Configuration Files Details

Configuration Files

Notepad++ offers a comprehensive user interface to review or change most of its settings. However, there are some special cases where it is worthwhile to edit the configuration files directly, including:

  • Customizing the Context Menu
  • Editing previously-recorded macros, or crafting new macros manually
  • Adding keywords to a language, because the new language version isn’t matched yet

Please note that Notepad++ writes the configuration files when it exits, which is why the Editing Configuration Files section below says that Notepad++ may overwrite your changes. But this also means that, when you make a change using Notepad++ menus and dialogs (like changing a preference, or saving a macro), your change will not be written to the configuration file until Notepad++ exits. So if you open up the configuration file after you have changed the preference but before you have exited Notepad++, you will not see that change reflected in the file yet. Do not be surprised by this.

Configuration Files Location

In a standard installation, the per-user configuration files go in %AppData%\Notepad++\. (For a refresher course on %AppData%, see the Community Forum FAQ’s %AppData% entry.) The machine-wide configuration files go in the executable directory (so usually c:\program files\notepad++\). When Notepad++ is looking for shortcuts, stylers and themes, function list definitions, and user defined language definitions (and usually the default session file, though that has exceptions enumerated below), it will try to read from the per-user directory; if the right file isn’t found there, then it will check machine-wide configuration files.

In a portable installation, the configuration files all go in the same directory as the notepad++.exe executable (or the appropriate subdirectory), and there is no per-user configuration location. (An installation is treated as “portable” if the zero-byte doLocalConf.xml file is present alongside the notepad++.exe executable. The ? menu’s Debug Info will show Local mode: ON for a portable version.)

If you enable the Cloud settings, some per-user configuration files will go in the defined directory, including contextMenu.xml, shortcuts.xml, userDefineLang.xml, langs.xml, stylers.xml, and config.xml; the userDefineLang\ subfolder can be placed there as well, though it won’t be created by default when the Cloud settings folder is first populated. It should be emphasized that session.xml does not work in the cloud folder, so if you have the cloud settings, session.xml will still be found in either the %AppData% hierarchy for a normal installation, or in the installed directory for a portable installation.

There is a command-line option -settingsDir which will set a new directory for the per-user configuration file location. (Unlike the cloud directory, session.xml does work in the -settingsDir directory, so if you want to have all your per-user configuration, including your session information, in your cloud folder, it might be wise to not use the Cloud settings option, and instead point -settingsDir to the cloud folder.)

Search order: If the -settingsDir option is set, that configuration file directory will take priority over any other configuration file directory. If the Cloud directory setting is defined and enabled, that will take priority over the portable or standard configuration file directory. If doLocalConf.xml is present, the portable configuration file location will take priority over the %AppData%\Notepad++\ directory. If none of the other configuration file directories are active, then the standard configuration file directory is %AppData%\Notepad++\. If it cannot find a configuration file in any of the per-user locations, it will use the version from the same directory as the executable.

Missing Subdirectories?

Reading the above section, one may go looking for the user functionList\ or themes\ folders in %AppData%\Notepad++\ (or your Cloud folder, or wherever -settingsDir option points) after an initial installation, and be surprised those directories aren’t there: the installer doesn’t create those empty directories for you. If you want to add a custom function list definition or theme to your user-config folder in the %AppData%\Notepad++ (or equivalent) hierarchy, you may have to create the appropriate subdirectory first, then put your custom function list or theme definition in the newly-created folder.

Starting Fresh

If you want to reset your Notepad++ back to “factory condition”, and are using the normal installation, you can exit all instances of Notepad++ then delete (or rename) the %AppData%\Notepad++ folder (or your Cloud folder, or wherever -settingsDir option points). The next time you run Notepad++, it will create %AppData%\Notepad++ (or Cloud or -settingsDir location) and populate it with a minimal set of config files.

If you just want to start fresh on a particular config file: Notepad++ knows how to recreate the necessary files if it doesn’t find them. For the ones that have an <XXX>.model.xml file in the Notpad++ application directory, all you have to do is delete your per-user <XXX>.xml (from %AppData%\Notepad++\ or the Cloud or -settingsDir location) and restart Notepad++, and Notepad++ will copy the <XXX>.model.xml version into the right place for you. If the config.xml or your session or shortcuts or contextMenu config files are intentionally deleted (or otherwise missing) from the config-file folder, Notepad++ can recreate those as necessary as well on its next start (it is programmed on how to create them from scratch, rather than using a .model. file).

Editing Configuration Files

ALWAYS BACKUP THE FILE TO BE EDITED. If you make a mistake, Notepad++ may erase the whole contents and replace it with useless defaults. This is probably the worst that can happen, but it does happen.

If changes are made in the Notepad++ UI to settings which are stored in configuration files, those will be written to disk when you exit Notepad++ after any file saves you do. Thus, if you are going to edit a Notepad++ configuration file with Notepad++ (and why would you want to edit it with anything else?), you will need to be careful. The safest sequence when editing a configuration file:

  1. Close all active instances of Notepad++
  2. Open one instance of Notepad++
  3. Edit the configuration file
  4. Save
  5. Exit Notepad++
  6. Reload Notepad++
  7. The changes will now be in effect.

