Notepad++ for Windows 10 is ready to code, but falls short of its origins

Notepad++ has earned a name for itself among coders. It's a free piece of software for editing code with a number of features that make it easier to code and now, an unofficial version has arrived on the Microsoft Store. The unofficial version brings the majority of the same features to coders, though limitations from the Microsoft Store prevent some key features.

The app is available for free on Windows 10 PCs. I'm reviewing the unofficial version of Notepad++ that's available through the Microsoft Store rather than the official version, so unless otherwise specified I'll be referring to the unofficial Microsoft Store version in this review.

See in Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)

Features for coders

Notepad++ has a basic interface that's packed with features to help make coding more simple. It's very versatile with support for dozens of coding languages ranging from the most popular and common to the more obscure. It has a long feature list but some that stick out are syntax highlighting and syntax folding. The app also has a tabbed interface and support for multiview. Being able to hide entire segments of code and highlight parts with different colors make it a lot easier to jump around larger coding sets.

Limitations

I admit that I'm not a coder, but my brother-in-law James, a physics student and coder, helped me review this app. One of the main things that we noticed is that it has some notable restrictions when compared to the official version of Notepad++.

Because the app is available through the Microsoft Store, it has to follow certain policies. This stops the app from being able to perform certain file associations and run options. Furthermore, Notepad++ has multiple restrictions on Windows 10 S devices, including not being able to download custom plugins or removing or updating default plugins.

These limitations will be big issues for some users. For example, James is coding at university and the code he's currently working on has a large number of moving parts that need to collide with each other and other elements within axes. The Microsoft Store version of Notepad++ doesn't support his required dependencies, and thus couldn't run his code. That's a deal breaker. But for more basic codes, this might not be much of an issue.

Even with these limitations, it's nice to see an app like this in the Microsoft Store. It brings a fork of a popular coding software to a number of devices and improves discoverability.

Overall thoughts

If you can download the official version of Notepad++, then that's the option you should go for. It's just as free as the Microsoft Store version, but offers better features. But if you're restricted to Microsoft Store apps, either by security policies or because you're running Windows 10 S, then this unofficial version can still provide a lot of utility.

The limitations in the Microsoft Store version of Notepad++ are limitations on all Microsoft Store apps. Whether or not these handicaps will stand in your way depends largely on how you plan to use the app. For some it might not be a big deal, and for them Notepad++ makes a nice addition to the Microsoft Store. Everybody else should just get the official version direct from the web instead.

Pros

  • Allows you to hide entire segments of code
  • Multi-tab interface
  • Lets you use color to make coding easier

Cons

  • Can't execute some key tasks
  • Restrictions on plugins

See in Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

21 Comments
  • This is a prime example as to why Store apps will never be as feature packed as win32 apps
  • Well, UWP does support extensions to apps, but Notepad++ uses a proprietary format so that's probably the problem here.
  • Exactly, this looks like a Centennial Bridge app all the way. Those type always seem to suffer from the "good enough for now" problem.
  • Well the point of the bridge is to get them into the store first AND THEN slowly upgrade it to a full UWP app.
  • Visual studio community, also free, has everything a person learning to code would need, and more.
  • I am sure Microsoft can allow / create a custom library section within the container for UWP apps so that users can load their custom plugins and all. To be honest this one section that should have been added from the get go as it would allow more versatile and full fledged UWP apps. For the store to become the single point of access for apps it UWP apps need these functions, especially file converter apps. But there hasn't been much movement in this regard at all.
    Unfortunately many do not realise how many APIs that many Win32 applications rely on have not been "converted" to the UWA platform or it's equivalent available. Microsoft should be throwing hell of a lot resources at this - simply because Windows On ARM is heavily dependent/reliant on UWP apps especially since the newly launched WoA devices run Windows 10S. In short, once again Microsoft is holding back the growth potential not OEMs, ODMs, consumers, enterprise users but Microsoft. Instead of focusing on PWA they should be focusing on UWP first and foremost. PWA can come later.
  • These limitations have nothing to do with UWP, it's store policies that are restricting this. Uwp is actually built on top of win32 and there's nothing stopping a programmer from accessing win32 APIs directly.... Except store policies. I guess my point is, UWP is in a good state, wouldn't want to make a modern program without it.
  • PWA is a part of UWP. They have same access to APIs. Not much real work for them to do. Edge is a UWP and supports extensions.
  • Ill be ready in 15
  • I was a long time Notepad++ user and still enjoy using the app but as of lately I've moved to Visual Studio Code as my preferred tool for coding now.
  • Why isn't VSCode in the store....
  • Because it's an Electron app. I guess they needed cross-platform capabilities that UWP can't provide.
  • Is there a Macro capability in VSCode? And the TextFX plugin is simply amazing for filtering logs. I code in VS itself but find I use Notepad++ daily for text manipulation, temporary code snippets, strings etc.
  • My question is whether it can handle large log/text files as well as the original does.
  • This is a good news!! Somehow you are not logged in, and after typing a post and hit send, the website takes you to the login page and you might lose everything!!
    You could save it if you act quick by hitting the ESC key, or by hitting alt-left if the page is properly cached but why take the risk?
    That's what Notepad++ is to me, the auto save is handy. I use NP++ at work cause Notepad doesn't handle all types of linebreaks. I use VisualStudio to code btw.
  • The biggest problem with Notepad++ overall is it's 32-bit only, which means it absolutely struggles with large text files (common in the engineering simulation industry.) The only free 64-bit editor I've found able to handle those properly is Sublime Text, which I switched to in 2015.
  • Huh? Its 64bit as well and never struggles to open large files. I can open a 17GB database in a second.
  • Here to. We only use it for Logfile analysis, since it's easy to get notepad++ to color our logfiles really nice. Get get up to 5GB, and even an an XPS13 2in1 i can search on this file really really fast.
  • The plugins are 32bit only. At least some are.... so I have to use the 32bit build.
  • I use Notepad++ daily. Do yourself a favor and get the real one. Forget this junk from the "store".
  • This is the best text editor and I use it daily. He could probably have packaged all available plugins in the store installer and have most disabled. Then a user can enable via in-app options and no additional binary installs would be required as they are already there. Plugin upgrades would have to be done via entire app upgrades. Good to see apps like this coming to the store.