Welcome to our Microsoft Notepad Tutorial, where you'll get free tips and tricks to make the best of the plain text editor bundled with your computer. These tutorials cover all versions of Notepad from Windows XP to Windows 7.

What version of Notepad do I have?
The version you are running depends on your PC's Windows version. The major / minor version numbers fool you follow Microsoft's internal version number (Windows XP is Windows NT version 5.1). If you don't know what version or edition of Windows you are running, click on Notepad's Help menu and choose About.

Windows XP Windows Vista Windows 7 Windows 8
Notepad 5.1 Notepad 6.0 Notepad 6.1 Notepad 6.2
xStep-by-step Tutorial for Beginners and Seniors Launch Notepad The Title Bar The Menu Bar The Text Area The Status Bar Create a new document Save changes to a document Save As command + Renaming files Font options Word Wrap Navigate in your document Search and replace text "Non-text-files" associated with Notepad Tips and Tricks + Advanced Hacks Automatically add date and time when opening Notepad Open Notepad with a keyboard shortcut Save any file type from Notepad Add "Open with Notepad" to Windows' right-click menu Directly view the source content of a web page / URL Make Notepad automatically re-open a file Quickly save when closing Always show the status bar Run Notepad as administrator Keyboard Shortcuts Notepad Switches (Command Line Parameters)

Step-by-step Tutorial for Beginners and Seniors

This mini-tutorial explains how to use Notepad for any version of Windows: pick a topic from the dropdown, or use the Next and Previous buttons to go from one tutorial to the next!

Launch Notepad

You don't have to worry about Notepad not being installed on your computer, because it ships with all versions of Windows since version 1.0! There are several ways to open the program, and all of them achieve the exact same result, so just pick your favorite method:

  • Method 1: click on the start button; click All Programs in the start menu, find and click on the Accessories folder (you may need to scroll down), and click on the Notepad icon, which depends on your version of Windows. Here's what it looks like:
    Old and new Notepad icons
  • Method 2: hold down the Windows logo key on your keyboard and press "R" to get the Run dialog: type "notepad" and hit Enter (this works in all versions of Windows).
  • Method 3: In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, you can simply type "notepad" in the start menu's search field and hit Enter to launch it (this works with most program names!)
    Launch Notepad from the Windows 7 start menu

The Title Bar

Below and in the next sections is a screenshot, divided into three parts. To download the full screenshot to save it on your desktop for personal reference purposes, click here.

The top of the window is called the title bar: it contains Notepad's "system icon" (top left corner), current file name, and system buttons. When a new file is loaded (blank, unsaved), as is the case by default, the title bar simply reads "Untitled" until you save your file. The word ".txt" may appear at the end of the file name, depending on your Windows settings (another file extension can follow the period, depending on which document type is opened - see "non-text-files" for more specifics). Here are a few title bar tips: double-clicking the it will maximize or restore the window; double-clicking on the system icon will close Notepad; any border or corner of the window can be used to resize it (unlike Mac apps, for example, which can typically be resized only from the lower right corner). Clicking on the system icon or right-clicking on the title bar will show the "system menu", which lets you minimize, maximize, or close the window, or even move or resize it using the arrow keys on your keyboard (press the Alt+Spacebar keyboard shortcut to display the system menu).

The Text Area

The middle of the window contains the text area, or editing component, where Notepad loads the content of text files and you edit them. A vertical scrollbar is always visible, but can only be scrolled when the window's size hides the excess content ("text overflow"), like on the screenshot below. The scroll button's height reflects the proportion of the entire text you are seeing on screen: When the "word wrap" option is enabled, the horizontal scrollbar will be hidden (this setting is explained under "Text Wrapping"). White text on a blue background indicates selected text, which can be deleted, cut, copied, or even dragged-and-dropped to a new position in your file!

The Status Bar

The bottom of the window shows the status bar, and it is only visible when the "word wrap" option is turned off (more on that later!) Although the status bar includes a resize handler (lower right corner), you can resize your Notepad window by grabbing any corner or border: move above any of them, and your cursor will turn into a double-header arrow, showing you in which direction you can make the window larger or smaller.

