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  • 5 Cool Tricks with Notepad.exe
Technology Articles > Software > Development > 5 Cool Tricks with Notepad.exe

Ever since Windows 1.0, Notepad.exe has been the plain text editor of choice for PC users. Developers and coders especially appreciate Notepad.exe for its lightweight form factor and it’s no frills approach to text editing. But even though Notepad.exe is loved for its simplicity, there are some advanced features built-in to Notepad.exe that most user don’t know about. Check out some of the top five cool things you can do with Notepad.exe below.

Insert a Timestamp

For logs, diaries, journals or other types of documents where it might be handy to know the exact time and date, inserting a timestamp is a handy feature. To insert the time and date into a Notepad document, simply press F5 and it’ll be inserted at the cursor. You can also click Edit? Time/Date.
Read from Right-to-Left

Some languages are read from right-to-left. Notepad.exe supports these languages by allowing you to switch your reading direction on the fly. To change to right-to-left reading order, simply open a Notepad document and right-click in the editing area. Choose Right-to-left Reading Order.

Note that if you’re typing in English, your words will still appear left to right within the sentence, though punctuation will trail off from right to left and your text will be right-aligned. But if you switch to a language that uses right-to-left reading, such as Hebrew, it will appear in the correct direction for native readers.

Automatically Insert Time and Date

For text documents that are opened by system operations, you can make Notepad.exe automatically insert a timestamp by inserting the word “.LOG” at the top of the document. This has to be in the very first line for it to work. Now, when you open the Notepad file, Notepad.exe will automatically insert the time and date on the next available line. This is great for keeping track of time or creating error logs and time sensitive reporting.

Customize the Footer and Header

Notepad.exe files can be printed off, and although it’s not apparent in the file itself, you can add a custom header and footer. Click File and choose Page Setup… to access these options. In this pane, you’ll see a field for header and a field for footer. Type in the text you’d like to appear in the header and footer here. You can also add dynamic text, such as &d for the date and &p for the page number. To center the text, type &c.

Go To Line

For coders, the first clue you get for errors is the line on which the error occurred. If you’re using Notepad.exe, debugging is made easier thanks to the Go To… command, which can be accessed by pressing CTRL-G or by clicking Edit and choosing Go To… You can type in the line number and your cursor will automatically jump to it. Note that Word Wrap must be turned off for this to work.

As you can see, you can teach an old dog new tricks, at least when it comes to Notepad.exe. Try these tricks out yourself and impress your friends.