Keyboard map chords (e.g., Ctrl+X Ctrl+C)

  • My apologies if this is a duplicate…

    Is it possible to map multi-key shortcuts like in EMACS or (I am dating myself) WordStar/Borland IDEs?

    For example, in WordStar, the keyboard shortcut to close a file is Ctrl+K Ctrl+Q (or Ctrl+K Q).

    If this is not possible, how do I make this a feature request?



  • @Bill-Stewart

    welcome to the notepad++ community.

    you can use multi key shortcuts, but you can’t use multi key sequences as shortcuts in notepad++.
    eg. you can set ctrl+q instead of ctrl+w to close a tab in settings > shortcut mapper, but you can’t trigger this shortcut with a key sequence like ctrl+k followed by ctrl+q.

    currently there is no dedicated place for feature requests like this one.
    but you can click the feature requests link from here
    which will lead you to the notepad++ issues page at github

  • @Bill-Stewart said:

    or (I am dating myself) WordStar/Borland IDEs?

    You definitely are. But the fact that I know what you are talking about–what does that say about me? (but I’ve never heard this called “keyboard chords” before)

    how do I make this a feature request?

    Proper way is here:
    But do you REALLY think such a feature request will be taken seriously? :) It’s 2019 for goodness sake…been waiting all year to use that line
    Note I have no decision-making power–that is just my feelings.

    Another option might be to do something in a scripting language. Watch the keyboard for the first keycombo, followed by something valid in the second keycombo (within a certain period of time maybe ?), then invoke the corresponding menu option, from the script. It would have to be something configured in code rather than something nicely set up in Shortcut Mapper… Some downsides but depending how much you want it… :)

  • @Bill-Stewart

    BTW, your avatar dates you as well! :)

  • Thanks, I found the Github page.

    It’s 2019 for goodness sake…

    Don’t know what that’s got to do with anything. These kinds of keyboard shortcuts are supported in (3 examples) Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, EMACS (and probably others also).

  • @Bill-Stewart said:

    Don’t know what that’s got to do with anything

    Maybe nothing. It was my attempt at humor. Because you hinted at this being something only “dinosaurs” (there I go with humor again) that remember Wordstar would find useful. It probably would have been better for you to have just cited the VS/VSCode/emacs examples in the first post, and dropped the Wordstar/Borland stuff. :) Certainly no offense to the people out there that love this type of keystroking. I still maintain the opinion that it probably isn’t widely enough used these days to be seriously considered as a Notepad++ change, but the feature request link is the way to go to pursue it. Good luck to ya.

  • For anyone interesting in viewing/voting for this feature:

  • I was the one who proposed adding input ‘modes’, like in Vim, which somewhat relates to what you describe. Namely I proposed to add a command mode, as an additional ‘page’ for keyboard input where keys do not type characters but rather can be bound to commands.
    As it seems though, majority of users do not appretiate any departure from standard windows’ edit box behaviour, mainly because it is additional learning.
    At the same time, adding such features requires changing the core parts of the editor — that means the change must be really worth the deal, and there hardly will ever be consensus what should be optimal input scheme.

    As for me, I have found an excellent solution - Autohotkey app. This app is made exactly for input customization and automation. Also I have Pythonscript plugin in Npp, so using combinations of Autohotkey scripts and some Pythonscript plugin scripts, I can do almost any input customization.
    E.g. I can have Vim-like command mode with only ~50 lines of Ahk script plus some Pythonscript code for visual feedback (it changes GUI colors in different modes).

    So, to be honest, if you like experimenting with input, you could start with Autohotkey. It would be IMO more productive than hoping for this feature addition ;-). Just make up an more or less concrete idea of what input combination/scheme and functionality you seek for and try to implement in Autohotkey / Pythonscript plugin.

  • @Mikhail-V

    Sounds interesting. How about posting a working example from your own efforts, both to illustrate the idea more fully and give a proof-of-concept.