Word count, line count, and character count

If the status bar is showing, Notepad will indicate the current line - if you are on the last line, you'll know how many lines there are in your file; but what about the number of words, or even the total number of characters in your document? Notepad doesn't include this functionality, so here's a text box that will give you that information: paste some text inside it, and click the "Get Stats" button:

Create a new document

Create a new document in Notepad When you launch Notepad, it automatically shows a blank, new document; if you already have a text file opened in it, there are two ways to create a new document: either launch a new instance of Notepad, or go to the File menu and pick "New" (which can also be done by pressing the Ctrl+N hotkey).

You can also create a new text file from your Desktop or inside a folder in Windows Explorer: right-click on an empty area of the folder / Desktop and choose "New > Text Document". Windows will make a new file, called "New Text Document". Type a meaningful name and hit Enter (if the ".txt" extension is visible, leave it intact in the file name). Hit Enter once more to open the file in Notepad.

You can tell at any point that you have a new document in front of you: the text area is blank (until you type something in it), and the title bar will say "Untitled - Notepad", like this:
A new, blank text file

If your computer crashes, data inside a temporary document will be permanently deleted, so it is a good idea to save as soon as you start typing something meaningful (explained next!)

Save changes to a document

When you start typing in a new document, the text is only "alive" while Notepad is running, or while you remain logged on to Windows, and while your computer stays on. Close Notepad, log off, or shutdown Windows, and that content is lost forever. The first thing to do when you start a new document is to save: click on the File menu and choose "Save", or press the equivalent Ctrl+S keyboard shortcut.

While it looks different, the Save dialog contains the same options in Windows 7 / Vista / XP: if you aren't familiar with Windows' folder structure, keep the default location to store your files (the "My Documents" folder). Notepad will "remember" where you last opened or saved your documents, and will automatically use that location from thereon (until you open from or save to another directory).Save / Save As dialog in Notepad for Windows 7

Once you've typed a name, chosen a target folder, and clicked on the Save button, Notepad will store a copy of that file on your hard drive, where it is safely kept, even if you log out of Windows. The only thing in memory (RAM) are really the changes made since you opened that text file - which is why it is important to store changes on disk as you make them, by saving regularly.

Tip: Notepad saves documents with the ".txt" extension ("TXT" = text files), even if you don't explicitly add it to the end of your file name. To save an HTML file (for example), type your file name, a period, and the file extension in double-quotes: regardless of your Windows settings when it comes to displaying file extensions, Notepad will use the extension you supplied:
Save a Notepad document as an HTML file

File Encoding

By default, Notepad will save files using "ANSI text" encoding: if your file contains unusual / non-latin characters, you will receive the following error message: "This file contains characters in Unicode format which will be lost if you save this file as an ANSI encoded file. To keep the Unicode options from the Encoding drop down list. Continue?" The bottom line is this: when you create a text file that contains special characters or dingbats, just pick UTF-8 from the Encoding dropdown in the Save / Save As dialog. It will still be a plain-text file, just "encoded" differently on your hard drive:
Change Notepad file encoding from ANSI to UTF-8

"Save As" command + renaming files

Here's to clarifying the confusion that accompanies the "Save As" command: this knowledge is useful for any Windows program that supports the "Save As" command (most of them do!)

Saving a document as…

When you save, Notepad either shows the Save dialog (new files), or commits any changes to disk (updates the current file's content on your hard drive). When you go to "File > Save As", you'll be able to enter a new file name, and optionally choose a different storage location. As soon as you click that Save button, you will have two documents with exactly the same content: one under the old name, and a new one, in front of you. Any changes you make to that text file will be saved into the new file, and the old one will remain as you last left it. In many cases, you probably intended to rename the file, not create a copy of it ("Save As" means "Create a copy of this file under a new name, and open it").

Renaming a file

Notepad doesn't include a "rename file" command, so here's a workaround: save any changes in your file and go to "File > Open" (or press Ctrl+O). Find the file currently opened and click on it: Rename a text file right from Notepad Press the F2 key (universal Windows keyboard shortcut to rename files), and type a new name (if you see the ".txt" extension at the end, leave it there). Press Enter to accept the new file name, and hit Enter once again open the file; the renamed file with all your changes is now in front of you - all that without ever leaving Notepad! (This also works on the desktop and Windows Explorer folders.)

