Adding custom Toolbar options to Notepad++

Developing applications for SharePoint runs an interesting gamut; you have Visual Studio for managed code, SharePoint Designer for customizing sites and even the browser for wiring up solutions and web parts with an AppDev platform like CorasWorks. But for the true, hard-nose developers out there, there’s one other popular tool we use – Notepad++ (Homepage).

If you’re doing any sort of client-side development and you don’t use Notepad++, give it a quick look. The popularity of it really stems from the ease & speed of it; no one claims it’s a premiere IDE but it does provide a great text editor for quick & simple editing of code, script, markup, etc.

One of my most frequent uses for Notepad++ is writing, cleaning and validating XML files; part of what makes Notepad++ appealing is a large catalog of plug-ins, including a very popular one called “XML Tools” (download here). This plugin has some nice features like ‘pretty formatting’ and linearizing XML but they’re buried multiple menu clicks deep, so I dug into the plugin repository and found the “Customize Toolbar” plugin (download here).

Now the magic to make it all work great; the Customize Toolbar plugin allows you to add buttons to the Notepad++ (NPP for short) toolbar for any menu option within your NPP installation, including those of other plugins. It does this via a file called “CustomizeToolbar.btn” that you can edit, even adding your own custom icons for toolbar options. Here’s how:

  1. In Windows Explorer, browse to “C:\Users\<<YourLogin>>\AppData\Roaming\Notepad++\plugins\config”
  2. Open & edit the “CustomizeToolbar.btn” file; if the file doesn’t exist, you can create it.
    Hint, you can use NPP itself to do this ;-)
  3. As an example, here’s how you would add the menu options from the XML Tools plugin I describe above…
Plugins,XML Tools,Pretty print (XML only – with line breaks),,MagicWand.bmp

Plugins,XML Tools,Linarize XML,,Repair.bmp

  1. You can add as many new buttons to the Toolbar as you want simply by putting each one on a new line
  2. Added Bonus – Create/copy any custom icons you want into the same folder listed in Step 1 and reference them as the last comma-delimited parameter like I show above

 

At CorasWorks, we don’t just value efficiency and optimization in the solutions we deliver, but in the way we deliver them – and hopefully tips like these do the same for you!

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