  • @Alan-Kilborn

    Sure, here is an examlpe AHK I use for toggling command mode with Capslock, and example commands respectively, comment and un-comment bound to q and w keys:

    #NoEnv  ; Recommended for performance and compatibility with future AutoHotkey releases.
    SendMode Input  ; Recommended for new scripts due to its superior speed and reliability.
    CMode := false
    #If winActive("ahk_exe notepad++.exe") && WinActive("ahk_class Notepad++")
    ; global hotkeys (active in all modes)
    	if (CMode = false) {
    		CMode := true
    		send +{F11}			; execute visual feedback PS script inside NPP 
    	} else {
    		CMode :=  false
    		send +{F12}			; execute visual feedback PS script inside NPP 
    	setCapslockState off	; keep capslock always off
    #If CMode && WinActive("ahk_exe notepad++.exe") && WinActive("ahk_class Notepad++")
    ; command mode hotkeys 
    ; comment
    	send ^q
    ; uncomment
    	send ^+q

    Visual feedback is implemented in PS plugin scripts which are executed on Shift-F12 and Shift-F11 shortcuts (see send +{F12} above code).
    E.g. this indicates command mode with blue folder column highlighting:

    editor.setFoldMarginHiColour(1, (180, 200, 220))
    editor.setFoldMarginColour(1, (180, 200, 220))

    And the second sets it back to my default color:

    editor.setFoldMarginHiColour(1, (226,226,220))
    editor.setFoldMarginColour(1, (226,226,220))

    As for OP idea with sequences - it is actually almost the same, if you want only 2-command sequences.
    Just need to add code to get back to default mode from the hotkey in the second section.
    If want support for more than 2 commands in a sequence, it will get more complicated of course.

  • That issue made be curious and I wanted to see if this could be solved with the PythonScript plugin in some way.
    It is more of a proof of concept than a working solution but I thought it might be useful for some.
    The script doesn’t prevent npp from executing registered shortcuts, if those are similar to the ones configured in the script.
    Like if the script defines CTRL+K+L and you do have CTRL+K or CTRL+L mapped to some functions those get called,
    as said - more of a proof of concept. But was really fun :-)

    from __future__ import print_function
    import ctypes
    from ctypes.wintypes import DWORD, HRESULT, INT, WPARAM, LPARAM, HINSTANCE, HHOOK, BOOL, MSG
    import threading
    user32 = ctypes.WinDLL('user32', use_last_error=True)
    def ErrorIfNone(result, func, arguments):
        if result is None:
            raise ctypes.WinError(ctypes.get_last_error())
            return result
    def ErrorIfZero(result, func, arguments):
        if result == 0:
            raise ctypes.WinError(ctypes.get_last_error())
            return result
    SetWindowsHookEx = user32.SetWindowsHookExW
    SetWindowsHookEx.argtypes = [INT, HOOKPROC, HINSTANCE, DWORD]
    SetWindowsHookEx.restype = HHOOK
    SetWindowsHookEx.errcheck = ErrorIfNone
    UnhookWindowsHookEx = user32.UnhookWindowsHookEx
    UnhookWindowsHookEx.argtypes = [HHOOK]
    UnhookWindowsHookEx.restype = BOOL
    UnhookWindowsHookEx.errcheck = ErrorIfZero
    WH_KEYBOARD = 0x2
    HC_ACTION = 0
    VK_SHIFT = 0x10
    VK_CONTROL = 0x11
    VK_MENU = 0x12
                    VK_CONTROL: 'CTRL',
                    VK_MENU: 'ALT',}
    SHORTCUT_MAP = {'CTRL+L+K': lambda: print('do something\n'),
                    'CTRL+K+L': lambda: print('do something other\n'),}
    class KEYLOGGER(threading.Thread):
        def __init__(self):
            self.hookHandle = None
            self.hookFunction = None
            self.keyCombo = ''
            self.modifier = { VK_SHIFT:False, VK_CONTROL:False, VK_MENU:False }
            self.modifier_keys = self.modifier.keys()
            self.KEYUP = False
            self.curr_class = ctypes.create_unicode_buffer(256)
        def register(self):
            self.hookFunction = HOOKPROC(self.keyboardHook)
            self.hookHandle = SetWindowsHookEx(WH_KEYBOARD, self.hookFunction, user32._handle, 0)
        def unregister(self):
            if self.hookHandle is None:
            self.hookHandle = None
        def exec_shortcut(self, shortcut):
            func = SHORTCUT_MAP.get(shortcut, None)
            if func:
        def keyboardHook(self, nCode, wParam, lParam):
            user32.GetClassNameW(user32.GetFocus(), self.curr_class, 256)
            if self.curr_class.value == u'Scintilla' and nCode == HC_ACTION:
                self.KEYUP = user32.GetKeyState(wParam) & 0x8000 == 0
                if wParam not in self.modifier_keys and self.KEYUP and any(self.modifier.values()):
                    if 65 <= wParam <= 90:
                        self.keyCombo += '+{}'.format(chr(wParam))
                elif wParam in self.modifier_keys:
                    if self.KEYUP:
                        self.modifier[wParam] = False
                        if not any(self.modifier.values()):
                            self.keyCombo = ''
                            self.keyCombo += '+{}'.format(MODIFIER_MAP[wParam])
                        if not any(self.modifier.values()):
                            self.modifier[wParam] = True
                            self.keyCombo = '{}'.format(MODIFIER_MAP[wParam])
                self.modifier = { VK_SHIFT:False, VK_CONTROL:False, VK_MENU:False }
            return user32.CallNextHookEx(_keyLogger.hookHandle, nCode, wParam, lParam)
        def run(self):
            msg = MSG()
            user32.GetMessageW(ctypes.byref(msg), 0, 0, 0)
    except NameError:
        _keyLogger = KEYLOGGER()