Font options

Until Windows 95, Notepad only supported the "Fixedsys" font. In Windows 8 / 7 / Vista / XP, you can pick any font / text size you like; Notepad uses "Lucida Console", 10 points, as default font setting.

Change font family, style, and text size

Click on the Format menu (Alt+O) and choose "Font": Windows may take a second or so, depending on the number of fonts you have installed on your system, and will open the Font Dialog: the font family you are currently using is automatically highlighted in the Font listing on the left; the font style and size also reflect your current settings. You can use the Up and Down arrows on your keyboard to quickly switch between fonts; the "Sample" field gives you a real time preview of your pick.
System fonts dialog in Notepad

The Script dropdown menu includes the character sets supported by the current font, which is important if you write in multiple languages; pick different values to preview the selected font with particular accents and / or non-roman letters. Here are the most common ones: Western (default on Windows English), Greek, Turkish, Baltic, Central European, Cyrillic, and Vietnamese. The "Show more fonts" link (only visible in Windows 7 and later), opens your Fonts screen in the Control Panel.

Tip: you can get Consolas, a very nice monospaced font, for free from Microsoft.com. It comes pre-installed on Windows since Vista, and it is included with Microsoft Office 2007 and later, plus any recent Office viewers (programs that lets you read Office files without Office).

Word Wrap

Calling it "line wrapping" would be clearer: this feature lets you see long lines inside the text area; when word wrap is turned off, you have to scroll horizontally to see the end of a long line. Notepad wraps at the word level, finishing every word it starts on the same line, unless it is hyphenated; in other words, you won't see the first letters on one line and the rest of the word on the next line. To enable or disable word wrap, go to "Format > Word Wrap": a checkmark is visible next to the command when the feature is turned on, n the status bar will then be hidden, regardless of your settings.

Note: by default, the status bar is only visible with word wrap disabled (if "View > Status Bar" is grayed out, this is the reason). To always show it, see this registry hack (advanced users only).

Word wrap leaves your text completely intact: it doesn't add new line characters (carriage returns) anywhere, it only constrains your text to the text area viewable at the moment. Think of this functionality as "virtual lines", and here's a concept to illustrate: (text comes from the Notepad Help file).

Notepad is a basic text-editing program and it's most commonly used to view or edit text files. A text file is a file type typically identified by the .txt file name extension.

Search and replace text

To find a character, word, or sentence, pick "Find" under the Edit menu, and this dialog will open: Find text dialog Type the text you'd like to find and hit Enter: Notepad will go to the first match it finds and highlight it - otherwise, it will show a "Cannot find [...]" message. The search starts when the insertion point is currently blinking, and go Down; select "Up" to search between current location and the beginning of your file.

By default, searches are "case-sensitive" - uppercase and lowercase letters are considered the same (if you search for "Ax", Notepad will also find "ax"). To force it to respect your capitalization, check the "Match case" checkbox. Hit escape (the "Esc" key) to close the Find dialog and return to your text.

Tip: once you found the first instance of a word or expression, hit the F3 key on your keyboard: the highlight will jump from one match to the next, without the dialog potentially obscuring the highlight match! To start searching from the top of your document, press Ctrl+Home to go to the beginning, and then Ctrl+F to start searching.

Replacing Text

To replace text in your document, press Ctrl+H or pick "Replace" under the Edit menu - familiar dialog: Search and replace text in your document Enter the text to find in the first text box, and the one with which to replace in the second field. Click Replace All to make the substitution quickly and everywhere in the file. Otherwise, click Find Next and Replace when the highlighted match should be replaced. Check the "Match case" checkbox to force Notepad to respect your capitalization when finding (it always uses your exact text when replacing).

Tip: one way to keep more control over the replacement operation is to copy the replacement word or sentence you will. Then, find the text as we did above, going to the top of the document and using the F3 key to go through matches: hit Ctrl+V to paste the replacement text in place when appropriate; this is a more careful approach, and the Find/Replace dialog is never on the way, preventing you to see the highlighted match!

