- View in browser: You can easily view your open HTML file in a browser by clicking on Run. Choose from IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. Or select Run... and browse to another executable. You can also update the shortcuts.xml file to add another browser, or change the location of a browser executable.
- Basic version control: By turning on Verbose backup (Settings > Backup/Auto-Completion) you can set up Notepad++ to implement very basic revision control. Every time you save a file, Notepad++ will save a "clean" version in a backup sub-folder called nppBackup. That is, the version that you last saved, with none of your recent changes. The backup filename is appended with a date and timestamp so you end up with a new backup for every change. It probably goes without saying that it's a good idea to periodically delete the ones you don't want. Even if you're using some kind of version control this can be useful between check-ins.
- Auto-completion: Whilst you're in the Backup/Auto-Completion screen set it to auto-complete functions.
- Create templates: Notepad++ doesn't have the concepts of templates but I decided to set up my own. I created a templates folder and saved a few varieties of basic HTML files, including DOCTYPE, external CSS and JS calls, and an empty body tag. I did this for XHTML Strict and HTML4 Strict, with variations for JQuery and CSS 960grid. I open the relevant template and then Save As... to create my new file.
- Close tags: You can use TextFX to automatically close any XHTML tags. Go to TextFX > TextFX > Settings > Autoclose XHTML/XML
. There are a whole host of other useful TextFX features, such as converting case and quotes, escaping and unescaping characters, submitting to W3 validators, running HTMLTidy and a whole host of other features I haven't yet found a need for.
- Create new tab group: Similar to Visual Studio's New Vertical Tab Group, you can view documents (or tabbed groups of documents) side-by-side using View > Move/Clone Current Document > Move to Other View. F8 then toggles between these views. Choosing to Clone effectively implements split screen and any changes made to one view of the document will be replicated in the other.
- Use bookmarks to navigate large documents: When reading through large code files I often spend much of my time scrolling between two or more parts of the file. Clicking between the line number and the line adds a bookmark. I can then easily navigate from one bookmark to the next using F2 (down) and Shift+F2 (up).
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
As regular readers will know, I'm a great fan of free software. I use Notepad++ for most of my code editing. Here are a few useful tips and tricks I've picked up along the way. Much of this stuff is standard for a text editor but not necessarily that easy to find in Notepad++.