The View menu controls the look of the Notepad++, including how Notepad++ and the Windows operating system interact, what features and panels are active inside Notepad++, and whether there are one or two Views (visible files) active at the same time.
Many of the entries in the View menu act as settings or toggles, to enable or disable showing some feature. Some of these are remembered every time you run Notepad++, and others are just active for the single session and not remembered – those that are remembered will be marked as ↗.
Choosing Always On Top will make the Windows OS always keep Notepad++ on top of of other windows, even when you give other windows focus. If this is blocking another window you need access to, you can drag one of the windows, or you can disable Always on Top mode and then switch to the blocked window.
Choosing Toggle Full-Screen Mode will cause Notepad++ to take up the full screen, and the title bar and menu bar and tool bar will not be visible. The menu bar will no longer be accessible through Alt-key accelerators, so the Notepad++ menu system cannot be used to get out of this mode; however, there is a little + sign in a box (
⊞) in the upper right which can be used to exit the full-screen mode; alternatively, use the current keyboard shortcut for this toggle action (the default shortcut is
F11), or close Notepad++ with
Alt+F4 or other Windows OS methods of closing applications and then restart Notepad++ (which will come up in normal view again). (To clarify: though Alt-accelerators will not show the menu bar or access the menu bar menus, action shortcuts defined through Shortcut Mapper will still work, even if they use the Alt key.)
Choosing Post-It will get rid of the title bar, menu bar, and tool bar (similar to full-screen mode), but it will maintain the same window size as Notepad++ previously took up, rather than enlarging to take up the whole screen. This mode will also hide the tab bar, so you can focus on working on the single visible tab, though you can still use the tab-switching shortcuts to choose another tab. Like full-screen mode, Post-It mode has the
⊞ in the upper right of the window for leaving this mode, or you can use the shortcut (the default shortcut is
F12) or exit Notepad++ and restart.
Choosing Distraction Free Mode (new to v8.0.0) will combine full-screen mode with Post-It mode, so it will go full screen, and will hide the title bar, menu bar, tool bar, and tab bar; it will also add wide margins within the edit menu, so the text doesn’t go so wide across the full-screen window.
View Current File In…
The View Current File In… sub-menu will launch the current file in a standard web browser (Firefox, Chrome, Edge, or IE). This works best for HTML or other web documents, but text, XML, and other file types can also be viewed in the browser.
The Show Symbol↗ sub-menu will affect whether certain characters are rendered with special glyphs so that they can easily be seen or identified in the editor view, and whether certain tab and wrap guides will be visible.
There are three entries that are grouped together, which can affect the rendering of certain characters with alternate glyphs. Please note that while the characters may be displayed differently in Notepad++, the underlying file has the normal characters encoded per the current Language menu settings. Only one of these three options can be selected (indicated with a check mark
✓) at a given time, and selecting a new option will un-select the old. If you want none of these symbol options, click on the option that is currently selected and it will be turned off (and none of the options will have the check mark
- Show Whitespace and TAB: When selected, the space character will show as a colored dot
·, and the tab as a colored arrow
→that expands to fill the width of the tab.
- Show End of Line: When selected, the carriage return character will be rendered as
CRin a small box, the line feed character as
LF, and a Windows two-character line ending as
CRLF. (The boxed characters are colored as “reverse text”, so the active Global Styles > Default > Foreground colour will fill in the box and the active Global Styles > Default > Background colour will define the boxed-letter’s foreground color.)
- Show All Characters: When selected, this is effectively both Show Whitespace and TAB and Show End of Line at the same time.
When the Show Indent Guide entry is selected, a colored dotted vertical line
⸽ will show where each of the tab stops are located if there are enough tabs or spaces at the start of a given line to go beyond a tab stop (as defined by the per-language Tab settings).
When the Show Wrap Symbol entry is selected and Word Wrap is also enabled, there will be a little colored arrow
↲ on the far edge of the current line if that line has been wrapped.
The Zoom sub-menu will allow you to Zoom In (enlarge the text), Zoom Out (shrink the text), or Restore Default Zoom (which will change the text size back to default settings). These actions all act only on the current View, so if you have two Views visible, only one will be affected. Zooming can also be accomplished by holding down the
Ctrl key and using the mouse wheel to go up (enlarge) or down (shrink).
Move / Clone
The Move/Clone Current Document submenu will allow you to affect where the current document is viewed.
