I got an e-book reader a few months ago, and I finally figured out why it doesn't display .txt files correctly. It doesn't like ANSI. It has no problem with the other 3 types of coding notepad provides.

For a reason I chose UTF-8 and decoded all the .txt files I have on it (we are talking thousands of small but important documents). They work correctly and now I pay attention to save in UTF-8, but I know myself, I know that at some point I will forget it, and save in the default ANSI.

So the question after the small novel: Is there any way to change the default coding when saving a newly opened notepad? (Win 7)

I know about the way to change the default when opening a previously created .txt file but it's a pain to always create the new document first.


2 Answers 2


Trying to offer a clear on-site answer:

  1. Right click on Desktop, then choose New > Text Document
  2. A text file New Text Document.txt is created. Don't type anything and open it.
  3. Go to File > Save As... and choose UTF-8 under Encoding:, press Save and overwrite the existing file. Close the file.
  4. Rename New Text Document.txt to TXTUTF-8.txt
  5. Copy "TXTUTF-8.txt" to C:\WINDOWS\SHELLNEW
  6. Go to Start > Run... and type regedit and press ok
  7. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.txt\ShellNew
  8. Right click in the right window > New > String Value and rename it to FileName
  9. Double click on FileName and put TXTUTF-8.txt into Value data: field and press ok

The flaw of this solution is that whenever you want to open a blank utf-8 txt document you will have to right click > New > Text Document and work from there.

Remember: Modifying the registry is dangerous! Use at your own risk.


  • 4
    Don't do it -- you'll save yourself some headaches down the road. Notepad technically saves the file using UTF-8 Signature encoding, not plain UTF-8, which adds an extra marker to the file that shows up as strange symbols in some programs like ExamDiff and can lead to unexpected results in some CSV importers, etc.
    – thdoan
    Apr 11, 2017 at 12:30
  • 1
    You saved me from a big problem that hurt me for years. I feel like to create a file every day !!! :-D Sep 4, 2018 at 19:29
  • 1
    @thdoan, I believe that headaches do exist because Notepad's programmers failed to recognize that utf8 is more useful than the default ANSI for most of users. If you are a programmer and need a CVS importer, you know what to do beforehand. Don't forget, default ANSI does not supports well other languages except latin. Sep 20, 2018 at 9:59
  • Honestly, @thdoan, UTF-8 with (not actually a) "BOM" is fine as long as you're using modern programs, it only really breaks with older programs that can't recognise the UTF-8 signature and think it's part of the data (or in the extremely rare case where that signature is actually the first three bytes of a file that's supposed to be ANSI). ...It does waste 3 bytes during network transmission, but that's mainly because the sender can specify encoding without needing an in-file signature. Jan 23, 2019 at 5:14
  • @MehdiDehghani, Probably you did something wrong. Please, read again, apply with the new knowledge you acquired and come back with a useful comment so we can help your confusion out. Also, the OP hasn't been seen since Mar 27 '13 at 0:25, my answer was 2 years later. That's the reason it is not marked as a solution. The credits however belong to Mariyan, whose link in his answer does not work anymore. Jun 11, 2019 at 10:18

This here is a pretty good explanation for how to change your default encoding to UTF-8. You will need to touch the registry files though.

Personally I wouldn't bother with it. Just download Notepad++. It's free, awesome and defaults to UTF-8.

  • 2
    Notepad2 or Notepad2-mod are more lightweight. They all support set default character set encoding, and even support open 7-bit ASCII file in UTF-8 mode. Feb 25, 2013 at 10:18
  • Yes this is the one that only works if I previously create the .txt file. I know Notepad++ but I like the basic notepad's minimalistness, it doesn't use a lit of memory, and for what I need it works fine. Except for this thing...
    – Emma
    Feb 25, 2013 at 10:25
  • 2
    In this case just follow the guide and you are good to go. Notepad++ is not at all resource heavy. It's actually the opposite.
    – Mariyan
    Feb 25, 2013 at 10:39
  • Unfortunately the Microsoft link doesn't work anymore. I wonder if superuser.com/a/872848/74576 has the same information.
    – Ryan
    Aug 19, 2016 at 19:09
  • @Ryan, I know it is late, but in case anybody looks for the info this link had, can look on my answer instead. Jun 11, 2019 at 10:20

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