Add “Open with Notepad++” to the Context Menu for All Files in Windows 7

Having the context menu option, “Open with Notepad++” (my favorite FREE Windows text editor) is invaluable, making it easy to quickly and easily open files with just a (right) mouse click or two.

This registry hack is nothing new, it’s been around forever… think of this as a refresher course. Also note that you can use this same technique to substitute any other application that you’d like by adjusting the path in the registry to point to the different editor or to add other “open with” Context Menu options.

Registry Hack
Open regedit.exe and navigate to the following key:


  • Right-click on “shell” and choose to create a new key, calling it “Open with Notepad++”. 
  • Create a new key below that one called “command”.
  • Double-click on the (Default) value in the right-hand pane and enter in the following:

C:Program Files (x86)Notepad++notepad++.exe %1

NOTE: your path may be different.

The change should take effect immediately.  Now you can right-click on any file and you’ll see the new “Open With Notepad++” menu entry.

Download Registry Hack
Just copy the following and save it to a file with a .reg extension.  Double-click the file and import to your registry.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT*shellOpen With Notepad++]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT*shellOpen With Notepad++command]
@=”C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe %1″

NOTE: This will work on previous Windows versions as well – Vista, Windows 2008, Windows 2003, etc.

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