Help:Editing with an external editor in Windows

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It may be advantageous to edit wiki pages with an external text editor, since this may, depending on which editor you use, allow you to do things like using the external editor's search and replace function or enter Unicode characters more easily. This page describes how to set up the Mozilla Firefox browser so that you can invoke one of the free Unicode text editor BabelPad from the wiki's edit view on Windows. To do this you will need the following:

1) The Firefox browser
2) The It's All Text extension for Firefox
3) The BabelPad Unicode text editor

You may want to print out this page for reference during setup.

Setup procedure

Download and install Firefox

If you haven't got Firefox installed yet, follow these steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the button which says "Download Firefox - Free".
    • The webpage somehow determines what country you are in, so that the button will link to a Firefox version in the language of your country. If this doesn't work, or if you want another language version, click the "Other Systems and Languages" link below the button.
    • If you aren't sure where your old browser saves downloaded files you should click on the download link with the right mouse button and choose the menu item saying "Save target as..." or something similar, then in the file dialog which opens click on the location menu at the top and choose "Desktop".
  3. Go to the desktop, double-click on the Firefox installer and follow the instructions in the installer.

Download and install BabelPad

  1. Go to the BabelPad page.
  2. You will have to scroll rather far down the page (about 3/4) to find the "Download" section.
  3. Click on the appropriate download link for your version of Windows. You may want to follow the same right mouse button -> "Save target as..." procedure as described above. A new .zip file named "BabelPadNT(.zip)" or "BabelPad9X(.zip) will appear on your desktop, or wherever you choosed to place the downloaded file.
  4. If you have a zip-file compression/extraction utility installed you will probably know what to do. Otherwise the newly downloaded "BabelPad..." zip file will have an icon like a folder icon with a zipper on it. Right-click that icon, and then click Extract All. In the Compressed (zipped) Folders Extraction Wizard, specify where you want to store the extracted files. BabelPad doesn't have or need an installer. You just need to extract the zipped file to some appropriate place, like C:\BabelPad.

Install and set up the It's All Text extension

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox and go to this wiki page.
  2. Go to the It's All Text download page and click on the "Install Now" button.
    • Currently (25 March 2007) there is a bug which prevents the latest version of It's All Text to work with the wiki. While this lasts install the latest version which works with the wiki (v. 0.3.3.) by clicking here.
    This bug seems to be gone with version 0.6.8 of It's All Text (19.4.2007).
  3. Open a wiki edit page. Your user page might be a good choice.
  4. To the bottom right of the edit box a small blue "Edit" button should have appeared. Click on it.
  5. The first time you use the It's All Text edit button a file dialog appears. In it browse to where you unpacked BabelPad and click on the BabelPad icon. A BabelPad window containing a copy of the contents of the wiki edit box opens.
    • Next time, and all following times, you click the It's All Text edit button the extension remembers your choice of external editor and opens a BabelPad window immediately.

Using BabelPad as external editor

  1. If you haven't opened BabelPad with It's All Text as described above, do so.
  2. The one feature of BabelPad which is really useful for wiki editing is its Unicode Character Map Utility. For instructions on how to use it consult BabelPad's online help:
    1. Press the F1 key on your keyboard, or choose "Help Topics" from BabelPad's Help menu and
    2. Choose "Tools and Utilities -> Character Map Utility".
  3. If you can view Unicode characters in the wiki already you have appropriate Unicode fonts installed. Otherwise consult the Help:Free Unicode fonts page.
  4. You should neither close or leave the wiki edit page, nor save the BabelPad file opened by It's All Text with another name, or the link between them will be broken.
  5. When done editing save and close the BabelPad window and save the wiki edit page as usual.

Good luck!