  • @Eko palypse

    Interestingly, that’s what I meant when I said above:

    Another option might be to do something in a scripting language.

    However, since then I’ve looked at the code I had that was somewhat similar to yours and it suffers the same problem: If a keycombo is mapped via Shortcut Mapper, I haven’t found a way to snag the keycombo for my own purpose and NOT have Shortcut Mapper decoding also see it. Too bad @ClaudiaFrank isn’t around any more because I’m sure she’d solve that one in a second! :)

    To be more accurate, if a keycombo is mapped via Shortcut Mapper, then SM will see it and my code then won’t even get a chance at it.

  • @Alan-Kilborn

    if a keycombo is mapped via Shortcut Mapper, then SM will …

    you are right - two cooks in a kitchen isn’t good.
    If I’m right, the only way to intercept the message flow is to hook into the message queue,
    which I should have done in first place anyway, but playing with some kind of keylogger sounded more exciting at that time.
    And concerning the code, I have to admit, I got a lot of inspiration, sounds better than stealing,
    doesn’t it, from @Claudia-Frank and @Scott-Sumner :-)
    Maybe I will have a look at it some time later but for now I’m more interested in the the topic LSP,
    as this has some benefits for me as well.

  • @Mikhail-V

    Thanks for posting the example, it really clarifies. I see it uses coloring of the fold margin. What about when you are working with files with no fold margin, example *.txt files? Then you don’t get the feedback about what “mode” you are in. :(

    Wouldn’t it be better to color the line-number margin (presumes you have that turned on–side note: I’m always amazed that people post asking how to turn that OFF)? Of course, I can suggest that but I myself don’t see how one would change the color (via code) of that margin.

  • @Alan-Kilborn said:

    but I myself don’t see how one would change the color (via code) of that margin.

    I must correct myself. I DO see how to do it, half-an-hour later:

    editor.styleSetBack(STYLESCOMMON.LINENUMBER, (255, 0, 0))

    will turn the background of the line-number margin a rather glaring red, for example.

  • @Alan-Kilborn said:

    editor.styleSetBack(STYLESCOMMON.LINENUMBER, (255, 0, 0))

    will turn the background of the line-number margin a rather glaring red, for example.

    Yes, changing the line number color is actually better solution in general and it can be better visible.
    I’ve used folder margin from the beginning and just was too lazy to experiment further :)
    BTW, if you want to make permanently visible folder margin in any file, it can be done with Pythonscript plugin via “” script.

    1. Disable folder margin:
      Settings - > Preference -> Editing : set “Folder margin style” to “None”
    2. Add e.g. this to
    editor.setMarginWidthN (2, 16)				# set folder margin to 16 pixel

    then Restart Npp. So can even define custom marker symbols or just set them all to EMPTY.

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