Software

Windows Notepad fixed after 33 years: Now it finally handles Unix, Mac OS line endings

So happy for you, Microsoft, \r\n

By Thomas Claburn in San Francisco

190 SHARE

Windows Notepad users, rejoice! Microsoft's text editing app, which has been shipping with Windows since version 1.0 in 1985, has finally been taught how to handle line endings in text files created on Linux, Unix, Mac OS, and macOS devices.

"This has been a major annoyance for developers, IT Pros, administrators, and end users throughout the community," Microsoft acknowledged in a blog post today, without touching on why the issue was allowed to fester for more than three decades.

Notepad's line feed limitations may not inspire the same level of partisan bickering as the tabs vs. spaces debate or the possibility that semicolons may become mandatory in JavaScript.

Software dev bombshell: Programmers who use spaces earn MORE than those who use tabs

READ MORE

Nonetheless, the app is widely used and does elicit some passion. News of the change at Microsoft's Build developer conference on Tuesday prompted the loudest cheer of any of the announcements.

"We fixed Notepad," declared Kevin Gallo, head of Windows developer platform.

Notepad previously recognized only the Windows End of Line (EOL) characters, specifically Carriage Return (CR, \r, 0x0d) and Line Feed (LF, \n, 0x0a) together.

For old-school Mac OS, the EOL character is just Carriage Return (CR, \r, 0x0d) and for Linux/Unix it's just Line Feed (LF, \n, 0x0a). Modern macOS, since Mac OS X, follows the Unix convention.

Opening a file written on macOS, Mac OS, Linux, or Unix-flavored computers in Windows Notepad therefore looked like a long wall of text with no separation between paragraphs and lines. Relief arrives in the current Windows 10 Insider Build.

Notepad will continue to output CRLF as its EOL character by default. It's not changing its stripes entirely. But it will retain the formatting of the files it opens so users will be able to view, edit and print text files with non-Windows line ends.

Microsoft has thoughtfully provided an out for Windows users counting on the app's past inflexibility: the new behavior can be undone with a registry key change. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily

190 Comments

More from The Register

Microsoft sends partners hundreds of unwanted OPI: Other People's Invoices

Risky business: Azure cloud rains bills

Microsoft admits: Yes, miscreants leafed through some Hotmail, MSN, Outlook inboxes after support rep pwned

Email contents exposed for unlucky punters

Microsoft flings the Windows Calculator source at GitHub

Something about calc.exe bugging you? Get in there and fix it

Microsoft goes to great lengths to polish Azure Active Directory's password policies

Get it? Lengths. Users now have 240 extra characters to play with

Hitting Microsoft's metal: SUSE flings Enterprise Linux at SAP HANA on Azure

SUSECON '19 Fancy a slice of SLES for SAP?

On the eve of Patch Tuesday, Microsoft confirms Windows 10 can automatically remove borked updates

Install. Uninstall. Boot. Repeat

Microsoft unzips Zipline, lets world+dog have a go with cloudy storage compression tech

Updated Zipline, George and Bungle: It's a Rainbow* of open-sourcing at Redmond

Microsoft reckons the accursed Windows 10 October 2018 Update is finally fit for business

Only took five months, and look, 19H1's almost here

The difference between October and May? About 16GB, says Microsoft: Windows 10 1903 will need 32GB of space

Storage requirements embiggened in Redmond's upcoming OS emission

We all love bonking to pay, but if you bonk with a Windows Phone then Microsoft has bad news

Look, the platform is dead. Will you just move on already?