For some reason the font size Notepad++ uses to render tab fonts suddenly became huge:

huge tab fonts

There are settings for it in Settings -> Style Configurator -> Global Styles -> Active tab text and Inactive tabs, but for some reason changing this setting has no effect. There is nothing suggesting that this setting or any related changed inside Notepad++ (and I sure didn't do it deliberately). Perhaps the IT department pushed out some new Windows 10 font setting (not otherwise visible in the system)? If so: how can I tell what setting to revert? Everything I've found on Windows 10 Professional's font settings has a size of 9, so it seems like a long-shot.

Edit: I just reinstalled Notepad++, after having wiped all npp data, but without any visual effect (the font size in the tabs is still huge). I still suspect our IT department to have pushed some Windows 10 font setting.

  • tried reinstalling it with all your saved data in the backup?
    – user421696
    May 23, 2017 at 9:03

5 Answers 5


Some text fonts too large

Need to go to Control Panel > Fonts > Font Settings > Restore default font settings. Click the button. Restart machine.

Hope it works

  • 1
    First time I see an accepted answer with a negative rating ;))
    – jav
    Apr 27, 2022 at 14:28

Under Settings > Preferences,

general settings, on the right side ensure Reduce is ticked? Un-ticking this option makes my text on the tab bar larger.

  • This was checked and has a little effect when checked/unchecked, but mainly the icon becomes larger. When unchecked the fonts are very pixlated, looks like Courier New 10 rendered to a 20px height... May 23, 2017 at 9:46

As I noted here, you can do this via the prehistoric—but still essentially functional—Windows font substitution mechanism. Visit the following registry key:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\FontSubstitutes

With font substitution registry entries, the font name that the (legacy) application wants to "look-up" is matched with the name of a registry key, that is, on the left side of the registry editor display. The name of the "substitute" font that Windows will actually return back to the requesting application is the respective value, on the right side.

enter image description here

In the case of Notepad++, the first font lookup that it issues is for "MS Shell Dlg." Checking the corresponding subkey in my registry, I saw that the existing value of that key referenced a sad font that I knew I didn't want anyway. So I wasn't too worried about making a system-wide change that would point away from it.

You can experiment with the font of your choice here. I was satisfied using Arial Unicode MS (also from the 90s, and shipped in Windows by default, so don't specify it if you don't have it). You might want to try one of the specialized UI fonts, such as Segoe UI or Calibri, or perhaps the appealing clarity of Tahoma.

Beyond just altering the existing keys, you can create new key/values pairs as needed to further control Windows font substitution. It is a crude mechanism by today's standards, for example because the configured mapping affects all apps globally. Fortunately, most modern apps don't pay much attention to this clumsy, but often helpful, system of coercive subterfuge. There are also many other interesting font-related settings amongst the immediate neighbors in the registry to explore.


I just noticed this same thing happen (tab font size became huge) right after I installed Visual Studio Code (Microsoft). I had tried to uninstall/reinstall Notepad++ several times, rebooted, etc., but the tab font size stayed huge.

After I uninstalled Visual Studio Code, and reinstalled Notepad++ for the 3rd time, the tab font size returned to normal. When I reinstalled Visual Studio Code, the tab font size in Notepad++ remained normal.

So, something weird must have happened when I installed VSC the first time around? Anyways, if you suddenly notice this problem, think of any programs you may have recently installed and see if uninstalling them fixes the issue. You may need to uninstall/reinstall Notepad++ to make it work.

  • I'm not sure this solves the issue; for me it actually comes and goes. I'm unable to come up with a sensible underlying cause. Have you noticed explorer.exe crashing without notice, then coming back up again after a few seconds? That happens to me frequently, and perhaps it correlated in some way. Mar 21, 2018 at 21:48
  • Jonas, I haven't noticed explorer.exe crash. I recently reinstalled Visual Studio Code, with everything else closed down, and the problem did not resurface. It's also possible that I may have undocked/redocked my laptop during that time, so maybe graphics drivers has something to do with it and nothing to do with Visual Studio Code (a coincidence).
    – alexGIS
    May 11, 2018 at 18:59

Tried my best for many days and then I downloaded Notepad++ portable and it is working like no issues is there in my laptop. So it is for sure some settings in original installation which is not being removed even with full unistall and cleanup.

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