If you Move to Other View, the current file will be moved from one View to the other. If there is currently only one View visible, this command will make the second View visible – it may be to the right, below, to the left, or above the original View, depending on where the second view was last placed. To change the arrangement of the Views, right-click on the dotted bar between the two Views, and Rotate Right or Rotate Left, which will change the orientation from side-to-side to above-and-below. You can also accomplish this Move to Other View by dragging the tab from one View’s tab-bar to the other, or right clicking on the tab and selecting the Move to Other View from that menu.
If you Clone to Other View, the current file will be visible in both Views at the same time.
If the current file is currently not modified (so no unsaved changes), you can also either Move to New Instance or Clone to New Instance, which will move the active file from this instance to a new instance of Notepad++, or make this file open in both the current Notepad++ and a new instance of Notepad++. This will work to create a new instance of Notepad++ even if the Settings > Preferences > Multi-Instance is set to “mono-instance”.
The Tab sub-menu will allow you to navigate through the various open tabs of the active View.
The numbered entries will activate the Nth tab. The Next tab and Previous tab actions will activate the next or previous tab in the list of tabs (wrapping).
The Move Tab Forward and Move Tab Backward will change the current file’s position in the tab list one slot at a time, forward or backward. The tab order can also be changed by dragging the tabs to the new position in the tab-bar.
The Word wrap↗ entry will toggle whether or not long lines will be wrapped in the display, and affects all tabs in both Views.
When this toggle is not set, you will have to use the horizontal scroll bar to the see the whole current line; when the toggle is set, the line will appear to wrap at the end of your current editor view width, but there will be no newline (so if you open the same text file in a different editor, or a different computer’s Notepad++ with different settings, it won’t wrap at that character). Note: The line wraps on whole-word increments when possible, but if the current word is longer than the entire line-length, it will wrap in the middle of the word.
The Focus on Another View action will swap your active focus between the two Views (if both Views are visible).
The Hide Lines action will hide the active line or selected lines, and place symbols in the margin to allow you to unhide those lines. The text is still there when you save, it will just temporarily not be visible while you are editing (until you unhide the text, or re-start Notepad++).
Notepad++ includes a feature for folding of blocks of text. To “fold” text means to temporarily remove from view a block of lines that is hierarchically subordinate to a line directly preceding the block; to “unfold” the text means to reveal that block of text. Another term for folded is “collapsed” and the corresponding term for unfolded is “uncollapsed”. When text lines are folded/collapsed, a horizontal line is drawn across the editor window to indicate that something is not currently being displayed.
Folding is based on the current syntax highlighter lexer for a programming language or User Defined Language (UDL), and the folding follows rules defined in that lexer or UDL. Folding is only possible for file types whose language supports it, when that language’s lexer is active in the Language menu. (For example, the Python lexer defines folding, so you can fold blocks of Python code in Notepad++. On the other hand, the Markdown (preinstalled) UDL that ships with Notepad++ does not define any folding keywords, and so no text will be folded. Similarly, Normal Text has no folding rules and thus cannot be folded.)
For language types that support “code folding”, an additional margin will be created along the left edge of the editing window; this is called the “fold margin”. A fold margin also appears in the “Search results” panel/window when it is shown; here the hierarchy separates the output from previous search runs into groups.
In the fold margin will appear symbols for expansion and contraction of the code hierarchy, according to folding rules for the current language. The symbols that can appear in the margin are:
- An icon with a “-” symbol, meaning unfolded and the line it is on is a possible future fold point
- An icon with a “+” symbol, to signify that some amount of lines below the current line are folded
- Bracketing symbology to show the extent of what could be folded when “-” is the symbol on a foldable “header” line
The exact appearance of the symbols is governed by the Fold Margin Style setting in the Margins/Border/Edge section of the Preferences dialog. The color of the symbols is defined by the Preferences > Style Configurator: select the Global Styles entry in the Language box of the dialog; the Style: selections of Fold, Fold active, and Fold margin will set the colors for the folding symbols and their background, as described in the Global Styles section of this manual. The color of the horizontal line that is seen when the section is collapsed is defined by the Default Style’s foreground color.
If folding blocks are “nested” (contained inside other folding blocks), the outermost block is known as level 1, the block immediately inside that is level 2, and so on.
