Editing Special Formats

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Dealing with non plain text files

Notepad++ can be used to open all sorts of files, not limiting to source or web related files. However, as Notepad++ is supposed to remain a text editor, some issues may arise, which can be grouped into three kinds:

  1. The file is normal text but has semantic features which go beyond plain text.
  2. The file is normal text, but supports the insertion of other formats.
  3. The file is essentialy binary.

Point 1 mostly relates to source files, which have code blocks, comments, identifier scopes and other such properties in their text. Notepad++ won't deal with these. However, a number of plugins (FunctionList, SourceCookifier, ...) do.

Point 2 refers to text in HTML, XML or RTF format. The NppExport plugin has allowed to copy Notepad++ text as HTML or RTF. You can use Edit -> Paste Special -> Paste HTML Content, or the similar command for RTF, to paste text from a web page or word processor while keeping some format information that would be lost using the regular paste operation.

While a hex editor would seem to be the right tool to open non-text files, it happens that you have to. For instance, because a Search in Files operation on some ext string found it inside a dll or some other binary file.

Notepad++ can handle the three standard editing oprations on such data, using Edit -> Paste Special -> Copy Binary Content or the similar commands to cut or paste.