"Non-text-files" associated with Notepad

Windows will automatically associate with Notepad other types of plain text files on your computer: double-clicking on them will often open them as text files, but could also execute them. The best approach is to right-click on a file and choose "Edit", or go to "Open with > Notepad". If invisible, you can add "Open with Notepad" to Windows' context menu (registry hack, advanced users only).

Extension Description
.TXT This is the standard file extension for regular, plain-text files.
.LOG Log files, used by Windows and other programs.
.BAT DOS Batch file (legacy scripts used by Windows and system administrators).
.INF Setup information files Windows uses to install software drivers and other low-level utilities.
.DIC Custom dictionary files for Microsoft Outlook and other Office applications.
.INI Configuration setting files for various programs, processes, and utilities.

This list is partial, because it depends on the types of applications you have installed (each of which can generate different plain-text file types), and programs you have installed that have associated themselves with other extensions (taken over from Notepad, in other words).

Tips and Tricks + Advanced Hacks

Automatically add date and time when opening Notepad

Pick any file you want: type a period and the letters L-O-G in uppercase on the very first line (".LOG"). Now save and close the file; the next time you open it in Notepad, it will automatically add the current date and time and a new line at the bottom of the file - the exact format of the timestamp depends on your Windows regional settings, and if you've customize them (like showing military time, abbreviated months, etc.) Type something and make sure to hit Enter once or twice (so that next time, the stamp appears on its own line), then save and close. To consult the file without adding any note to your journal or log, simply close without saving (to avoid pointlessly adding lines of dates at the end of your file!)
Automatically add date and time in Notepad with LOG code

Start Notepad with a keyboard shortcut

Locate the shortcut you use to launch Notepad (start menu, desktop, Quick Launch toolbar, etc.) Right-click on it, choose "Properties", and confirm that the "General" tab is selected. Click inside the Shortcut key text field (which says None by default). Now press the exact keystroke you want to use, and Windows will show it inside the field: if it doesn't, the shortcut is already used by Windows or a program; avoid anything that would conflict with standard keystrokes (like Ctrl+N for new). Click OK to save: preferences the keyboard shortcut you just assigned, and Notepad will automagically start!
Start Notepad with a keyboard shortcut!

Tip: to remove the hotkey associated with the Notepad shortcut, follow the same procedure. But once inside the Shortcut key text box, hit the control key (Ctrl) and release: it will automatically reset to "None". Click OK to save and apply - sometimes you'll need to logoff and log back on before the change takes effect (otherwise, it will the next time you restart your PC).

Save any file type from Notepad

Since Windows XP, the "Hide extensions for known file types" setting is enabled by default: this means that you don't have to worry about manually typing extensions (like ".txt" for plain text files) for most file formats. The downside is that when you save a file from Notepad, it automatically assumes that you want to create a plain text file. But, without turning off the "hide file extensions" option, you can save with a different extension simply by using double quotes: let's suppose that you want to save an HTML file (web page) from Notepad. In the file name field, type a double-quote, your file name, a period, the file extension ("HTML" or anything else), and close with a double-quote, like this:
Save an HTML file from Notepad

Note: when saving with double-quotes, you *do not* need to change the "Save as type" dropdown. Without double-quotes, Notepad will save your file with a double extension, like "File.html.txt".

Add "Open with Notepad" to Windows' right-click menu

Usually, when you right-click on a supported file type, you will often will see an "Edit" entry in the context menu, or at least be able to select the "Open with" submenu, and choose Notepad. But you can add an entry to the registry that allows you to open any file with Notepad!

  1. Launch regedit and navigate to the following branch: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ *.
  2. Right-click on "shell" and choose New > Key (note for XP). Add "Open with Notepad" to the Windows context menu
  3. Type "Open with Notepad" and hit Enter. Side info: placing an ampersand ("&") before a letter in the command unfortunately doesn't work as accelerator key: it will underline the character, but won't register when you press it with the context menu opened.
  4. Right-click on the key you just created and choose New > Key: type "command" and hit Enter.
  5. Double-click on the "(Default)" node on the right: type "notepad %1" and hit Enter to accept. Note: no need to type "notepad.exe", Windows knows the program; the "%1" after the space (called an "argument" or "parameter") represents the file on which you right-clicked.
  6. Close regedit, and go test your updated menu by right-clicking on any file you want!