The config.xml file may be overwritten by Notepad++ on exit, even if you follow this procedure, so that sequence won’t reliably work for config.xml. To edit config.xml, close all instances of Notepad++; edit config.xml in some “other” editor and save; reload Notepad++ and the changes should take effect. (For the “other” editor, you could use something like Windows’ builtin notepad.exe. But it would be better if you had another portable Notepad++ somewhere on your machine, and use that portable Notepad++ to edit your main Notepad++'s config.xml, thus never having to use a non-Notepad++ editor: so close your main Notepad++, run the portable Notepad++ and open your main config.xml, edit and save, exit the portable Notepad++, then re-run the main Notepad++, and everything should be updated.)

Configuration Files during Upgrades

When you use the installer to upgrade your existing copy of Notepad++ (either manually, or through the ?-menu’s Upgrade Notepad++, or through Notepad++'s auto-update feature), the installer will avoid overwriting configuration files that you have customized – this is to prevent you losing your preferred settings and customizations.

However, this means that occasionally, updated functionList parsing files, or theme definitions, or new keywords in langs.xml, or new default contextMenu entries, or new shortcut entries might not be added to your local copy of Notepad++. So if you upgrade and keep your existing configuration, it is a good idea to occasionally compare your configuration files to the “standard/default” configuration files: some of the config files come with *.model.xml versions in the installation directory, which show you the default settings for those files; for other configuration files, you could download a portable zipfile of the same version you are using, and compare the config files from the portable to your installed; and you can always look in the source code repository for the various configuration files. (You can use two Views to look at the files side-by-side, and the synchronized scrolling feature can help keep the copies aligned; plugins such as the Compare plugin are designed to show differences between files as well.)

For the config.xml (which contains the settings from the GUI’s Settings > Preferences dialog), if Notepad++ has a setting that it doesn’t find defined in your current config.xml, it will apply the default value compiled in the program, and the next time it writes config.xml it will write that default value in config.xml. Once it gets written, future changes to that default value will not override the value already in your file, even when you upgrade Notepad++. config.xml will only get a default value for a setting in three situations:

  1. On a new installation (running the installer when there isn’t a previous Notepad++, or when there isn’t a config.xml file and/or settings directory for the active user).
  2. When you run Notepad++, and there is no config.xml (either because there isn’t a config.xml file and/or settings file for the current user, or the config.xml has been deleted), so Notepad++ writes a complete config.xml with all default values.
  3. When your config.xml is missing the attribute/value pair for a given setting.

The context menu: contextMenu.xml

The context menu does not have a GUI-based editor; you just need to edit the file. As a result, the Settings > Edit Popup Context Menu entry exists to make it easy for you to access this config file.

All menu commands can be added to the Context Menu, including plugin commands:

  • To add a built-in command, you may provide the main menu name (as it appears in the main menu bar) as the value of the MenuEntryName attribute and the command’s item name (as it appears in the menu) as the value of the MenuItemName attribute. The MenuEntryName attribute must reference an entry on the main menu bar and must be an ancestor of the MenuItemName attribute, regardless of its depth.
    • For example, <Item MenuEntryName="Edit" MenuItemName="Cut"/> will add a context-menu entry that calls the Edit menu’s Cut entry.
  • Alternately, to add a built-in command, you may instead provide the menu command ID via the id attribute. The command ID values for a given menu can be found in your localization file (like english.xml), which will map the localized text you see in the menu to the command ID, or in menuCmdID.h.
    • For example, <Item id="42001"/> will add a context-menu entry that calls the Edit > Cut action by its command ID.
    • NOTE: <Item id="0"/> has a special meaning: it acts as a horizonal separator line – that’s how you can get a line between groups in the context menu.
  • To add a plugin command, you need to provide the plugin’s menu item name (as it appears in the Plugins menu) as the value of the PluginEntryName attribute and the command’s menu item name (as it appears in the plugin’s sub-menu) as the value of the PluginCommandItemName attribute. (Note: Context menu entries will only work for entries immediately under the plugin name; entries deeper than that, like Plugins > Super Plugin Name > Submenu Here > I Want This Command, will not work.)
    • For example: <Item PluginEntryName="MIME Tools" PluginCommandItemName="Base64 Encode" /> will add a context-menu entry that calls Plugins > MIME Tools > Base64 Encode

Note that the menu names and menu item names (whether built-in or plugin names) that you use in the should be in English, not in a translated language. The Shortcut Mapper can help you find the English name of plugin commands; simply switch to English localization for the raw name of built-in commands; or you can look at the english.xml that shipped with your distribution.

By default, each <Item> will be rendered in the top level of the context menu with a localized name matching the normal menu entry, unless overridden by the attributes described next.

Grouping items into sub-menus

Each <Item> will go in the first level of the context menu. This can be overridden by adding a FolderName="name_of_submenu" attribute to consecutive items, so that they will be grouped into a sub-menu with that name. Specifying "” is the same as leaving the FolderName attribute out. Note that sub-menus do not nest - you cannot add a sub-menu to a sub-menu. Non-Latin characters are supported.

