Open new instance of Notepad++

I have been using Notepad++ for years and still prefer it to most other source code editors, especially when it comes to web development. Its a great program that both Brian and I use everyday and recommend to anyone out there needing a good, solid code editor. However, one thing that has always bugged me about Notepad++ is that by default, you can only have one single instance of the program open at a time. If there is already an instance of Notepad++ open anywhere on your desktop, trying to open the program again will simply bring focus to the instance of the program that is already open. I don’t know why they haven’t set it to always open a new instance of the program by default, but fixing this minor annoyance is too easy to care. I will go ahead and show you two solutions for getting a new instance of Notepad++ to open up and as many as you want after that!

Solutions for getting a new instance of Notepad++

Solution 1:

This solution is the one I use because it is permanent and involves changing the action of the program’s shortcut. All you have to do is add a simple command line switch! Go to the Notepad++ shortcut that you use to open the program, this can be in your start menu, on your desktop, or on your taskbar. (You can also add this command to all three shortcuts if you like) Right click on the shortcut and go to ‘Properties’. By default, the ‘Shortcut’ tab should be focused on, but if not, select the ‘Shorcut’ tab at the top. Now go to the text field labeled ‘Target:’, place your cursor at the end of all the current text, even the last quotation mark, put one space in, and then add the command ‘-multiInst’.

On a 64 bit OS:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe" -multiInst

On a 32 Bit OS:

"C:\Program Files\Notepad++\notepad++.exe" -multiInst

(Take a look at the picture below to see exactly what it looks like) Now simply just click ‘Apply’ and your all done! Now when you open Notepad++ from that shortcut, it will by default open a new instance of the program! Enjoy!

Notepad++ Shortcut Properties

Solution 2:

This isn’t really a fix, but rather an option in Notepad++ that can be used if you want to get a file into a new instance quick. All you have to do is simply right click on the tab for the file in Notepad++ you are wanting to move over, and choose one of the two options located at the bottom of the list. You can either choose to move the tab out of the current instance and into a new one or to open up another copy of that file in a new instance.

The reason I don’t use this is simply because it always requires you to move something over to get a new instance to open. I like my first solution because I can start as many new, fresh instances of Notepad++ as I want and drag my files wherever I want them.

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  • Miller

    Thank you! nice tip, works like a charm (solution 1), I used NP++ for years as well, I wondered why cant just fireup multiple instances on demand.

  • Someone

    This is exactly what I was looking for. I searched the whole notepad++ documentation but couldn’t find it. Thank you!

  • Micha

    There are a few more ways of achieving this:
    1) add ‘asNotepad.xml to the program directory where notepad++.exe is
    – note: this will disable the tab bar completely
    2) A few more suggestions, including some registry settings (which didn’t exist on my computer), are here:
    3) Personally I edited this registry key:
    and set it to:
    “C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe” -nosession -multiInst “%1”

    Combined with the articles suggestion to edit the Start-Menu shortcut I get the following behaviour:
    1. Open Notepad++ from shortcut – opens a new Notepad++ window
    2. Double-click on a file (or using the context menu) in Windows Explorer opens a file in a new Notepad++ Window
    3. Dragging a file onto an existing Notepad++ Window opens it in a new tab
    4. Pressing Ctrl-N or loading a file from the Notepad++ menu opens in a new tab.


  • Chris

    Thank you! I use this in a java class I’m taking and it has been bugging me to no end, solution 1 is perfect!

  • Andrew

    It may not be apparent, but the the last four characters of the switch is i-n-s-t with a capitol i, not a lowercase L. If you type it as all lowercase MULTILNST, it won’t work.

    • Thank you, I have edited the post with the paths so people can just copy paste. This way there won’t be any confusion.

  • JL

    I think it’s great to have the option to open another instance; and thank you very much for the post. However (at least on this thread) I’m the minority in that I prefer the default behavior of opening the current instance with it’s tabbed files. Thanks to @BrettJackson & @Micha