How to Set Notepad++ as Default Editor in Windows

Set Notepad++ Default editor in Windows

Which is the default text editor in Windows? Is it Notepad, WordPad, TextPad, Notepad++, or any other text editor? By default, it is Notepad.

Any text file (*.txt) by default opens in Notepad, right?

Double-click on that file and it opens in the default editor. What if you want to open these files in a different editor?

Let’s say Notepad++.

That should make your editing experience good. Because Notepad++ is a really good text editor. It is free, and fast, and supports plugins to extend it further. You can easily install it on Windows and Linux users you do have a snap package available.

Let’s cover 3 methods using which you can make Notepad++ as the default editor in Windows 10/11. All the methods are super easy and you should be already aware of them. Let’s explore each method in detail.

I created a dummy text file abc.txt which we are going to use for demonstration.

1. Choose default program… feature in Windows to make Notepad++ as default editor

Select the file and right-click on the context menu. Select menu Open with and Choose default program… option.

This option allows you to choose the default program to use the file.

Choose default program

In the Next Window, make sure to Use this app for all *.txt files checkbox is selected. Click the more options link.

use this app for all .txt files

Here you can choose the program using which you want to open the file. In our case it is Notepad++. Select Notpead++ : a free (GNU) source code editor option.

select notepad++

The file gets opened in Notepad++ as shown below.

file opened in Notepad++

This also changes the default program associated with the *.txt file. Next time onwards, whenever you open the .txt file it gets opened in Notepad++.

2. Opens With… is another good option that helps to set Notepad++ as the default text editor

Right-click on the file and choose properties. This opens the properties window for the file showing the type of file, size, opens with: option, etc.

File Properties

Click the Change… button.

Click change button

Now select the program (Notepad++) from the list. Similar to the method mentioned above.

Select Notepad++ as option

This updates the opens with option from Notepad to Notepad++ for Text Document(.txt) type of files.

Defualt program gets changed

Now, just double-click on the file and you can see the files get opened in Notepad++.

3. Set Default Using File Association feature in Notepad++

You can also use the file association feature available in Notepad+ to set Notepad++ as the default text editor for .txt, *.log, .ini, .h, .cpp, .c type of files. You can also associate a custom extension type of file. This does not work when the respective default program is already assigned to that extension. I will cover that later in this article.

First, let’s see how to associate a custom file type extension with Notepad++

Let’s create a file name .xyz is not a common extension, so there will not be any default program for it.

.xyz extension type file

Run Notepad++ in administrator mode.

Run Notepad++ as Administrator

Now, go to Settings->preference- File Association. Select customize in Supported extensions and enter .xyz as shown below. Click the arrow to move it under the registered extensions section.

Click close.

Notepad++ file association change

Simply double-click and click the file. The files by default open in Notepad++.

.xyz extension type file opened in Notepad++

That’s it…!

You made Notepad++ the default editor for *.xyz extension type of files.


There are many reasons why you should set Notepad++ as your default editor. For example, it has more features than the default Windows Notepad and it is easier to use than other editors like Wordpad and Word.

In this article, I showed you how to replace notepad with notepad++ as your default editor in Windows. You can read more about this on Notepad++ Community and the super user website.

Reference and further reading,

  1. Notepad++ official site.
  2. Notepad++ Tutorials and Tips.

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