Overriding a menu item name

Each <Item> will use the same text as the main menu entry uses, as defined by your current localization. This can be overridden by adding an ItemNameAs="new_name_for_the_item" attribute, so that the new name will be displayed instead of the standard one. This is useful when the name is lengthy, as it makes the Context Menu unwieldy otherwise. Non-Latin characters are supported.

Context menu syntax summary

In brief, the structure of the context menu file is as follows

  • Top Level Node: <NotepadPlus> (no attributes)
  • Intermediate Node: <ScintillaContextMenu> (no attributes)
  • Entry Nodes: <Item ...>
    • MenuEntryName attribute: Used for accessing Notepad++ menu items by name. The value should be name of the menu.
    • MenuItemName attribute: Used for accessing Notepad++ menu items by name. The value should be the name of the menu item inside the given menu.
    • id attribute: Used for accessing Notepad++ commands by CommandID. The value should be the CommandID number, as seen in english.xml and similar translation files.
      • <Item id="0" /> will make a separator line in the menu.
    • ItemNameAs attribute: Used for for overriding a menu item name: using your own “display name” for a given entry in your context menu, instead of using the one inherited from the main Notepad++ menu system.
    • PluginEntryName attribute: Used for accessing Plugin commands. The value should be the name of the plugin as seen in the Plugins menu.
    • PluginCommandItemName attribute: Used for accessing Plugin commands. The value should be the name of the menu entry inside that Plugin’s menu. (Note: Context menu entries will only work for entries immediately under the plugin name; entries deeper than that, like Plugins > Super Plugin Name > Submenu Here > I Want This Command, will not work.)
    • FolderName attribute: Used for grouping items into sub-menus in the context menu.
    • TranslateID attribute: Used for auto-translating your sub-menu names. If the attribute’s value matches one of the nodes in the <MiscStrings> section of english.xml or similar translation files, the menu will use your active translation’s value for the displayed FolderName.
  • As with all XML files, using <!-- and --> around the code will “comment it out”. So you can use text comments or comment out XML syntax that you want Notepad++ to ignore. To “uncomment” the XML, remove the <!-- and --> surrounding that piece of code.

The context menu: tabContextMenu.xml

Starting in v8.4.8, the tab-bar context menu (the menu that you see when you right-click on the title of the tab in the tab bar) is user-configurable using the tabContextMenu.xml config file.

The format is the same as the contextMenu.xml described above, except the “Intermediate Node” is <TabContextMenu> instead of <ScintillaContextMenu>.

You may have gotten a copy of tabContextMenu_example.xml when you installed, or you can download a copy from the Notepad++ source here (possibly needed if you have a portable or minimal copy of Notepad++, or if the file didn’t get created when you updated an existing Notepad++ installation) – if you rename that example to tabContextMenu.xml in your configuration directory, and restart Notepad++, then the example will be used. In that example, the default replicates the structure released with v8.4.7; if you comment that out and uncomment the second half of the file, it will instead replicate the Tab Context Menu found in v8.4.6 and earlier (useful for those who like “the old way” of doing things in the tab context menu).

To go back to the default tab context menu, you can just rename or delete tabContextMenu.xml (or download the fresh copy and save it over the current tabContextMenu.xml) then restart Notepad++.

Keyboard shortcuts: shortcuts.xml

Defines keyboard shortcuts for various types of commands. The shortcuts are most-easily defined in the various tabs of the Settings > Shortcut Mapper.

This file has the following nodes:

  1. <InternalCommands>: Keyboard shortcuts for Notepad++ menu commands that have been remapped by the user. (Commands that have never changed from their default shortcuts are not listed here.)
  2. <Macros>: Keyboard shortcuts for the macros listed in the lower part of the Macro menu. Also defines what commands those macros execute.
  3. <UserDefinedCommands>: Keyboard shortcuts for the Run menu entries. Also defines what actions those entries take.
  4. <PluginCommands>: Keyboard shortcuts for plugin commands that have been remapped. (Commands that use their default shortcuts are not listed here.)
  5. <ScintillaKeys>: Keyboard shortcuts for Scintilla commands, most of which relate to selecting text and moving around in the editor. (Commands that use their default shortcuts are not listed here.)

The definitions of the <Macros> and <UserDefinedCommands> are generally all that benefit from manual editing of the shortcuts.xml. It is much safer to edit the shortcuts using the Shortcut Mapper

Virtual Key Number

All the types of commands in shortcuts.xml have a key attribute, which uses the Windows virtual key number as the value. This is not necessarily the same as the ASCII code or Unicode codepoint. In standard English locales, the virtual key usually lines up with the ASCII code for the character, but that is not universally true. The complete list of base virtual key code is to be found on keys.h. Because of this reliance on OS-defined virtual keys, many letters in your native alphabet cannot be used, though for characters that are entered directly with a key on your keyboard, it may be possible (with some effort) to determine the virtual key number for the key. (Some hints are given in the Notepad++ Community Forum at this post and this other post.)


When not empty, this node is made of <Macro> nodes, each of which represents an individual macro. Each <Macro> holds a non-empty list of <Action> tags which represent individual macro steps. These steps are either Scintilla commands or Notepad++ commands, not raw keystrokes. For more details on macro recording, see Macros.

