Column Mode Editing in Notepad++


CC 2.0 image courtesy g4ll4is on Flickr

Notepad++ is the text editor of choice for a lot of software developers who work with Windows. When developing with text files you may need to massage the text within them, This can be true if you are using them for testing. You may need to edit multiple columns to add, edit, or remove text. This is where Column Mode Editing comes into play.


Notepad++ is a text and source code editor that runs on Windows. It is a free product that is supported by the open source community. It supports multiple programming languages including HTML, JSON, and XML.

Column Mode Editing

This functionality is enabled by default. There is nothing set in the properties.

To switch to column mode, there are two ways to do it:

  • Alt + Shift + Arrow keys
  • Alt + Mouse dragging

To use the keyboard, you need to use the Alt + Shift + Arrow keys. By using the keyboard you have more control over which words or characters you want to work with.


To select large swaths of text or to move text around, using the Alt + Mouse dragging method is a much better option.

About Ken Cenerelli
I am a technical writer/programmer writer/content developer, .NET developer, Microsoft MVP, public speaker, blogger, and Microsoft Azure nerd. I blog about technology at and am on Twitter via @KenCenerelli.

One Response to Column Mode Editing in Notepad++

  1. Pingback: Visual Studio Code: Multi-line and multi-cursor editing | Ken Cenerelli

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