Directly view the source content of a web page / URL

Because Internet Explorer is tightly integrated into Windows (even if it isn't set as your default web browser) you can directly type a full URL in Notepad's File name field in the Open dialog and hit Enter to open the web page as a text file. This is the same as doing "View Source" in Internet Explorer: behind the scenes, Notepad will actually use IE's rendering engine to download the page, and open the source from your temporary internet files (which is why it the file will end with a [x] index number).

Tip: make sure to include the file name for landing-page URL's (index.html, index.php, etc.), or Notepad will try to access the site through FTP - and show you the server's remote logon box.

Make Notepad automatically re-open a file

Without a built-in "Recent Files" feature, you have to manually open documents by going to File > Open or pressing Ctrl+O. If your save on your desktop, directly double-clicking on a text file has limitations: it only opens in Notepad when it is currently set as your default plain text editor, and only works while you can keep all your text files in a readily accessible location. Here a couple of workarounds:

Open frequent files with shortcuts

Create a shortcut to the text file, either right-click and choose "Create shortcut", or by dragging and dropping the file in the same folder while holding down the Alt key:
Create a shortcut to a text file You can then place the shortcut in your start menu, on your desktop - anywhere you want. But using shortcuts allows you to keep all text files together, and use shortcuts for files you edit often.

Automatically open a file when Notepad starts

Another way to make Notepad automatically open a certain file is to customize the shortcut you use to open the program: let's assume that you use the start menu. Find that shortcut, right-click on it, and choose "Properties". With the "Shortcut" tab selected, add a space and the full path of your file after the Notepad path, inside the "Target" text box, like this:
Automatically re-open a file with Notepad Click OK to apply; the next time you launch Notepad, it will automatically open that file!

Quickly save when closing

Save a step, there is no need to save shortly before closing Notepad: if there are any changes to your file, Notepad will automatically prompt you to save them. Just exit the program (click the Close button, or press Alt+F4 or Alt+Space, C). The Save Prompt that appears (pictured below) supports three keyboard shortcuts: hit N to NOT save, hit the escape key (Esc) to stay inside Notepad (same as "Cancel"), or hit S to save (you can also hit Enter since the Save button is automatically selected). If you were editing an existing file, changes you made will be saved; if this was a new document, Notepad will show the "Save As" dialog to pick a file name and location.
Auto-save text files on exiting

Always show the status bar

Notepad automatically shows or hides the status bar based on your text wrapping options - hint: the status bar is invisible when word wrap is turned on. The following registry hack lets you permanently display the status bar: (this is a regedit trick, for advanced users only!)

  1. Start by exiting all but one instance of Notepad.
  2. Make sure that "Format > Word Wrap" is checked (feature enabled).
  3. Keep your "View > Status Bar" setting as-is: close Notepad.
  4. In regedit.exe, go to go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Notepad
  5. Double-click on the "StatusBar" DWORD node on the right: type "1" and hit Enter.
  6. Restart Notepad: the status bar is now visible with line wrapping still turned on.

Caveats: this setting remains in effect only until you switch to no-wrap, at which point you'd have to start over with the hack above. The line and character column indicators will now show you information for the virtual lines (will no longer count based on true carriage returns).

Run Notepad as an administrator

Editing system configuration files (not recommended except for advanced users!) often requires "elevated privileges" - all other programs you launch automatically run under your username and its permissions. But you can workaround that limitation when needed by temporarily running Notepad as admin:

  • Find a Notepad shortcut, for example in your start menu.
  • Hold down the Shift key and right-click on the shortcut.
  • Choose "Run as administrator" from the context menu.
    Run Notepad as an administrator
  • When you get the UAC prompt, enter the corresponding password or click Yes (Windows 7) or Continue (Windows Vista), depending on your settings: you are now running Notepad with elevated permissions, and should be able to create and/or save configuration files - special case.
  • Tip: after typing a program name in the Windows 7 / Vista start menu's search field, you can press Ctrl+Shift+Enter to launch the selected program with admin privileges! (note)

Note: if you have multiple Windows administrative accounts, you can also choose to "Run as another user" from the context menu, as long as the account you select has sufficient privileges.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Here's the full list of "hotkeys" you can use in Notepad - most of them are standard across Windows applications, and some of these keystrokes are unique (like F5 for dates). Commands showing an asterisk are also available from the context menu (what appears when you right-click inside a document, or when you press the Apps key, on the left of the right Ctrl key).

