The New Windows 11 Notepad app


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The new Windows 11 Notepad uses RichEdit and runs on up-to-date Windows 11 installations. In addition to a Windows 11 look with rounded corners and a dark-theme option, the new Notepad includes several standard RichEdit editing enhancements, such as Alt+x for entering Unicode characters, Ctrl+} for toggling between matching brackets/parentheses, multilevel undo, drag & drop, color emoji, and autoURL detection. You might guess that using a RichEdit plain-text control in Notepad would be a slam dunk. RichEdit has had plain-text controls ever since Office 97 (last century!) and they’ve been used myriad times. But those plain-text controls have been small and typically exist in dialog boxes. Notepad is often used to view large files, so high performance is important, and lines can be crazy long. And classic Notepad has been improved in various ways, such as better performance, line-ending detection (CR, LF, CRLF), and a “Show Unicode control characters” context-menu option. Accordingly, it’s taken significant effort to use RichEdit as the new Notepad’s editing engine. This post describes some additions and implementation details.

Additions to RichEdit​

The classic Notepad has two handy features that weren’t implemented in RichEdit: line-ending detection (CR, LF, CRLF) and the “Show Unicode control characters” mode (discussed next). For years Notepad didn’t break Unix-convention lines that terminated with a LF (U+000A) instead of a CRLF (U+000D U+000A). I used to open the Unicode Character Data files, which contain LF-terminated lines, with WordPad and save them to convert the LF’s to CRLF’s so that Notepad would display them correctly. To fix this problem, Notepad went one better: it checked to see which line ending came first and then made that line ending the default for the file. So, a file with LF- terminated lines remains LF terminated and displayed correctly. Internally RichEdit follows the lead of Word and the Mac in terminating paragraphs with a CR and converting LF’s and CRLF’s to CR when reading in a file or storing text via an API like WM_SETTEXT or ITextRange2::SetText2. This is still the case, but you can tell RichEdit to recognize the kind of line termination in a file and use that choice for saving/copying the file by sending the EM_SETENDOFLINE message with wparam = EC_ENDOFLINE_DETECTFROMCONTENT.

Show Unicode control characters mode and emoji​

Notepad has had a “Show Unicode control characters” option in its context menu for many years. This mode displays Bidi zero-width control characters using distinctive “zero-width” glyphs. This is very valuable, for example, in revealing the Bidi RLO (U+202E) and LRO (U+202D) codes that override the usual character directionalities and are sometimes used to spoof files for nefarious purposes. It also displays the zero-width joiner (ZWJ—U+200D) with a “zero-width” vertical line topped by an x. But inside emoji ZWJ sequences, such as family emojis, the mode doesn’t break the sequence apart at the ZWJ’s and doesn’t reveal the ZWJ’s by the zero-width ZWJ glyph. And classic Notepad doesn’t display ZWJ sequences and emoji in general in color.

In the new Notepad “Show Unicode control characters” mode, ZWJ sequences are broken apart at the ZWJ’s and the ZWJ’s are displayed by the ZWJ zero-width glyph. You can navigate inside the ZWJ sequence using the ← and → keys and type Alt+x to see the codes of the characters comprising the ZWJ sequence. This lets you figure out how a ZWJ sequence is constructed. For example, the new mode displays the family emoji ZWJ sequence👨❤️👩given by the codes U+1F468 ZWJ U+2764 U+FE0F ZWJ U+1F469 as

Image FamilyEmoji

Find/Replace dialog drop down​

Visual Studio Code has a nifty Find/Replace dialog that drops down into the upper right of the text area. In case the dialog overlaps the starting text, the user can drag the text down just under the bottom of the dialog. The new Notepad mimics this behavior. It was a bit tricky to get RichEdit to provide the associated functionality. In rich-text formatting, the paragraph space-before and space-after properties are used to add spacing between paragraphs. Since RichEdit is a rich-text editor, it supports these properties, and it was natural to implement the drop-down space as “document space before”. The space-before value is included in the ascent of the first line in the document. The tricks came in dealing with deleting or replacing the first line and in scrolling the display correctly with a nonzero document-space-before value.

Plain-text UI improvements​

We decided to match the Visual-Studio UI for selecting and not selecting the EOP character at the end of a line. This differs from Word’s UI, which tends to auto select the EOP character if you navigate next to it. Specifically, in plain-text controls, we don’t let the mouse extend the selection to include the EOP on a line or let Shift+End select the EOP. This corresponds to what gets deleted if you hit the Delete key after selecting the text. You can still select the EOP character by using Shift+→ and by extending the selection to the next line. Also, if word wrap is turned off, the insertion-point caret now follows any spaces you enter instead of ignoring the spaces.

