Tip: Change Default Text Editor in Fx

Posted: Tuesday, August 14, 2007 by El Guru in Firefox, Fx 1.5, Fx 2.0, Fx 3.0, Tips & Tweaks

By default Firefox uses Notepad its own viewer when viewing the source of a page (CTRL+U or View, Page Source or selecting View Page Source from the Context Menu). You can select which text editor (such as Notepad++) Firefox uses by default with this simple tweak:

1. In a new tab type about:config in the address bar
2. In the filter field type view_source.editor.external
3. Double-click on the entry to set it to true
4. In the filter field type view_source.editor.path
5. Double-click on the entry and in the pop-up box enter the path for your text editor
6. Click OK and close the tab

Source: CyberNet Forum

  1. Percy says:

    Um, Firefox provides its own source viewer and uses it by default. Still an interesting tip. Thanks!

  2. […] extension. A couple tweaks, one which allows you to Speed Up OpenOffice Launch and the other to Change Default Text Editor in Fx for when viewing source of a web page. Finally a brief look at Epiphany, a Gecko based browser for […]

  3. Norm says:

    Firefox provides its own source viewer, that is right, but not everyone just wants to view the source sometimes.

    This change did exactly what I wanted it to do, got view source routed to my notepad++ thanks alot =]

  4. Wayne says:

    This fix does not work on my WinTel(DELL Dimension E521) machine.
    Is the path like this: “C:\Program Files\EditPlus 3”
    or from the firefox directory, like this: “..\Program Files\EditPlus 3”?

    Neither path funstions. I remain with the default editor. I even copied the path from the properties section of the EditPlus shortcut. No luck.

    Any ideas.

    Best regards


  5. Henri says:

    It looks like the path does not like the space between “Program” and “Files”. I replaced it with %20, and it worked.

    Best regards,


  6. Henri says:

    Euh, sorry, I made a mistake. It doesn’t work

  7. suresh peddi says:

    I wanted FF to open my source in a notepad, but when i provide the source to be C:\WINDOWS\system32\notepad.exe, an new notepad window is opened, with a windows popup “The file name, directory name or volume label syntax is incorrect”.

    What is it that iam doing wrong? do i provide notepad.exe? or something else??

    Please let me know.


  8. […] mind that I’ve only tried it with Notepad++ since that’s my default text editor.  Read this post to know how to configure Notepad++ to be Firefox’s default HTML text editor.  You basically have to provide Notepad++’s executable path as an input to a Firefox […]

  9. Peter Crouch says:

    Personally I prefer this plain and simple old school text editor:

  10. John says:

    Interestingly, this tip works for me using UltraEdit (a popular programmer’s text editor) for most web pages, but not this particular page. LOL!

    The problem seems to be in the title of the page which has some odd characters in it (specifically, the apostrophe) that FireFox passes along in the temporary file’s path that it sends the editor. I use UltraEdit as the default editor in IE, and have no problems. Therefore, it appears to be an issue with FireFox, not UltraEdit. It would appear that Firefox has resolved the issue in their source editor rather than creating and passing a file name that other editors will always like while IE doesn’t make this mistake.

    If anyone has any pull with the FireFox team, it seems like this would be relatively easy to fix in the next release.

    I have found that a plugin called ViewSourceWith fixes this problem and works perfectly. You can get it at


  11. Emma says:

    Thanks – I was resorting to opening stuff in IE when I wanted to edit source, so this is really helpful, thanks.

  12. kalais says:

    seems that if you capitalise the drive letter it dont work…? Maybe just my quirky machine

  13. Harry says:

    it worked for me, although I had to remove the quotes from the entry box. In other words, I entered the raw path, without surrounding it in quotes.

  14. Linda says:

    Nice. I prefer to look at my source code with textpad and this made it possible.


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