Tip: also see this section for a complete listing of text navigation and selection shortcuts.

Ctrl + A The "Select-All" command selects the entire content of the current text file: you can differentiate selected text from non-selected text based on background color: by default on all versions of Windows (XP through Windows 8 anyway), selection is white text on a blue background.
Ctrl + C Copies the selected text to the Windows clipboard - nothing happens if the text selection is empty (if you see the blinking insertion point, no text is currently selected).
Ctrl + F Launches the "Find" dialog: more on searching and replacing text.
Ctrl + G Opens the "Go to line" dialog; type a number and hit Enter. Notepad will look at the "visible" lines of text; if word wrap is turned on (force long lines to remain visible without scrolling horizontally), it will consider each wrapped line as a new line; with word wrap disabled, it will look for "carriage returns" to determine the start of a line (the place at which the author of the document hit Enter or Return (Mac) to force-start a new line.
Ctrl + H Opens the "Replace" dialog to quickly substitute one word or expression with another - either selectively, or a mass-replace inside the entire text file. See more tips on searching and replacing text.
Ctrl + i Inserts a "tab" character (same as pressing the Tab key). Note that the tab character is equivalent to hitting eight times the spacebar. If you are using a monospaced font, this corresponds to exactly 8 characters in width.
Ctrl + J
Ctrl + M
Inserts a new line (same as hitting the Enter key).
Ctrl + N Creates a new document (if the current text file is not empty, Notepad will first give you the option to save it).
Ctrl + O Shows the Open dialog, so you can pick a file to read from your computer (or even the source code of a web page - just enter the full URL and hit Enter - see details under "Notepad Tips and Tricks").
Ctrl + P Shows the Print dialog - hit Enter to print the current file using Windows' default printer or click / move with arrow keys to select another printer / print driver.
Ctrl + S Saves any changes to the current file; if the file is new, you will instead see the "Save As" dialog to type a file name and pick a location to store your file.
Ctrl + V Paste any text from the Windows clipboard: if you copied "rich text" (either formatted text from a Microsoft Word document or a web page, for example), any formatting will automatically be stripped and only the text itself will be pasted into Notepad. If the Paste command doesn't work, it either means that you have nothing in your clipboard (you didn't copy anything since Windows last started), or you have incompatible data in the clipboard. Example: if you hit the Print Screen key to copy what you see on your computer monitor, you can paste that image inside Microsoft Paint, a graphic editor, but not inside a plain text editor like Notepad. Because Microsoft Word and WordPad are "rich text editors", pasting in that case would insert the screen capture side the Word / WordPad document.
Ctrl + X Cut the selected piece of text (same thing as copying it but deleting it afterwards). If no text is selected, nothing will happen, and you'll still have your original and unchanged clipboard content (if any was there).
Ctrl + Y This keyboard shortcut does nothing in Notepad: in other Windows applications, this is generally mapped to "Redo" (the opposite of Undo), to let you travel through your document's editing history. See next shortcut for more.
Ctrl + Z As a very basic text editor, Notepad doesn't support "multi-level undo/redo", like many editors do: instead, it toggles between the last two editing states. In plain English, this means that if you paste some text and then press Ctrl+Z (or go to "Edit > Undo"), it will "un-paste" that text; but if you press Ctrl+Z once more, Notepad will "re-paste" the text, and not go back one level in your editing history as you might expect. For a bit of fun, hold down Ctrl+Z and Notepad will undo-redo like a maniac!
Notepad application system menu The next three shortcuts use the application's system menu, which you can also display by clicking on the Notepad icon in the top left corner of its window. Hit the spacebar while holding down the Alt key, and that menu will appear.

