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Non-Excel Tip

Open A Text File In A Non-Associated Program

A while ago I showed you how you could open a file from Windows Explorer in a program that it wasn't associated with by using File, Open With... I'll fill you in on that tip a bit later.

When you double-click on a text file in Windows Explorer, does it automatically open in Microsoft Word, or some other bulky word processing program? There may be times when you would prefer to open a text file in a smaller, simpler program like NotePad or WordPad.

There is another option to open the file in a different program without changing file associations.

  1. Make sure the program you want the file to open in is open. In this example we'll use NotePad.
  2. Locate the text file in Windows Explorer.
  3. Left-click the file and drag it to the NotePad button on the Taskbar at the bottom of your screen. Don't drop it yet!
  4. Hold the cursor over the button for a second or two and the NotePad application window will pop up. Don't drop it yet!
  5. Drag the file up to the middle of the NotePad window and NOW you can drop it.
  6. The text file will open in NotePad.
Note that this procedure will also work with many other file types and programs. I often open TXT files, CSV files, and LOG files in Excel using this procedure. Experiment with it to see what works for you.

If you find that you are always using a certain program to open a certain file type this way, you may want to change the file association for that file type so that you can simply double- click in Windows Explorer to open it. To do this, left click the file, hold down the Shift key while clicking File on the menu, click Open With..., select the program, and select the 'Always use this program...' option. Now every time you double-click a file of that type, it will automatically open in that program.

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