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Microsoft to bring Unix/macOS line ending support to Notepad
By special contributor Drumhellar on 2018-05-10 22:29:10

After decades of mangling text files coming from other operating systems. Microsoft's venerable Notepad.exe, which has been included in every version of Windows since the first, is finally getting support for Unix and macOS line endings.

Notepad, being a Windows application, has always demanded the CRLF pair. When faced with Unix files - quite common for source code and similar things - it sees the bare-naked LFs and prints them as black squares. Because it doesn't start a new line when faced with a naked LF, it shows the entire contents of the file as a single lengthy line, which makes it hard to read, much less edit.

But in the next update to Windows (likely to arrive in October or thereabouts), Notepad will handle Unix and classic MacOS line endings in addition to the Windows kind. This will make the editor much more useful than it currently is.

Support is somewhat limited - while it will correctly open files with alternate line endings, and will save the files correctly in their original format, you cannot create new text files and save them with Unix or MacOS line endings - Notepad will always save new files with the CRLF style used in Windows.

And, in true Microsoft function, Notepad provides a registry switch if you want to disable the new functionality for compatibility reasons, which only confirms the idea that there is an XKCD comic for everything.

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