Tip: double-clicking on that icon will close Notepad (after prompting you to save any changes if applicable).
Alt + Space, R Restore a maximized window (the command is grayed out -disabled- if the window is already in a restored stated, i.e. not maximized or minimized). In Windows 7, you can also use the Windows key + Down arrow keyboard shortcut (if you press it a second time, it will minimize Notepad).
Alt + Space, X Maximize the window; in Windows 7, you can also use Windows key + Up arrow
Alt + Space, N Minimize Notepad to the taskbar.
Alt + F4 This standard Windows keyboard shortcut will exit the current application - if there is something to save (new text in a blank file or changes to an existing file), Notepad will give you a chance to save these edits or discard them.
F1 This special key is the standard keyboard shortcut to pull help files in Windows applications. Don't expect much from the Notepad help file though, it is even shorter than this tutorial!
F3 Find the next occurrence of a word or expression you were looking for; if you didn't search for text since you opened Notepad, the Find dialog will open.
F5 Inserts a date and time at the insertion point (blinking cursor), based on your Windows "Date and Time Settings", which can be customized - how to do it in Windows 7 or Windows Vista (these tutorials show how to display military time, but you can pick any format you want).
F10 This is a Windows hotkey, not specific to Notepad: it does the same thing as pressing the Alt key, which then lets you press the letter corresponding to each menu: F for File, E for Edit, the letter "O" for Format, V for View, and H for the Help menu. (Depending on your Windows settings, each of these letters may already show underlined.)
Notepad menu accelerator keys

In addition to commands that have their own dedicated keyboard shortcut (like Ctrl+S for save), you can use "keyboard accelerators", following which letters are underlined in the menu headers (File, Edit, Format, View, and Help), and inside each menu item. See "The Menu Bar" for more info.

Notepad Switches (Command Line Parameters)

Here are the few, case-insensitive command line arguments Notepad supports - they can be used as options in an .LNK shortcut, typed inside the Run dialog, or from a DOS command line prompt:

  • /A - Force Notepad to open a file in ANSI encoding, regardless of the file's actual charset:
    notepad /A C:\customerListing.txt (no need to type "notepad.exe"). Caveat: you'll get a "The system cannot find the path specified" error message with library paths like "notepad /A Libraries\Documents\myFile.txt". Use full paths (or relative to running directory), like "C:\Users\UserName\Documents\".
  • /W - Open a text file in Unicode character-set. File names / drive letters in Windows are not case-sensitive; our example can be repurposed as: notepad /w c:\customerlisting.txt. Note: the file's content will be show as gibberish with a mismatched charset (little squares or Chinese characters, depending on fonts installed on your machine). Notepad command line switch for unicode
  • /P - Open a file in Notepad and send it to your printer, as if you did File > Print or pressed Ctrl+P. When the print dialog opens, hit Enter to use the OS' default printer (automatically selected), or pick another one. Notepad exits by itself when the print dialog closes, whether dismissed by clicking Cancel or hitting Esc, or after having successfully printed the file.
  • /PT - This parameter stands for "Print To", and allows you to override the default print switch discussed above: pass in this order, the full path and file name, the printer name, the driver (DLL, optional), and the port (typically for remote printers, optional).
  • {file path \ file name . extension} - And like most programs on Windows, you can pass a full path and file name as argument: this will launch Notepad with that file automatically opened. If the path and/or file name contains spaces, enclose the whole thing in double quotes:
    notepad C:\Folder\textFile.txt and notepad "C:\Folder\Text  File.txt"

Tip: the /.SETUP parameter you may come across is a legacy switch that was used to load configuration files in early versions of Microsoft operating systems (diskette-era stuff!)

Make Notepad start minimized or maximized

There are no switches to start Notepad minimized, maximized, or in a "restored state" window. To customize the default window state, go instead to your Notepad shortcut (only affects Notepad launched with that shortcut). Right-click on the shortcut you want to use, and choose "Properties". Make sure that the General tab is selected, and pick your option under the "Run" dropdown: Start Notepad minimized or maximized

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