Posted by: Brian | January 3, 2009

Use Notepad ++ to tail log files in Windows

So you want to be able to tail a log but you are developing in a windows environment. In the past you had to install cygwin to make that happen. Today that isn’t the case.

I am not sure how long this has been in place but the guys at Notepad++ have really out done themselves.

When developing in rails, it is nice to see what the development.log is showing. With most text editors you have to either refresh the text or close the editor and reopen it. In either case you still have to scroll to the bottom of the log.

With Notepad ++ 5.1 (which is what I am using) the log automatically updates and all you have to do is go view it. If this feature has been in place for a long time, GREAT!!!

However, when someone doesn’t know it is there, it is like putting glasses on and noticing how beautiful trees are for the first time.



  1. Yeah, this is a great feature. But I’ve found that notepad++ doesn’t refresh the screen unless it has context. I use it to tail the server I’m debugging on windows while I’m hitting it with a client. The logs don’t update until I click on the notepad++ screen. Scrolling without window context would make this perfect!

    • I appreciate the comments … you know it might be a good for someone to write a plug-in for that. Hrm…

  2. I think there is already a built-in plugin for that…

    Document Monitor…
    If you select document monitor.. it automatically refreshes.. the log file

  3. That’s great, thanks for this information, I was looking for a tail functionality in Windows.

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