Configuration File Editing

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Editing the configuration of an editor with the very same editor has to be tricky.

Notepad++ reads its configuration files only once, when it starts. Because you might use some of Notepad++ dialogs to modify them, it overwrites them on exit. So, if you edit config files in Notepad++ without special precautions, your work will be dutifully overwritten.

There are three workarounds:

  • Use a different editor while Notepad++ is closed.
  • Copy the files to some location Notepad++ doesn't know about, edit, close Notepad++ and replace the old configuration files with the copies you just updated.
    • As a variant, you can edit the original file, File -> Save a Copy As in another folder when done, and then replace original with the edited copy.
  • You can also edit in-place, but Notepad++ has to be fooled:
    1. Do the required editing within Notepad++
    2. Save the files
    3. Mark them as read-only, by right clicking on each file in your file manager in turn (or in the File -> Save a Copy As dialog), clicking Properties and setting the Read-only attribute there.
    4. Close Notepad++
    5. Reopen it. If your session is not being remembered, reopen the edited configuration files
    6. Clear the read-only flag for them. You can use Edit -> Clear Read-Only Flag.

If Edit -> Set Read Only is used instead of the native Windows interface, the read only status will be overridden by Notepad++, to the effect of changes being lost. It is debatable whether this trait is a bug or a feature.