Attributes for the <Macro> node

Position Name Value format Meaning
1 name string The name of the macro. Several macros may have the same name
2 Ctrl “yes”/“no” The key being mapped to has the Control modifier
3 Alt “yes”/“no” The key being mapped to has the Alt modifier
4 Shift “yes”/“no” The key being mapped to has the Shift modifier
5 Key integer The base virtual key number, in the 1..255 range
6 FolderName string [optional] Can be used to group one or more macros into a named sub-menu (new to v8.4.8)

Note: FolderName can only be entered by hand-editing the shortcuts.xml file; it is not available in the Shortcut Mapper or any other GUI element.

Although it is possible for several macros to share the same name or shortcut, this practice is highly discouraged.

Attributes for the <Action> tag

Position Name Value format Meaning
1 type integer 0 for Scintilla messages that do not pass a string as second parameter
1 for Scintilla messages that pass a string as second parameter
2 for Notepad++ defined commands
3 for search and replace recording
2 message integer 0 if type=2, otherwise use the message id
3 wParam integer Command id when type=2 or type=3, else actual first parameter of the message. Use 0 if the message or command doesn’t require a wParam.
4 lParam integer 0 unless type=0 and the second parameter of the message is actually used, or scalar value used when type=3.
5 sParam string "" unless type=1 or type=3, in which case this is the string pointed by the second parameter of the message.

The full list of Scintilla messages for type=0 and type=1 Scintilla messages, as well as a concise documentation, can be found in Scintilla.iface. More details on those messages can be found in the Scintilla Docs. You can use any Scintilla message that does not return a value, that passes an integer in wParam, and uses either an integer or string in lParam. There are some messages that require strings in the wParam, or various data structures in one or both parameters: those will not work in a macro. (For more on the messaging system, see Plugin Communication.)

Each type=2 message runs a corresponding menu entry from Notepad++'s menu system. The wParam command IDs for type=2 Notepad++ messages can be found as the IDM constants in the source file menuCmdID.h, or you can look at the localization\English.xml (or your language of choice), which lists the <Item id="..."> next to the text of the command (as it is labeled in the localized menu system); the value of the id attribute is the “command ID” for that menu command, which is used as the wParam command ID for the type=2 macro command.

For type=3 search-and-replace macros, see the detailed description in “Searching > Searching actions when recorded as macros”.

If your automation task requires conditional execution, counters, variables, using the results of one action to influence the next, or other complex behavior, the macro system will not be sufficient for your needs: you will need a Plugin: there are scripting plugins available in Plugins Admin that allow automating Notepad++ with the full power of a variety of programming languages behind them, or you might find a pre-existing plugin that already accomplishes your automation task, or you could write your own plugin).


When not empty, this node contains <Command> tags, which have the command string as contents. Their order is reflected in the Run menu, otherwise it doesn’t matter.

Attributes for the <Command> tag

Position Name Value format Meaning
1 name string The name of the Run command.
2 Ctrl “yes”/“no” The key mapped to has the Control modifier
3 Alt “yes”/“no” The key mapped to has the Alt modifier
4 Shift “yes”/“no” The key mapped to has the Shift modifier
5 Key integer The base virtual key number, in the 1 - 255 range
6 FolderName string Can be used to group one or more Run menu entries into a named sub-menu (new to v8.4.8)

Note: FolderName can only be entered by hand-editing the shortcuts.xml file; it is not available in the Shortcut Mapper or any other GUI element.

Although it is possible for several commands to have the same name, this is confusing and thus discouraged.

The run command may contain any valid command for the Windows OS. If you use a command that can be found in your PATH (like cmd.exe), then you don’t need to specify the full path to the command. If it’s not in your path, then you should specify the full path. Note that Windows will launch your default browser if you put a URL in this. If the command, or one of its arguments, has an embedded space, then put quotes around it (like you would for any command line environment). For example, <Command name="Run Putty" ... >"c:\program files\putty\putty.exe" -ssh -load "my session"</Command> shows the quotes around the executable and one of the arguments, because both have spaces. (That same command in the Run-menu’s Run… action dialog would need to be "c:\program files\putty\putty.exe" -ssh -load "my session" to encapsulate all the paths with spaces inside double-quotes.)

There are a number of Notepad++-specific variables available, which are accessed in the form $(VARIABLE_NAME), which can be used to supply portions of the command entry (whether creating the command in the shortcuts.xml or through the Run > Run… entry).

Variable Description Example
FULL_CURRENT_PATH The full path to the active file E:\My Web\main\welcome.html
CURRENT_DIRECTORY The active file’s directory E:\My Web\main
FILE_NAME The active file’s name welcome.html
NAME_PART The filename without extension welcome
EXT_PART The extension (with the .) .html
CURRENT_WORD the active selection in Notepad++, or the word under the caret
CURRENT_LINE the line number where the caret is currently located in the editor window 1
CURRENT_LINESTR the text of the current line (added v8.3.2) The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
CURRENT_COLUMN the column number where the caret is currently located in the editor window 5
NPP_DIRECTORY the directory where the notepad++.exe executable is located c:\Program Files\notepad++
NPP_FULL_FILE_PATH the full path to the notepad++.exe c:\Program Files\notepad++\notepad++.exe

