2015 at 19:15
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    @PeterMortensen It doesn't work unless your tab size is longer than (length of longest entry in column) - (length of shortest in column). E.g., if your tab size is 4, your longest line is 20, and your shortest line is 5. That, a very common use case, will still result in an uneven file.
    – jpmc26
    Aug 10, 2016 at 0:17

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