Apr 30, 2008

Tabbing in Opera and Notepad++


I'll get to Opera in a bit. It took a quick read-through of the source code (hurrah for open source), but I've finally got Notepad++ tabbing set up exactly the way I like it. For the non-techies reading this, Notepad++ is a free and full-featured text editor for Windows which is meant to replace, and beat the hell out of, Windows Notepad. In fact it does such a good job that I'd rather use it than pretty much all the other editors I've ever used.

After recently being forced to install Ubuntu Linux on my laptop (and loving it), I missed N++ so much that I downloaded and started running it with Wine, a kind of environment which fools a Windows-only program into thinking that it's running in Windows. (I've used Wine before to play Windows games such as Diablo II.)

Anyway, a couple of things were bugging me about Notepad++. Firstly, its tabs couldn't be navigated using the standard Ctrl-PgUp and Ctrl-PgDn keys. The program author doesn't consider them as standard as Ctrl-Tab, and leaves it up to you to change the shortcuts. Well, this I did, but N++'s default tabbing settings also show a small `task list' of open documents whenever you try to switch among tabs. For some reason this task list doesn't automatically disappear under Wine as it would under Windows. You're forced to right-click on it to choose the tab you want.

So this was the situation. What I did was:

  1. Go to Settings > Shortcut Mapper... and, under the `Main menu' commands tab, changed the last two items's (`Switch to previous document' and `Switch to next document') shortcuts to Ctrl-PgUp and Ctrl-PgDn respectively. It's pretty easy--double-clicking on the command lets you choose a shortcut graphically.

  2. Go to Settings > Preferences... and, under the `MISC' tab, disable the `Document switcher (Ctrl+TAB)', which is what N++ calls the task list there.

That's it. With this setup, N++ has tabbing the way God (and Firefox) intended--with Ctrl-PgUp and Ctrl-PgDn.


Opera is the shiznit, if I may use the term. Particularly the latest beta version, currently 9.50. I, a long-time Firefox user, have been enjoying its speed, new `speed dial' feature, new `quick find', built-in Bittorrent downloading and IMAP-enabled email client which lets me access my Gmail. It really gets the job done, and then some. Everyone should seriously try it out. The only thing is, to a Firefox veteran like me, I can't live without my Ctrl-PgUp and Ctrl-PgDn.

Opera has Ctrl-Tab tabbing with a task list by default--almost exactly the same as N++. Here's what I did to get back good-old Ctrl-PgUp & Ctrl-PgDn:

  1. Go to Tools > Preferences..., then the Advanced tab, and the Shortcuts list item on the left side.

  2. Make sure the Opera Standard keyboard setup is selected and then click the second Edit... button to edit the setup.

  3. Type `cycle' in the Quick find search box on top of the Edit Keyboard setup dialog. This shows the page (tab) cycling commands. Double-click shortcut (on the left) for Cycle to next page and change the shortcut to `PageDown ctrl'. Then change the Cycle to previous page shortcut to `PageUp ctrl'.

  4. Type `page left' in the search box and clear the shortcut for the Page left command. Really doubtful I'll ever need to scroll horizontally in screenfuls. If I ever do, I can worry about it later. Then type `page right' and clear the shortcut for the Page right command. We need to clear these because they would clash with our tabbing commands.

  5. Click OK to get back to the Preferences window.

  6. In the Advanced tab, click the `Tabs' item on the top left and under `When cycling through tabs with Ctrl+PageDown', select the `Cycle without showing list' option. This makes tabbing exactly like classic Firefox.

The reason I tackled both these programs here is there's a large similarity between what I had to do with each. Will try to put up screenshots later.