If the variable contains one or more space characters in the path, like $(FULL_CURRENT_PATH) being C:\Path With Spaces\Goes\Here.txt, then you should include quotes around the variable, like "c:\Program Files\App Name\blah.exe" "$(FULL_CURRENT_PATH)"

If you want access to a Windows environment variable (like TMP), use the standard %-notation for Windows variables (like %TMP%). If the variable references a path with one or more spaces in the name, then putting quotes around environment variables is required: for example, if %TMP% is defined as C:\Users\First Last\Temp\, then you will need to use C:\AppDir\blah.exe "%TMP%" as your command.

v8.5.3 shortcuts.xml updates

In Notepad++ v8.5.2 and earlier, if you had a “special character” in your macro or run-menu command – whether it was in the name of the macro/command or in text that it uses – then inside the XML, it would be stored as an XML entity. For example, would be stored as &#x263a; or π as &#x03C0; .

In Notepad++ v8.5.3, it changed to storing those characters as actual UTF-8 encoded characters, and it treats nearly all entities as raw text. Thus, &#x03C0; is interpreted by v8.5.3 (and newer) as 8 characters, not an entity-representation of the underlying character.

There are still a small number of entities that will be recognized inside macros, even in v8.5.3 and newer:

  • The 5 predefined XML named-entities: &amp; &lt; &gt; &apos; &quot;

  • Any of the hexadecimal entities that only include two hex digits, like &#x0D; and &#x0A; for CR and LF, and &#x22; for double-quotes. This notation works for all ASCII codepoints from 1 (&#x01; for the SOH character) through 127 (&#x7F; for the DEL character)

This change in interpretation may make it so your old macros or run-menu commands don’t work as expected. You can follow the instructions in the Notepad++ Community Forum FAQ entry to see how to update your shortcuts.xml to be compatible with Notepad++ v8.5.3 and newer.

User Interface settings: config.xml

The following sections are defined:

  1. <GUIConfigs>: user interface settings (usually set in the Settings > Preferences).
  2. <FindHistory>: most of the latest state of the Find/Replace dialog box.
  3. <History>: the list of recently used files.
  4. <ProjectPanels>: associates workspace files with a given project panel

There are some non-UI options for advanced users, please check Preferences for Advanced Users to get more details.

Keyword lists: langs.xml

This file contains the keyword lists for syntax highlighting languages.

Attributes for the <Language> node

Position Name Value format Meaning
1 name string The name of the language.
2 ext string The list of file extensions associated to this language by default. Lists are space separated, without leading periods.
3 commentLine string The character(s) that prelude a comment extending to the end of the physical line. Use "” if the feature is not supported.
4 commentStart string The character(s) that start a block comment. Use "” if the feature is not supported.
5 commentEnd string The character(s) that end a block comment. Use "” if the feature is not supported.
6 exclude “yes”/“no” Set to yes” to remove from the Language menu, else “no” or no attribute.
7 tabSettings integer If present, the value encodes the number of spaces a tab is equivalent to: value + 128 if the Replace tabs vy spaces is checked, else raw value. The default value of 4 is used if attribute is absent.

Inside each of the languages, you could add keywords. However, it’s better to use Settings > Style Configurator and make use of the user-defined keywords box for a given category (when available). These user-defined keywords are stored in stylers.xml (described below).

The order of the ext list here determines the order of extensions in the file-type pulldowns of the Windows-common-dialogs like Open, Save, and Save As dialogs. The automatically-added extension will be the first extension from this ext list.

The commentLine, commentStart, and commentEnd attributes are used by the Edit Menu‘s Comment/Uncomment actions for adding or removing the comment syntax to the selected lines of text. These are independent of the selected programming Language‘s syntax lexer, so changing these attributes will not affect what code sections will get highlighted as comments by the active syntax highlighter. (Because of the way the Scintilla library that Notepad++ uses for the lexers, in order to change what gets highlighted as a comment, one would need to edit and re-compile the lexer for the chosen and then rebuild the Notepad++ project; in other words, it would have to be changed by the developers for a new release, not changed by the user in the langs.xml configuration file.) These attributes can only define one type of line and block comments; if your language has multiple types of either, you will have to choose the one type that you’d like Comment/Uncomment to work with.

Highlighting schemes: stylers.xml

This file sets the color scheme for the default theme. The other themes are stored in themes\*.xml, which follow the same format at stylers.xml. In general, use Settings > Style Configurator for easier maintenance of styles.

Each lexer type has its own <LexerType> section, with multiple <WordsStyle> entries. Each lexer from the Language menu has it’s own list of available <WordsStyle> entries. Trying to add a new <WordsStyle> to a lexer to try to get more categories of keywords will not be successful, because the underlying code which does the syntax highlighting has no internal rules for mapping the entries found to that style.

If you have added user-defined keywords in the Settings > Style Configurator, they will be stored as the contents of the <WordsStyle>, as a space-separated list (for example, <WordsStyle>fancyKeyword1 fancyKeyword2</WordsStyle>).

The <WordsStyle> fontStyle attribute encodes the setting of the Bold, Italic, and Underline checkboxes from the Styler dialog, using the sum of Italic=1, Bold=2, and Underline=4 (so something with all three checkboxes set would have fontStyle="7").

