Quickie: Grep & Tail -f With Notepad++

Published: 2022-09-05
Last Updated: 2022-09-05 14:10:24 UTC
by Didier Stevens (Version: 1)
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Notepad++ is a free and open source text editor for Windows.

You can simulate grep-like functionality with Notepad++ in 2 steps:

  1. Use find with a search pattern to bookmark all found lines
  2. Remove unmarked lines


A Windows event log as CSV file:

Start a search (Search / Find... or CTRL-F) and select the Mark tab:

Then do the following:

  1. clear all bookmarks, in case there are any left from previous operations
  2. type your search text (can be regex)
  3. toggle Bookmark line
  4. press Mark All button
  5. press Close button

After presing the Mark All button, you will see how many lines have been bookmarked:

Then go to Search / Bookmark / Remove Unmark Lines:

And you have you grep result:

If you to this with a file on disk that you don't want to modify, make sure not to save anything after the grep (or work on a copy).

It is also possible to do a "grep -v": select "Remove Bookmarked Lines".


Next tip: tail -f with Notepad++

When a text file is open, the Monitoring icon in the toolbar is enabled:

Press the button and the tab of the open text file will get a Monitoring icon:

From now on, lines appended to the file will appear automatically:

Notice that a monitored file can not be edited.




Didier Stevens
Senior handler
Microsoft MVP

Keywords: grep notepad tail
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