There is a group of folding-related commands on the View menu, which will allow the folding or unfolding of line-blocks of text:
- Fold All and Unfold All will collapse or reveal all fold blocks in the current file
- Collapse Current Level and Uncollapse Current Level will collapse or reveal the block based on the line of the editing caret
- The entries in the Collapse Level and Uncollapse Level sub-menus will collapse or reveal every block at level N in the active file
Folding/unfolding can be actuated by menu commands on the View menu relating to “fold” or “collapse”, or by any shortcut keys assigned (see the Preferences > Shortcut Mapper). It can also be invoked by using the mouse and clicking on the symbols in the fold margin. Clicking on a “-” symbol will collapse the lines at that level and below so they are no longer shown; clicking on a “+” symbol will expand the fold so such lines will again be displayed.
As folding can be nested there is some remembering of internal fold states while the outer states are manipulated. However, there are some ways to override this behavior:
- Clicking a “-” or “+” fold symbol while holding the
Shiftkey: Any internal folds in the clicked-upon tree will be uncollapsed, so that the whole sub-tree hierarchy will be shown fully expanded; if the tree is already fully expanded,
Shift-clicking the top-level “-” symbol will do nothing
- Clicking a “+” fold symbol while holding the
Ctrlkey: Same as clicking a “+” fold symbol while holding the
- Clicking a “-” fold symbol while holding the
Ctrlkey: Collapses at the line of the click point, and collapses all subordinate/internal fold points as well (although this won’t be revealed to the user until the fold just created is expanded)
The current fold state of lines is not remembered from one Notepad++ run to the next, nor is it saved in the automatic or a manually-saved session file. It is intended to be very temporary. When a file is reloaded by any means it always loads with all lines showing (no “+” will be visible anywhere in the file’s fold margin).
The Summary… action opens a small dialog that lists information about the current file, including the full path, the various file timestamps, and the length in bytes, characters (excluding line endings), number of words, and number of lines.
There are a variety of builtin “panels” (sub-windows) that can be used in Notepad++. These panels can be “docked” (so they appear as part of the main Notepad++ application window) on either the right, left, top, or bottom edges; or they can be made to “float”, so they appear as a separate independent window. Docked panels can be moved easily to another edge, or to floating, by clicking on the panel’s title and dragging it to the new location.
The Document Map↗ item will toggle the display of the Document Map panel, which shows a copy of the file in a tiny font, with a highlighted range to indicate which section of the current file is visible in the editor.
The Document List↗ toggle will display the Document List panel, which lists all the open documents and allows easily switching between them. (Prior to v8.1.3, the panel was known as the Doc Switcher panel and controlled through the General preferences, but that name was confused with the Document Switcher
Ctrl+TAB settings in MISC preferences.) The Document List can be sorted by Name (or Extension or Path, if columns enabled) by left-clicking on the header. To view the extension separately from the filename, right click on the header and enable the Ext. column (as of v8.1.5; prior to that, it was in the General settings). To view the path in Document List panel, right click on the header and enable the Path column (new to v8.1.5).
The Function List↗ toggle will display the Function List panel, which lists the functions, methods, and classes in the current file, and allows easy navigation to those sections of the file by double-clicking in the Function List panel. (The “functions, methods, and classes” are programming terms, but the feature can also be used for listing headings or sections of other structured files, or through config files, can be made to match anything else that you choose to match for indicating “sections” of your text, whatever that happens to mean to you.)
The Synchronize Vertical Scrolling and Synchronize Horizontal Scrolling will allow the two Views to be locked together, so that if you scroll in one view, the other view will also scroll in the same direction. This is useful for comparing two files or comparing two parts of the same file at the same time. By cloning the same file in both views, and locking them at different locations, you can also use Notepad++ like a “newspaper reader”, showing two columns of text simultaneously.
The Text Direction RTL and Text Direction LTR are useful for text that needs to be written Right to Left (RTL), or to switch a file back to Left to Right (LTR) viewing after it had previously been set to RTL. This is especially beneficial for editing Hebrew and Arabic scripts, and any other writing systems that are read Right to Left.
Live File Monitoring
The Monitoring (tail -f) toggle will have Notepad++ watch the current file for live changes in the background, and will update the display as it notices the underlying file change. This puts the file in a de-facto read-only mode, so that the file cannot be edited in Notepad++ as it’s being changed by whatever task is changing the file in the background. This is useful for watching a log file as new lines are added to the end, and is inspired by the Linux command
tail -f which performs a similar function, hence the entry’s name.
The Monitoring feature is also similar to the File Status Auto-Detection settings in the MISC preferences, which influences whether Notepad++ will detect external changes in the open file(s) even without Monitoring enabled.
↗: These indicated settings are remembered from one run of Notepad++ to the next.