The <WordsStyle> colorStyle attribute decides whether to use the defined colors from fgColor and bgColor attributes, or to use the default color setting (from Settings > Style Configurator > Global Styles > Default Style). The attribute should be set to one of the following:

  • No colorStyle attribute: this style will use both the fgColor and bgColor attributes from this <WordsStyle> item (standard behavior)
  • Set colorStyle="2": this style will inherit the foreground color from the Default style, and use the bgColor value as the background color (equivalent to right-clicking the foreground color in the UDL styler dialog box)
  • Set colorStyle="1": this style will inherit the background color from the Default style, and use the fgColor value as the background color (equivalent to right-clicking the background color in the UDL styler dialog box)
  • Set colorStyle="0": this style will inherit both the foreground and background colors from the Default style (equivalent to right-clicking both the foreground and background colors in the UDL styler dialog box)

Function List

Defines what counts as a “function” for View > Function List. There are some comments in the file(s), and lots of examples of the builtin languages, which you can customize.

Function List Definitions

The functionList folder contains a separate XML file (function list parse rule) for each language’s function list capability. Each function list parse rule links to a language with the language default name. For example the file name of php language parse rule is php.xml, the file name of Java language parse rule is java.xml, Check overrideMap.xml for the naming list of all supported programming languages.

overrideMap.xml is optional. When you need to override a default parser rule or to define a function list parser for your User Defined Language (UDL), you modify this file.

  • Override a default parser rule examples
<association id= "anotherPhpParser.xml"			 langID= "1" />
<association id= "myPerlRule.xml"			 langID= "21"/>

If 2 above lines are in overrideMap.xml, function list will load your parsers anotherPhpParser.xml and myPerlRule.xml instead of loaoding php.xml and perl.xml while showing PHP and Perl function list respectively.

  • Define your UDL example
<association id= "krl.xml"				userDefinedLangName="KRL"/>

Here you define a parser rule file name for your KRL UDL. While you open a file which is recognized as KRL file, then function list engin will load functionList\krl.xml to show the KRL function list. If you have no KRL UDL defined in your Notepad++, you have to define a dummy one (with the name “KRL”) to make it work.

The functionList\_languagename_.xml parser file itself, whether it’s for a builtin language or a UDL-based language, requires the structure <NotepadPlus><functionList><parser...>...</parser></functionList></NotepadPlus>, where the attributes and contents of the <parser> are described in the documents section about How to Customize Function List. You can look at any of the default parser files for examples of working Function List configurations.

For plain text files (ones with Language > None (Normal Text) selected), you can have a function list definition in functionList\normal.xml, or you can use langID="0" in your functionList\overrideMap.xml to assign it to some other file. For example, if you’ve defined your normal-text functions in functionList\someOtherNormalText.xml, you would use the following override:

<association id= "someOtherNormalText.xml"			 langID= "0" />

Upgrading old Function List entries

If you previously had a v7.9-or-earlier style function list entry in functionList.xml, and you want to use it in a modern v8.x version of Notepad++, you can extract the pieces to the right locations in the new multi-file format:

  1. Open the old functionList.xml
  2. Open the functionList\overrideMap.xml
  3. Copy the <association...> tag from the old functionList.xml to the functionList\overrideMap.xml, and place near the end of the <associationMap> section. Make sure it follows the rules for modern <association> tag syntax
  4. Open the functionList\blah.xml for your particular language
    • If you don’t have blah.xml yet, copy another language’s XML file from the most-recent Notepad++ version to blah.xml, and remove the whole <parser...> ... </parser> section
  5. Copy the <parer...>...</parser> section from the old functionList.xml to the functionList\blah.xml
    • Please note that the blah.xml should not contain a <parsers> section, just the <parser> section. It will cause problems with the Function List if you wrap it in the <parsers>...</parsers> block. Make sure it ends up with the structure described above.

Toolbar Icon Customization: toolbarIcons.xml

This configuration file allows you to override the current toolbar icons. (New to v8.4.2) This allows you do define your own set of icons to use on the toolbar, and is useful (for example) if none of the five different icon sets available through Settings > Preferences > General > Toolbar are sufficient for your needs.

Aside from the toolbarIcons.xml file, you need to create icons. You will populate and place the configuration file and icon files as described below:

