I want Notepad++ to be tabbed (like it is by default) when I use the Edit with Notepad++ context menu in explorer, but open in a new window without tabs (similar to Notepad/Notepad2) when I simply Open certain file extensions. If this could be done in a context menu item other than Open, that would be good too.

Notepad2 is good, but I would like the exact functionality of Notepad++ for untabbed windows (The way it highlights all instances of the selected word, keyboard shortcuts, etc.). Adding asNotepad.xml to the Notepad++ folder will make it open in a new window each time, but I want to be able to open tabbed windows at the same time.

Using "C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe" -multiInst -notabbar -nosession <text file> in cmd (which can easily be modified to put in a context menu, or possibly to work with "Open") will open Notepad++ in a new window without a tab bar. This seems good at first, but with this window still open, using Edit with Notepad++ on any file will open it in this untabbed window.

  • Passing parameters to it worked? If so, you can edit the registry enter which is responsible for opening N++ when you click "Edit with N++". Here's how stackoverflow.com/questions/9379120/… – Alex Mar 13 '13 at 11:37
  • That doesn't answer my question but thanks, that's useful to know. – Zantier Mar 13 '13 at 11:53
  • 1
    You could try to install two different versions of N++ in two different locations and use that registry enter to open one of them and the double click to open a different version. That's just a workaround, though. You could set both versions to store config and personal files in the same folder so you don't lose data when moving form one window to another. Just make sure you uncheck "autoupdate". – Alex Mar 13 '13 at 11:56
  • This won't solve your problem, but as a workaround, you could always use the Move to New Instance option once it opens in the tabbed view. – Roney Michael Mar 13 '13 at 11:59
  • @user117893 I downloaded the zipped version of Notepad++ 6.2.3 (while I have 6.3 installed). I opened a text file with the downloaded version: notepad++.exe -multiInst -notabbar -nosession <text file>, and then when I opened a different file with Edit with Notepad++, it opened within the same window. I hope it's obvious that having 2 files open in the same window with no tab bar isn't ideal! I had the same result when trying with several versions of Notepad++. – Zantier Mar 13 '13 at 13:55

There doesn't seem to be a trivial solution, so I've went with using 2 copies of Notepad++:

  • (tabbed copy) Notepad++ 6.3 installation for opening files in tabs
  • (untabbed copy) Notepad++ 6.3 compiled from source with a couple of hacky tweaks for opening files in new windows (untabbed).

Without the tweaks to the untabbed copy of Notepad++, files won't always open in the copy of Notepad++ that you would expect. I'm sorry if editing source files isn't suitable for superuser, but I hope this will be useful for somebody.

Compiling the untabbed copy

The source code readme recommends compiling in Visual Studio 2005, but it compiled fine for me in Visual C++ 2010 Express (free from Microsoft - http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/downloads#d-2010-express).

Simply open npp.6.3.src\PowerEditor\visual.net\notepadPlus.vcproj (and convert the project if it asks you) and choose to build "Unicode Release". You can now test that it builds correctly:

enter image description here

This will place notepad++.exe in PowerEditor\bin, but you will need a copy of SciLexer.dll in the same directory before it will run. This comes with Notepad++, so simply download it from the site. Also create an empty text file "asNotepad.xml" in the same directory, which will make it untabbed and open files in new windows.


In winmain.cpp, on line 214, change "nppInstance" to "nppInstance2", or similar. With this changed, the tabbed copy of Notepad++ will not think that a Notepad++ window is already open when you only have untabbed windows open.

In Notepad_plus_Window.cpp, on line 32, change "Notepad++" to "Notepad++2" or similar. This is used in winmain.cpp on line 287. With this changed, the tabbed version will not include the untabbed windows when it is searching for currently open windows to open the file in.

Now build again, and move the PowerEditor\bin folder to wherever you like. If you wish the untabbed copy to open when you open certain file extensions (such as .txt), in Windows 7 I found that I had to rename "notepad++.exe" to "notepad++2.exe", otherwise it would open the installed (tabbed) copy.


If you compiled from source and want the plugins menu, you also need to copy DLLs into the plugins folder from another copy of Notepad++.


One solution would be to use the "Send To" facility in Windows.

Put a shortcut to Notepad++ in the %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo folder

(This is usually in C:\Users\<username>\Appdata\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo)

Right click on the shortcut, select properties and go to the shortcut tab.

Use "C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe" -multiInst -notabbar -nosession in the Target field.

Now right-click on a file and Send To -> Notepad++ will open the file untabbed in Notepad++.

As the -notabbar flag currently seems to force Notepad++ to save it's settings, you should set up 2 shortcuts within SendTo:

One pointing at the standard installed version of Notepad++ called "Notepad++ Tabbed" (with the flags -multiInst -nosession appended to the end of the target field)

One (with -multiInst -nosession -notabbar appended to the target field) pointing at the zipped version of the program, called "Notepad++ Untabbed".

As long as both shortcuts have the -multiInst flag added, they can be run at the same time and you have FULL control over which version opens which document.

  • Thanks for the effort, Balthus, but with the tabbed Notepad++.exe opening with the -multiInst flag, files will open in a new window each time rather than in a new tab. – Zantier Mar 13 '13 at 16:19

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