Notepad++ is a great editing tool for web developers. I know many, including myself, who use this together with Adobe Dreamweaver for their HTML development because there are just some things that Notepad++ does better than Dreamweaver including syntax colouring and HTML tag  matching.

When you first start using Notepad++, it tries to determine the language of your source code using the filename extension. If you are just using a blank unsaved document, it may just treat your HTML code as plain text, offering no syntax colouring or tag matching. To enable these features, you either need to save your file with a proper filename extension or click on Language and then choose a different language like HTML, PHP, JSP, CSS, JavaScript, XML or SQL to name a few. If you work in HTML a lot, it can become a pain to always have to keep setting the language each time you open a new window.

The good news is that you can change the default file format in Notepad++ to HTML. It's easy. Here's how…

  • Launch Notepad++
  • Click Settings > Preferences
  • Click on the New Document/Default Directory tab
  • Change the Default Language to HTML
  • Click the Close button

From that point on, you will no longer always have to manually set the language to HTML for new documents.

You will still be able to manually change the language anytime to meet your needs and Notepad++ will still automatically detect the programming language of your files based on filename extension.