Some implementation details​

The Windows 11 Notepad uses a window for its editing canvas and windows generally use GDI for displaying text and images. GDI doesn’t have functions to display color fonts in color, whereas DirectWrite does. To be able to use DirectWrite for color emoji and other enhancements, the new Notepad therefore creates a RichEDitD2DPT window, which uses DirectWrite for text and GDI for OLE objects (Notepad doesn’t insert OLE objects).

The RichEdit build used in Notepad comes from the same sources as the RichEdit that’s loaded with Microsoft 365 applications like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote. It’s not the Windows RichEdit in msftedit.dll. Consequently, Notepad has the latest RichEdit improvements.

We’ve fixed bugs that didn’t show up for RichEdit plain-text controls over the years partly because before Notepad, the plain-text instances have been small.

Notepad uses RichEdit classic font binding instead of the IProvideFontInfo font binding used in XAML text controls and in RichEdit controls appearing in Microsoft 365 applications. Notepad doesn’t want to load the mso libraries used in the latter since these libraries are quite large. The classic font binding has been improved but needs to add support for more scripts.

We improved RichEdit’s performance for large ASCII files such as those for core dumps. One feature that can slow down reading in a large file is autoURL detection. While reading in plain text, LF and CRLF are translated to CR for internal use and in the process the text is checked for the combination “:/”. If that combination isn’t found and only AURL_ENABLEURL is enabled, autoURL detection is bypassed.

Future​

Imagine things that can be added given the power of RichEdit. RichEdit plain-text controls have only one paragraph format, but they can have considerable character formatting. The latter is needed because 1) Unicode has over 144,000 characters and a single font is limited to 65535 glyphs, and 2) input method editors (IMEs) and spell checkers require underlines and/or text coloring. So, although the user interface only exposes one character format, the TOM object model gives access to many more properties (see ITextFont2). Accordingly, it would be possible to offer program code syntax highlighting used, for example, in Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code. But probably that should be the domain of compiler interactive development environments. Another option could be to display HTML, XML, JSON, and RTF files with indentation and toggle between XML/HTML start and end tags like Ctrl+} does for bracketed expressions, e.g., in JSON and RTF files. Large file performance needs more improvement. Please feel free to comment about bugs and wishes!


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BunnyJ

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Nice, but I suspect many people that use a text editor use NotePad++
 

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I like notepad myself, I find it a straight foreword basic editor with no frills
 

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I like notepad myself, I find it a straight foreword basic editor with no frills
I do too but when I code say in, Python, I like the syntax highlighting in NotePad++
 

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I wish Microsoft adds two features that I consider useful for the new redesigned Notepad : Read Aloud & Spelling Corrector. Also, redesigning some dialog boxes like "Print" & "Page setup".
 

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I wish Microsoft adds two features that I consider useful for the new redesigned Notepad : Read Aloud & Spelling Corrector. Also, redesigning some dialog boxes like "Print" & "Page setup".
There is so much they could do, but then it wouldn't be a basic editor, like @BunnyJ Notepad++ is the way to go....lots of nice colours too:ROFLMAO:
 

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I like notepad myself, I find it a straight foreword basic editor with no frills
Def agree with this sentiment. If I'm writing code and need syntax highlighting I'm in VS Code, otherwise I'm often opening Notepad and haven't installed NP++ since the XP days really. I don't know why but I never pin Notepad to my taskbar and run it constantly from the Run box. Often I'm using it to remove formatting from text, or edit somewhere that won't turn my quotes into curly quotes by default, etc.
 

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The "Find" box still has a fixed position. It blocks a portion of the first row of text. I thought MS would solve it in the latest version (11.2112.32.0).

np.png
 

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The "Find" box still has a fixed position. It blocks a portion of the first row of text. I thought MS would solve it in the latest version (11.2112.32.0).

View attachment 22881
It's not just that. Opening the search (or replace) box makes the text cursor become invisible and therefore impossible to move. When multiple lines of text are selected, it looks as if there's an additional space character at the end of each line except the last one. If the last line in the text document is a blank line, clicking on the line of text directly above this blank line also fails to move the text cursor, and, in a few cases, this same issue actually appears to affect more than just one line, even. Moving the text cursor up/down by using the arrow keys on the keyboard is similarly botched. The 'duct tape' solution that seems like it's working is to add another blank line at the bottom and remove it again when you're done editing a simple text file by using this new 'state-of-the-art' app from Microsoft that's so wonderful and great that they deemed it necessary to remove the old one just for the fact that it didn't have any serious bugs such as all this. Applause! :ROFLMAO:
 

