I use Atom and Notepad++ for most text editing tasks on Windows, but occasionally I’ll drop down to good, trusty Notepad. It loads fast and handles bare-bones editing tasks without much fuss. However, I found it annoying that there was no shortcut to quit Notepad other than Alt-F4, which feels awkward on my keyboard. Why can’t I use Ctrl-W?

Ctrl-W has a long history: it’s always been the shortcut to close Windows Explorer (folder) windows. When tabbed browsing came onto the scene, it became the de facto shortcut for closing browser windows and tabs. It’s downright muscle memory for me at this point.

I see Notepad when I do git commit, thanks to GitPad. My muscle memory tries to type a message and press Ctrl-W to close the window, so why fight it?

It turns out it’s easy to add the missing keyboard shortcut. I created a simple AutoHotkey script:

The script works by listening for Ctrl-W in any active Notepad.exe window, and remapping it to Alt-F4.

I put a shortcut to the .ahk file in my Windows Start Menu Startup folder (yes, that still exists!), and now I can use my keyboard muscle memory without fail.