Opening random windows files?
November 13, 2006 7:35 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to view/edit text files in Windows that have a random varying file extension?
posted by smackfu to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
I leave a shortcut to Emacs on my Quick Launch bar, and drag and drop any files on the icon.
posted by grouse at 7:41 AM on November 13, 2006

righ click, then "open with" or "send to" Notepad, tell it "okay" if Windows complains about formatting.

Edit and save as normal. I find this especially useful when writing HTML pages by hand and viewing IM logs (".log," yeah...).
posted by whatzit at 7:48 AM on November 13, 2006

Any decent text editor will let you deal with random file extensions. I use Vim and when you install the windows version, you get "Edit file with Vim" in the right-click menu for every file.

But that's not much help if you don't like vi.
posted by GuyZero at 7:55 AM on November 13, 2006

Response by poster: Is there some way to create that "Edit with xxx" right-click option for my own editor of choice?
posted by smackfu at 8:06 AM on November 13, 2006

Best answer: although it is not exactly the same as adding edit you can add anything you want to the send to window pretty easily. check out for detailed instructions
posted by phil at 8:09 AM on November 13, 2006

Ditto to what Guyzero said. If you install a good Windows text-editor (my fave is UltraEdit, it will add a choice to the menu you get when right-clicking any file in File Explorer.

So I can open ANY file this way.

(just say no to Notepad...)
posted by Artful Codger at 9:24 AM on November 13, 2006

Something that works with many editors is to open the editor and drag the file straight into the editor window - no need to right click at all.
posted by Lanark at 11:18 AM on November 13, 2006

smackfu, you can create your own "Edit with xxx" menu items, provided the editor you want to use has a command-line optin for opening files, and you're happy to fiddle with the registry a bit. (Obviously, standard disclaimers of "Always backup your registry before changing it", and "Don't mess with the registry if you're not comfortable doing it" still apply.)

A quick Google search found this brief description of the process:

Which looks like what I remember doing when I did the same.
posted by insipidia at 4:54 PM on November 14, 2006

i really like freeCommander which is a free dual-pane windows explorer replacement. one nice feature is the ability to open any file with the default text editor by hitting F4.

the beta version (you have to donate about $14 to get it) has a great quick view feature that displays any file you click on in the opposite pane. i know some other explorer replacement programs have a similar quick view as well, but this wouldn't let you edit. it's cool to see what zip files look like in text though...
posted by jacobsee at 4:20 PM on November 16, 2006

Thanks insipidia! Two extra tips to go with that:
  1. You might need to put quotation marks around %1 if you open files that have spaces.
  2. You can make a keyboard accelerator by putting & before the menu description, i.e. naming the key "Open with &Emacs..." means I can press Shift+F10, E to open any file with Emacs now.

posted by grouse at 4:44 PM on November 16, 2006

grouse: Two excellent points, thanks.

(I didn't even mention quotation marks, because they always give me grief, and I just keep adding them to a command line until it works. :) )
posted by insipidia at 6:32 PM on November 19, 2006

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