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Ever find you can't use "Edit>Go To" in Notepad? Turn off wrapping

Note: This blog post is from 2008. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
Just a quick tip for some readers: if you find yourself using the built-in Windows NotePad editor, you may want to use the Edit>Go To command to jump to a line. But sometimes it's greyed out. What gives?

Turns out it's pretty simple: just turn off wrapping (Format>Word Wrap). Doh! I've missed it for years, so am passing it along.

I know some will want to jump in and say "why are you using NotePad anyway?" Please save the smart remarks (and let's see if someone skips reading this and comments anyway).

I'm well aware of the many alternative text editors, as well as alternative file viewers (two of over 100 categories in my CF411 list).

But there are times when one may find themselves working on a Windows server where perhaps they're not free to install an alternative editor, or perhaps they just need to view/edit one file quickly so don't want to bother.

For those folks, I hope the tip above may help.

For more content like this from Charlie Arehart: Need more help with problems?
  • If you may prefer direct help, rather than digging around here/elsewhere or via comments, he can help via his online consulting services
  • See that page for more on how he can help a) over the web, safely and securely, b) usually very quickly, c) teaching you along the way, and d) with satisfaction guaranteed
Why are you using notepad anyway? ;)
# Posted By rob | 12/19/08 3:38 PM
Did you know you download Notepad++ to use instead? ;)
# Posted By James M | 12/19/08 3:41 PM
James and Rob, you guys failed the test! Please read past the first two paragraphs. :-) Thanks.
thanks guys! i just used this trick at work. i couldnt get my notepad to work either.
# Posted By Heidi | 12/22/08 9:50 AM
Hi Charlie; looks like you need to escape the > in your title tag for this post
# Posted By duncan | 12/31/08 7:00 AM
@Heidi, so glad I could help. Yes, it stumped me for a couple of years, too. Finally decided to spend some time googling to find the answer, then shared it.

@Duncan, thanks for that. No one else had noticed, and I didn't either, until I visited the site and saw that it was making the page render just a little funny. Got it sorted. (While BlogCFC does translate html character entities in the body of a post, it just didn't do it for the blog title, at least in the old version 5.005 version I still run.)
Yeesh, it's the simple things that will get ya! THANKS! I'm exactly the user who has to use notepad at times on a remote server. I'm still going to work on getting a better editor on the server (doubtful), but meanwhile this is one less inconvenience!
# Posted By Bonnie | 1/1/09 8:58 PM
@Bonnie, great to hear. Thanks for the feedback. As for the other editors, I hope you caught my link to several alternatives, most of them free. When you say "doubtful", is it that you think someone will be against installing an editor on the server? Some are really (really) lightweight and very safe. Still, I understand the challenges. Hope the list is helpful. Cheers.
Thanks man. Works for Find and replace too which is what I was looking for.
# Posted By Nicko | 1/23/14 10:56 PM
Charlie, thank you so much for your help !
I thought it was one of those things Windows implements to torture us..., just like "You could do it but no more now !"
# Posted By Dave Brubeck | 3/9/16 1:01 AM
Thank you very much, sir! I was in WTH mode, too! LOL.
# Posted By Krobar | 10/30/17 8:10 AM
Glad to help. And just goes to show that even very old blog posts can still be valuable (as this problem is unchanged even in recent Windows releases).

It's shocking how many warts are in Notepad (like it still forcing saving and opening of txt files by default, and having no "recent files" list, and not being able to recognize linux CRLF codes, all of which Wordpad has been able to do for years!)
Thanks! Still helped, in 2k19
# Posted By Lucian | 7/25/19 2:42 PM
Sweet. Glad to have helped.
Wow.. really.. just because of word wrap we can't go to some line. Is this a joke... Oh come on Microsoft :')

Anyway thanks for letting me know...

Notepad is very fast to use just to open simple text file. G/VIM is better if I need bigger txt based file. well...
Oh, if we want throw shade on Notepad, there are plenty of other ways it's still shockingly hamstrung in 2021--13 years after this post.

The first few are handled by even lowly WordPad:

- Notepad still defaults to saving as txt extension. Same with its open file dialog
- it still offers no "recent files" menu option
- it still can't handle rendering Linux line-end chars (which can occur even in files on Windows, such as Java config files, xml files)

Then there things that other editors running on Windows (even free ones) have done for years:

- Notepad is still slow to load files of more than just a few megs
- It still has no option to show line numbers
- It's still not a multi-document interface (mdi) offering tabbed display for more than one file
- It still can't handle when a user can't save a file due to permissions, offering an option to re-launch itself as admin

I'm sure there are still more things that even I hit, let alone that others might think of.

And again, some will say "if you want a better editor, just get one of the many free alternatives". The problem is that there can be many reasons it may not be trivial or even possible to add third-party software, especially on servers or in some orgs (whether security, conformance, disabled net access, and more).

So it would be nice if MS would throw us all a bone and add just these few things above in lowly Notepad. I hit them daily in my remote server troubleshooting consulting with folks, and of course those folks hit them on their servers.

This is NOT about "making Notepad into an IDE" nor should it "bloat it" to taking "many more megs"...and seriously, what modern machine doesn't regard megs (of disk or ram) as like pennies? Sadly, I doubt anyone from MS will see this, and if they did I doubt this will change. It's like someone has "put Baby in a corner", to quote the old movie line.

Until things change, I load Notepad++ on every machine (servers and workstations/laptops), to help manage logs, config files, light editing, etc. There are still others, and I understand that most developers will lean toward their favored IDE...these days VSCode for most. Again, the power it offers by way of "all its available extensions" is rather more a negative for a "simple server editor".

So again for "light housework", we can expect more out of lowly Notepad, especially for those who can't load a better editor--and shouldn't need to for such basic operations.
Thanks for reaching back Mr. Arehart, well.. for me I always install GVIM on most instance because when the file is really big on some server, well GVIM is better, and left small memory footprint on server.

Anyway NPP/Notepad++ is good, also you can try Notepad2, I use it on some ocassion if the windows machine really ancient like some use Win 2000 or XP (some client with multi vendor still use decades old machine, well..)
Sure, and please call me Charlie. :-) There are of course many editor options. I keep a list of those that you (and I) mentioned, and more, at https://www.cf411.co...
This is a life saver post. Thanks so much!!
# Posted By MK | 12/9/21 4:36 PM
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