  1. Put the file toolbarIcons.xml (Note 1) in the main configuration folder (Note 2).
  2. Create a new sub-folder called toolbarIcons\ in that same folder.
  3. Edit the file toolbarIcons.xml: put the icon set name you want in the icoFolderName attribute (Note 3). for example: <ToolBarIcons icoFolderName="myAwesomeIcons" />
  4. Go into toolbarIcons\ folder and create a new folder with the exact name of the icon set name you provided in icoFolderName, for example [toolbarIcons.xml's folder]\toolbarIcons\myAwesomeIcons\.
  5. Put all your customized icons into [toolbarIcons.xml's folder]\toolbarIcons\myAwesomeIcons\.
  6. Now it is the magic moment: Relaunch Notepad++ and you’ll see your icon set instead of the default icons.
    • This overrides the icons for any of the Settings > Preferences > General > Toolbar icon-set selections.
    • If you have Settings > Preferences > General > Toolbar set to any of the three “small” choices, it will scale the icon to 16x16; if you use one of the two “large” choices, it will scale to 32x32. So if you are going to use a “large” icon set, you should make sure the icons are defined as 32x32.
    • The v8.4.2 release page allows you to download a bundle that contains the legacy 32x32 icon set along with the necessary toolbarIcons.xml; unzip that bundle into the directory described on that page (equivalent to the main configuration folder [Note 2]), restart Notepad++, and you will have the old 32x32 “standard (large)” icons back.
    • Troubleshooting: if you started Notepad++ with one of the “small” choices selected but have 32x32 icons in your custom icons, it will scale them to 16x16, which is fine for small modes; but if you switch to a “large” option, it might scale the 16x16 back to 32x32 rather than using the true-32x32 from the icon file, which makes for a pixelated (“klunky”) large icon: if this happens, leave it with “large” selected, then exit Notepad++ completely and restart: on the subsequent starts, it will use the full 32x32 resolution.


  • Note 1: The content of toolbarIcons.xml is as follows:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
        <ToolBarIcons icoFolderName="myAwesomeIcons" />
  • Note 2: This is the same folder descibed in Configuration Files Locations where config.xml goes, and will generally be the %APPDATA%\Notepad++\ directory, unless you are using local configuration or cloud configuration or overriding the configuration directory with -settingsDir.

  • Note 3: If the icoFolderName value is an empty string, the path of icons will be [toolbarIcons.xml's folder]\toolbarIcons\default\ folder.

Set of Icons

For each of the 45 toolbar icons that can be customized, use the specific file name listed below. (Some toolbar buttons have two icons, one for when the button is enabled and one when the button is disabled.)

index Normal icon Disabled icon
1 new.ico
2 open.ico
3 save.ico save_disabled.ico
4 save-all.ico save-all_disabled.ico
5 close.ico
6 close-all.ico
7 print.ico
8 cut.ico cut_disabled.ico
9 copy.ico copy_disabled.ico
10 paste.ico paste_disabled.ico
11 undo.ico undo_disabled.ico
12 redo.ico redo_disabled.ico
13 find.ico
14 replace.ico
15 zoom-in.ico
16 zoom-out.ico
17 sync-vertical.ico
18 sync-horizontal.ico
19 word-wrap.ico
20 all-chars.ico
21 indent-guide.ico
22 udl-dlg.ico
23 doc-map.ico
24 doc-list.ico
25 function-list.ico
26 folder-as-workspace.ico
27 monitoring.ico monitoring_disabled.ico
28 record.ico record_disabled.ico
29 stop-record.ico stop-record_disabled.ico
30 playback.ico playback_disabled.ico
31 playback-multiple.ico playback-multiple_disabled.ico
32 save-macro.ico save-macro_disabled.ico

It’s not necessary to have a complete set of 45 icons in the directory: any icons not in the directory will just use the built-in icon instead.

You can have multiple icon set directories; to switch between icon sets, you just edit the icoFolderName, save the config file, and relaunch Notepad++.

Other Configuration Files

  • asNotepad.xml: This is a zero-byte file that is used as an indicator to Notepad++. When this file is present, Notepad++ will run as if the -multiInst -nosession -notabbar command line options were used, allowing you to focus on editing a single file at a time. (But please note that opening or creating a file from one of those “single file” instances will still allow you to have multiple files open in that instance of Notepad++, even when there is no tabbar to show them to you; you can navigate to the other files by the Window menu, View > Tab…, and their equivalents.) This config file must go in the Notepad++ installation folder; it will not be recognized in the %AppData%\Notepad++ hierarchy or in the cloud settings folder.

  • autoCompletion\*.xml: Files for defining per-language auto-completion. This config folder must go in the Notepad++ installation folder; it will not be recognized in the %AppData%\Notepad++ hierarchy or in the cloud settings folder.

  • cloud\choice file: If this folder and file are present, the file contains the path to the Cloud folder. This config file is created when you define the Cloud preferences. If you are in a normal installation, this config file will be %AppData%\Notepad++\cloud\choice; if it is deleted from there, Notepad++ will not look for <installdir>\cloud\choice. If you are in a portable / local configuration (doLocalConf.xml exists), it will be in <portable>\cloud\choice.

  • disableLineCopyCutDelete.xml: This is a zero-byte file that is used as an indicator to Notepad++ to not enable the context-aware “line copy / cut / delete” feature in v8.6.1. This file needs to be in %AppData%\Notepad++\ for a normal installation, and in the portable directory for a local configuration. The only version of Notepad++ to pay attention to this file is v8.6.1; in earlier or later versions, this file is ignored and meaningless. (It was added because v8.6 had some strange behavior with the context-aware Cut/Copy/Paste, so v8.6.1 added a workaround for that difficulty by allowing users who had problems with it to disable the context-aware actions. However, v8.6.2 fixed the underlying bug, so this workaround was no longer necessary and hence removed.)

  • doLocalConf.xml: This is a zero-byte file that is used as an indicator to notepad++.exe to not go looking for %AppData%. This will only exist on local installations of Notepad++ (when you tell the installer to not use %AppData%, or when you install from the zipfile, or when you manually create the zero-byte file). This config file must go in the Notepad++ installation folder; it will not be recognized in the %AppData%\Notepad++ hierarchy or in the cloud settings folder.

