I frequently open files with the Notepad applet that comes with Microsoft Windows 7. Some files simply do not need to be opened with a word processor. But going through the motions of starting Notepad and then opening the file can be tiresome (at least when you are doing this all day).

You can apply a simple registry hack that will add a new right-click menu entry for opening files in Notepad. I assume having quick access to Notepad is just the ticket for those frequent users of the tool. With that in mind, let’s add the entry.

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Standard registry warnings

The Windows Registry file is an integral part of the operating system. A corrupted Registry could prevent your system from booting, so before you make any edits, back up your Registry file.

Adding the Notepad entry

Now that the Registry is backed up, it’s time to tweak the Windows Registry file to create a Notepad entry in the right-click menu. Here’s how this is done.

Step 1: Navigate to the correct key

Click the Start Button and type regedit in the search box and then click the regedit.exe entry. With the registry open, navigate to the following key:


Step 2: Create the new keys

Right-click on the “shell” entry in the left navigation area and select New | Key and name the new key “Open With Notepad.”

Now right-click the Open With Notepad key and select New | Key and name this new key “command” (Figure A).

Figure A

Create the Open With Notepad key.

Click on the newly created command key and, in the right pane, double-click the “default” entry. When the new window opens, add the following as the Value Data string:

notepad.exe %1

Click OK and close the registry editor.

Now it’s time to test the new feature. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to a location that holds files that could be opened with Notepad. Right-click on the file, and the new menu entry for Open With Notepad will be available (Figure B).

Figure B

You can actually name this what you want when you create the registry key earlier.

Final thoughts

Naturally this is going to really apply only to those users who frequently open files in Notepad. But this also illustrates how you can easily create other right-click menu entries for other file types. Just create as many keys as you need (in the same way you created the key for Notepad). This addition to the right-click menu in Explorer (and any other you create like it) will make your day-to-day life in Windows much more efficient.