Setting the IE View Source Editor

This information might be old news to some of you, but I just found out about it recently and was tickled to find the answer. You can find this same information elsewhere on the Internet, but I thought it was worth relating my experience...

Have you ever used the View Source option in Internet Explorer and been frustrated by its affinity for NotePad? NotePad is okay for a quicky look at a random text file, but it does a pretty crappy job of displaying HTML. I decided that I'd rather use my favorite text editor TextPad to view source because it does formatting and syntax coloring.

I should know by now that the best thing to do when presented with an issue like this is to Google it. However, being an independent-minded person, I thought I would see if I could figure it out for myself first.

I diligently rummaged through the registry under the current user and local machine keys. I found the IE settings easily enough, but saw no evidence of where MS stores the path of the editor you want to use for View Source. But I was sure it had to be there somewhere because I used UltraEdit at my last job and that program makes itself the default View Source editor when you install it.

Admitting defeat, I went to Google and found several references to the solution. As it turns out, the key that controls this feature is not necessarily present in the registry. IE knows to use NotePad by default, so the configuration key is optional.

The key you need to create or change has the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
SOFTWARE
Microsoft
Internet Explorer
View Source Editor
Editor Name

I didn't have the View Source Editor key in my registry, which was why I had no luck guessing at the solution, so I created that key and the Editor Name key.

The (Default) entry of the Editor Name key contains the path of the executable you want to run when you do a View Source. The program must be able to accept a file name that is passed on the command line.

Now that I've made those changes, TextPad comes up when I do a View Source in IE. Oh, happy day!

Comments (1) -

Brian
Brian
7/11/2005 12:11:59 PM #

... I'm really hoping we can see an about:config (a la Firefox) or something similar in future IE versions.   This is a cool tidbit, though, since I've wanted to change this before.

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