  • enableSelectFgColor.xml: This is a zero-byte file that is just used as an indicator to the Settings > Style Configurator > Global Styles > Selected text color to honor the foreground color, not just the background color. This config file must go in the Notepad++ installation folder; it will not be recognized in the %AppData%\Notepad++ hierarchy or in the cloud settings folder. (Available on v8.0.0 and newer.)

  • nativeLang.xml: If you make a selection in the Settings > Preferences > General > Localization, Notepad++ will copy the appropriate localization\*.xml to nativeLang.xml.

  • noColumnToMultiSelect.xml: This is a zero-byte file that is used as an indicator to Notepad++ to not enable the column-mode to multi-edit conversion feature (new to v8.6.1). This file needs to be in %AppData%\Notepad++\ for a normal installation and in the portable directory for a local configuration. Starting in v8.6.3, this zero-byte file was replaced by Settings > Preferences > Editing 2 > ☐ Enable Column Selection to Multi-Editing; if you used noColumnToMultiSelect.xml in v8.6.1-v8.6.2, to maintain the same behavior, you will need to make sure the new setting is not checkmarked; as of v8.6.3, this file is ignored and does nothing.

  • noEasterEggs.xml: This is a zero-byte file that is used as an indicator to notepad++.exe to not show the “Easter Eggs” when trying to access the About Notepad++ dialog (accessed from the ? menu or the default keyboard shortcut F1). This config file must go in the Notepad++ installation folder; it will not be recognized in the %AppData%\Notepad++ hierarchy or in the cloud settings folder. You can find out more about the Easter Eggs in the Command Line Options and Ghost Typing descriptions.

  • noRestartAutomatically.xml: Starting in Notepad++ v8.5.8, Notepad++ is a Restarable App. If you would like to disable Notepad++ from being restartable, add an empty config file called noRestartAutomatically.xml into %APPDATA%\Notepad++\ (for normal installations) or the Notepad++ installation directory (for other configuration settings). If that file exists, and you’d like Notepad++ to be restartable again, just delete that file.

  • nppLogNulContentCorruptionIssue.xml: This is a zero-byte file that allows Notepad++ to write a logfile to %AppData%\Notepad++\nppLogNulContentCorruptionIssue.log in the case of certain crashes, which can help the developers debug issues resulting from the crash. If you want to prohibit that logfile from being created, delete this config file; but that will mean that you will not be able to provide the useful information to the developers if a crash causes issues for you; delete at your own risk. This config file must go in the Notepad++ installation folder; it will not be recognized in the %AppData%\Notepad++ hierarchy or in the cloud settings folder. (New to v8.1.9.3.)

  • nppLogNetworkDriveIssue.xml: This is a zero-byte file that allows Notepad++ to write a logfile to c:\temp\nppLogNetworkDriveIssue.log in the case of certain network drive issues. (New to v8.1.9.3.)

    • This should be used if you are getting “This file has been modified by another program” when dealing with network drives (like a Samba server, or other filesystems access by \\machinename\path\).
    • Create this zero-byte file either next to notepad++.exe or in the %AppData%\Notepad++ directory.
    • Create directory c:\temp\ if it doesn’t exist.
    • Start notepad++.exe, and wait until you get the file status (timestamp) detection error from the network drive.
    • If the errors occur, there should be some trace in “C:\temp\nppLogNetworkDriveIssue.log”.
    • This log can be shared with the developers to help them improve Notepad++'s network handling (create an issue here and attach the logfile along with your other details).
  • session.xml: Stores the current session information. Overwritten on every exit of Notepad++ if Settings > Preferences > Backup > Remember current session for next launch is enabled. If you want sessions that you control, use File > Save Session… to save it; the file is safe to edit; and you can reload that session at any time using File > Load Session…. This config file is confusing for its location: a normal installation will keep it in %AppData%\Notepad++\; and the -settingsDir will specify the folder where it will live; a portable installation (one with doLocalConf.xml) will keep session.xml in the same directory as notepad++.exe; but if you use the Cloud settings, session.xml will not honor that directory, and will instead go in either the AppData or the portable location.

  • userDefineLang.xml and userDefineLangs\*.xml: Configuration location for the User Defined Languages feature.

  • v852NoNeedShortcutsBackup.xml: Tracks whether your macros definitions in shortcuts.xml have been updated per the v8.5.3 rules

    • This file is created the first time you save a recorded macro after upgrading from Notepad++ v8.5.2 (or older) to Notepad++ v8.5.3 (or newer)
    • When this file is created, it will also create shortcuts.xml.v8.5.2.backup
    • After this file is created, Notepad++ won’t check any more whether shortcuts.xml has been updated
    • See v8.5.3 shortcuts.xml updates (above) and this Notepad++ Community FAQ entry for more details

Validating Config-File XML

If you are developing a config file by editing the raw XML file and would like to be able to validate that you have correct XML syntax while you are doing so, you can see the instructions in the [Notepad++ Community “Validating Config-File XML” FAQ]( “Community Forum FAQ Desk: Validating Config-File XML).