Introduction: How to Add "Open With Notepad" to Right-Click

Picture of How to Add "Open With Notepad" to Right-Click

I personally hate to use "open with" due to the time, even if its only a few seconds, and having to then remember where exactly a certain program is located in my directory.

This will show you how to add ANY program to the Right-Click (Context Menu for all of your Files).

It's Easy, you cant screw it up, and it saves a bunch of time and hassle.

Since we will be dealing with regedit, and not everyone is familiar with it, i will be breaking down the steps to very simple, easy, and concise steps that anyone can follow.

Step 1: First

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Go to Start and open Run

Step 2: Second

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Type in regedit.exe and click OK.

Step 3: Third

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Find and expand (click on the + to the left) HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT

Step 4: Fourth

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Browse down to the * key and expand it (click on the + to the left of the folder)

Step 5: Fifth

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Find the key shell

Step 6: Sixth

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Right Click on the key shell, go to New and create a new Key

Step 7: Seventh

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Name that Key "Open with Notepad"

Right click on the Open with Notepad key and make another Key

Step 8: Eighth

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Name the new Key "command"

Step 9: Ninth

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Click on the command key and double click on 'the (Default) value

Step 10: Tenth

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Type in "notepad.exe %1" There is a space between "notepad.exe" and "%1"

Click on OK

Step 11: Finished

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Close regedit and marvel at the ease of opening text documents!

Effects should occur immediately.


This can be used for any and all programs.

In case you are just completely confused, use the following zip file (which also comes with a handy uninstall) that will change your regedit key accordingly)

Download OpenWithNotepad registry hack


batvanio (author)2016-11-06


OptimalS (author)2016-10-27

why oh why do u use pos windos ,and the 8bit system..oh yeah u want pos

MackieC007 (author)2015-12-19

how do you get shell?

riyer2 (author)2013-08-03

what does the %1 stand for?

NetDex (author)2009-11-24

 Well, the program has to be in system32.

NetDex (author)NetDex2009-11-24

 If you want no path.

wscottc60 (author)2009-07-18

I suppose I should have tried it before I posted the question... It works Great. I Have LONG HATED that waiting thing. Thank you for this VERY handy bit of hackery. Scott C

wscottc60 (author)2009-07-18

Hi there and hello. I am guessing this would work for files with no extension but just to be sure I will ask you first... Can this "hack" be used to 'Open with' files with no extension? Scott C

goeon (author)2009-03-18

sweet it wrks

I3uckwheat (author)2008-10-13

can u make it say open with firefox?

I3uckwheat (author)I3uckwheat2008-10-13

if so can u do it

laminterious (author)I3uckwheat2008-10-16

Yes... just have it open to firefox.exe %1

randomguy96 (author)2008-09-25

it says "cannot create key: you do not have the requisite permissions to create a new key under shell." what should i do?

laminterious (author)randomguy962008-09-26

Ask the administrator of the computer you are using to do it for you with their account?

Arbitror (author)2008-06-07

I have Windows XP Media Edition and there is no shell fro the 5th step! There is only "OpenWithList" and "shellex"!

Mohamed Eltayeb (author)Arbitror2008-06-07

OK no problem! you can create it your self (Shell key)and then follow the rest of the steps...and it will give you the same result... For any extra-info contact me ..

Exactly.. if you dont the shell key, just make the key yourself and it will work.

I3uckwheat (author)2008-06-07

it doesn't work for me (not to complain) maby it because i have win 98

mrmath (author)2008-05-07

I just put it in my Send To menu. Also, I would put the %1 in quotes: notepad.exe "%1" Sometimes long filenames (C:\documents and settings\someusername\desktop\some file name.txt) get messed up, and you get error messages if you don't include the quotes. It may work without it, but I would add them because I'm like that.

brodyf (author)mrmath2008-06-04

Thanks so much for mentioning that. I was having problems using a program in a different directory, and the quotes made it work like it was supposed to. What does that do anyway?

mrmath (author)brodyf2008-06-04

If the long file name has a space in it, some programs will consider it to be more than one parameter, as parameters are separated by spaces. So, if you want to open c:\some dir\some file with notepad, notepad c:\some dir\some file makes the computer thing you want to open a file called c:\some, a file called dir\some, and a file called file. Put it in quotes notepad "c:\some dir\some file" lets the computer know that it's one parameter, and that you mean that specific file.

brodyf (author)mrmath2008-06-04

Well, that makes a lot of sense. I didn't realize that the "%1" was the placeholder of the path for the file to be opened. I have done very little with the registry. Thanks for the insight.

mrmath (author)brodyf2008-06-04

The %1 is the place holder for the first parameter sent. %2 is the second, and so on. Enclosing it in quotes makes sure that notepad (or any other app) knows that you really mean whatever is in the quotes to be one parameter.

laminterious (author)mrmath2008-05-07

It works perfectly without the quotes, but if it works with them, then thats all good as well.

gamer (author)2008-05-14

Really is no way to screw up, I didn't even have the "shell" key, so I made it, and then I followed the instructions and it works! Thanks for the great Instructable! -gamer

richelton (author)2008-05-09

Cool. In the past I've always created a shortcut to notepad in the hidden folder x:\Documents and Settings\(userid)\SendTo
but this is more what I wanted. (Gotta love all the different ways to do the same thing, huh?)

Garth Knight (author)2008-05-08

Excellent. Works and explained well, thanks.

NE-Phil (author)2008-05-07

Hey, that's a wonderful instructable! I substituted another text editor for notepad that's also in the Windows path and it works like a charm. Thanks!

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