Patrick McElhaney Patrick McElhaney - 20 days ago 4
Git Question

How can I set up an editor to work with Git on Windows?

I'm trying out Git on Windows. I got to the point of trying "git commit" and I got this error:

Terminal is dumb but no VISUAL nor
EDITOR defined. Please supply the
message using either -m or -F option.

So I figured out I need to have an environment variable called EDITOR. No problem. I set it to point to Notepad. That worked, almost. The default commit message opens in Notepad. But Notepad doesn't support bare line feeds. I went out and got Notepad++, but I can't figure out how to get Notepad++ set up as the
in such a way that it works with Git as expected.

I'm not married to Notepad++. At this point I don't mind what editor I use. I just want to be able to type commit messages in an editor rather than the command line (with

Those of you using Git on Windows: What tool do you use to edit your commit messages, and what did you have to do to make it work?


Update September 2015 (6 years later)

The last release of git-for-Windows (2.5.3) now includes:

By configuring git config core.editor notepad, users can now use notepad.exe as their default editor.
Configuring git config format.commitMessageColumns 72 will be picked up by the notepad wrapper and line-wrap the commit message after the user edits it.

See commit 69b301b by Johannes Schindelin (dscho).

Original answer

I just tested it with git version 1.6.2.msysgit.0.186.gf7512 and Notepad++5.3.1

I prefer to not have to set an EDITOR variable, so I tried:

git config --global core.editor "\"c:\Program Files\Notepad++\notepad++.exe\""
# or
git config --global core.editor "\"c:\Program Files\Notepad++\notepad++.exe\" %*"

That always gives:

C:\prog\git>git config --global --edit
"c:\Program Files\Notepad++\notepad++.exe" %*: c:\Program Files\Notepad++\notepad++.exe: command not found
error: There was a problem with the editor '"c:\Program Files\Notepad++\notepad++.exe" %*'.

If I define a npp.bat including:

"c:\Program Files\Notepad++\notepad++.exe" %*

and I type:

C:\prog\git>git config --global core.editor C:\prog\git\npp.bat

It just works from the DOS session, but not from the git shell.
(not that with the core.editor configuration mechanism, a script with "start /WAIT..." in it would not work, but only open a new DOS window)

Bennett's answer mentions the possibility to avoid adding a script, but to reference directly the program itself between simple quotes:

git config --global core.editor \
"'C:/Program Files/Notepad++/notepad++.exe' -multiInst -notabbar -nosession -noPlugin"

Or if you are in a 64 bit system:

git config --global core.editor \
"'C:/Program Files (x86)/Notepad++/notepad++.exe' -multiInst -notabbar -nosession -noPlugin"

But I prefer using a script (see below): that way I can play with different paths or different options without having to register again a git config.

The actual solution (with a script) was to realize that:
what you refer to in the config file is actually a shell (/bin/sh) script, not a DOS script.

So what does work is:

C:\prog\git>git config --global core.editor C:/prog/git/npp.bat

with C:/prog/git/npp.bat:

"c:/Program Files/Notepad++/notepad++.exe" -multiInst "$*"


"c:/Program Files/Notepad++/notepad++.exe" -multiInst -notabbar -nosession -noPlugin "$*"

With that setting, I can do 'git config --global --edit' from DOS or Git Shell, or I can do 'git rebase -i ...' from DOS or Git Shell.
Bot commands will trigger a new instance of notepad++ (hence the -multiInst' option), and wait for that instance to be closed before going on.

Note that I use only '/', not \'. And I installed msysgit using option 2. (Add the git\bin directory to the PATH environment variable, but without overriding some built-in windows tools)

The fact that the notepad++ wrapper is called .bat is not important.
It would be better to name it '' and to put it in the [git]\cmd directory though (or in any directory referenced by your PATH environment variable).

See also: