Compiling and uploading Arduino sketches from within Notepad++

Notepad++ is my favourite editor for Arduino sketches, but it lacks the facility to compile and upload sketches directly to the Arduino boards. The usual procedure would be to save the sketch in Notepad++, switch to the Arduino IDE then compile/upload.

However, there is a plug-in for Notepad++ which enables you to run external commands – this post describes how to set it up for the Arduino IDE.

Install the plugin

First ensure you have the latest version of Notepad++ (currently version 7.6.3) and select the menu item under ‘Plugins Admin…’.

Then select the ‘NppExec’ plugin and click install.

Set up the commands to execute

After it installs, you’ll be able to select ‘Execute…’ from the new sub-menu (or simply press ‘f6’), which will display the ‘Execute…’ dialog box.

The empty ‘Execute…’ dialog box will display.

Enter the following text into the command(s) window, ensuring the path points to your ‘arduino_debug.exe’.

set arduino_path = “C:\Program Files (x86)\Arduino\arduino_debug”
npp_save
inputbox “Enter the COM port of your Arduino (e.g., COM1):”
cmd /c $(arduino_path) –port $(input) –upload $(full_current_path)

Commands are remembered in the Execute window

Pressing ‘OK’ will allow you to enter the COM port (this is shown in the Arduino IDE ‘Tools’ menu).

The COM port number is remembered too.

Press ‘OK’ and the process of compiliation and uploading will begin.

A pane opens in Notepad++ and displays the Arduino compilaition progress

SUMMARY OF HOW TO USE IT

  • Open the Arduino code in Notepad++
  • Edit your code
  • Press f6
  • Press ‘Enter’ twice
  • Watch the results window.

TIPS (for the Arduino IDE)

  • Keep the Arduino IDE open with your sketch.
  • In Arduino IDE select external editor (File -> Preferences -> Settings Use External editor
  • Ensure the serial port monitor is not open.