Display control characters as empty character or as spacing

  • Notepad++ uses Scintilla which displays control characters as rectangle with text.
    I want an option to not show these characters and to have option to replace it with space.
    I tried View->Show Symbol->Show whitespace and tabs
    But it didn’t help.
    Notepad++ still displays nul character as ‘NUL’.

    Is there option to do this ?

  • If you have PythonScript plugin installed, go to the Plugins > PythonScript > Show Console and type:


    in the >>> line, and hit RUN. This should make the NUL display as a blank character. To display NULs per NPP’s normal,

    editor.setRepresentation("\x00", "NUL")

    If that works for you, use the Plugins > PythonScript > New Script, create a script “Display NULs as SPACEs”, which contains just that first line. (I’d also make a second script “Display NULs as NUL” to be able to revert to normal display)

    If you use Plugins > Python Script > Configuration, you can then put those scripts into the main Macro menu, and using Settings > Shortcut Mapper > Plugin Commands, you can assign a keyboard shortcut to those scripts.

  • Thanks. I will check what the script does and just write a plugin or PR for N++.

    PythonScript doesn’t have 64-bit version.

  • @NN

    Why would you want to do this? Seems like you would just be hiding content, which sounds like a bad thing (without knowing more)

  • Notepad++ has huge performance issues when there are many control characters displayed.

  • I also face problem about this.
    each character should have single char width.

    NUL, CR, LF become too long. And are actually ugly and horrifying looking.

    I wanted some invisible chars to be displayed but I got scared seeing them displayed in their current dress-up, so I had to stop displaying them.

    for every invisible character, please use a single char display method.

    like MS Word uses single chars for for paragraph mark and soft hyphen mark.


  • Hello, @nn and @v-s-rawat,

    To replace all CO controls and C1 Controls by a specific character, you could also use a simple regex S/R

    Refer to these special code-points, clicking on the links below :



    So :

    • For files with an ANSI encoding or a specific encoding ( Encoding > Character Sets > … ), use the following regex S/R :

    SEARCH (?!\t|\r|\n)[\x00-\x1f]

    REPLACE a SPACE ( or any other single character ! )

    • For files with an Unicode encoding ( UTF-8, UTF-8 BOM, UCS-2 LE BOM and UCS-2 BE BOM, use, instead the S/R, below :

    SEARCH (?!\t|\r|\n)[\x00-\x1f\x80-\x9f]

    REPLACE a SPACE ( or any other single character ! )

    Best Regards,


    P.S. :

    Of, course, due to the negative look-ahead (?!\t|\r|\n), any character replaced, at current position, must be :

    • Different from the tabulation character ( \t )

    • Different from the two End of Line characters ( \r and \n )

  • Replacing is not a suitable solution since I have a log file which is changing each second.
    I just want to see space instead of control character.
    Seems like it is possible by calling API SCI_SETREPRESENTATION .

  • Hi, @nn,

    Oh, I see ! Of course, my proposed static replacement is quite useless, in your case :-(( Sorry and… good luck for implementing the Scintilla API SCI_SETREPRESENTATION !



  • I mean, if Replacing is the only solution,
    hope someone develops a replacement table/ code that would change all control characters display to as used in MS Word/Excel.

    Then it would be easy for us NON-programmer to use such a table.

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