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Something not right with mine, I have no find box on version
Screenshot 2022-02-25 192138.jpg
 

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It must not be available for beta yet. I just can't wait to get my hand on it for the emojis. :cautious:
 

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I don't know where I got mine from, probably some dodgy place. I wanted it for the dark theme
 

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    Antivirus
    Norton
    Other Info
    Killer E3000 Ethernet Controller
    Killer AX1650i Wi-Fi Network Adaptor
    Alienware Z01G Graphic Amplifier
    Tobii Eye Tracker
  • Operating System
    Dual Boot Windows 11 Pro / Windows 11 Pro Dev build
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 3501
    CPU
    11th Gen i-7 2.80 gb
    Memory
    16Gb
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    512Gb SSD
    WD 2GB EXT
    Browser
    Chrome
    Antivirus
    Norton

jvickers

The lunatics have taken over the asylum
Guru
VIP
Local time
2:29 AM
Posts
6,180
Location
Deep South, USA
OS
Windows 11 Pro
I don't know where I got mine from, probably some dodgy place. I wanted it for the dark theme
Maybe I'm in a different "Windows 11 Zone" (like the Twilight Zone) than others. No weather on my taskbar. No new notepad. :rolleyes: And I'm all up to date in the beta channel.

I wonder if the new notepad will still basically strip all the HTML out of a word document to make it a plain text document. If it doesn't, I don't want it.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home built
    CPU
    Ryzen 9 5900X
    Motherboard
    MSI MPG X570 GAMING EDGE WIFI
    Memory
    Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 3200 MHz DDR4 DRAM Desktop Gaming Memory 32MB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ZOTAC RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC/ ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB GDDR6 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card
    Sound Card
    Proprietary
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ViewSonic XG2530 25"/Benq XL2411P 24"/ Samsung SyncMaster BX2331 23"
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080 240Hz/144Hz/60Hz (based on monitor setup above)
    Hard Drives
    SK hynix Gold P31 1TB PCIe NVMe Gen3 M.2 2280 Internal SSD
    ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB
    Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD
    PSU
    Thermaltake Smart 700W 80+ White Certified PSU
    Case
    Rosewill ATX Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case, Gaming Case with Blue LED for Desktop
    Cooling
    Corsair iCUE H60i RGB PRO XT Liquid CPU Cooler
    Keyboard
    Corsair K70
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    120MB/s Download/ 10MB/s Upload
    Browser
    Edge (Chromium)
    Antivirus
    Norton 360
  • Operating System
    Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home Built
    CPU
    AMD FX Black Edition
    Motherboard
    Asus M5A97 LE R2.0
    Memory
    16MB DDR
    Graphics card(s)
    I forget, but it's old.
    Sound Card
    Propietary
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ACER LED 24"
    Screen Resolution
    1920X1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB Samsung SSD 3.5"
    Case
    Corsair
    Cooling
    Stock
    Mouse
    Logitech
    Keyboard
    Logitech
    Internet Speed
    120MB/10MB
    Browser
    Chrome
    Antivirus
    Norton 360
    Other Info
    Currently taken down because of a lack of space :-(
    Maybe I'll make room somewhere and connect to the Dev channel if possible.

The-Hive

The First Three Star Guru
Guru
VIP
Local time
7:29 AM
Posts
11,345
Location
Wiltshire UK
OS
Windows 11 Pro
I am not in the insiders program on this machine, thats why I think I got it via some tweak or other
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Alienware Area 51m R2
    CPU
    10th Gen Core i9 10900K
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Geforce RTX 2080 Super
    Sound Card
    Nvidia HD
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    C: Samsung 2TB P981A
    D: Samsung 2TB 970 Evo
    Case
    Dark side of the moon
    Mouse
    Alienware AW610M
    Browser
    Chrome and Firefox
    Antivirus
    Norton
    Other Info
    Killer E3000 Ethernet Controller
    Killer AX1650i Wi-Fi Network Adaptor
    Alienware Z01G Graphic Amplifier
    Tobii Eye Tracker
  • Operating System
    Dual Boot Windows 11 Pro / Windows 11 Pro Dev build
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 3501
    CPU
    11th Gen i-7 2.80 gb
    Memory
    16Gb
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    512Gb SSD
    WD 2GB EXT
    Browser
    Chrome
    Antivirus
    Norton

Edwin

♦ ♦
Guru
VIP
Local time
2:29 AM
Posts
5,855
OS
Windows 10/11
Workin okay here...

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My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 10/11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS ROG Strix
  • Operating System
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS VivoBook

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