How to setup an external text editor in Xilinx ISE & EDK

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The built in text editor in the Xilinx FPGA tools ISE & EDK is sub-par. I have chosen to use an external editor (in my case Notepad++). ISE & EDK behave differently with regards to their Text Editor Preference Pages & the use is a bit counter intuitive. This article will describe how to setup an Notepad++ as a custom, external, text editor in Xilinx ISE & EDK 12.4 running under Windows 7 64-bit. The process should be very similar for other versions of the Xilinx tools, other text editors, and/or other versions of Windows.

ISE

  1. Open ISE 12.4
  2. Select Edit --> Preferences... from the Menu
  3. Navigate to ISE General --> Editors
  4. Select Custom from the Editor: drop box
  5. Type in something like C:\\Program\ Files\ (x86)\\Notepad++\\notepad++.exe $1 -n$2 -nosession
    • Note the escape characters: \ must be places before all backslashes & spaces
    • Note the -n command-line switch that tells notepad++.exe which line to set the cursor to
    • Note $2 which is line number we want to look at
    • Note $1 which is the file we want to open
    • Note -nosession which causes Notepad++ to open a new, clean, instance instead of using the saved info from your last session
  6. I suggest you set the Constraints entry radio button to Text Editor

EDK

Add Notepad++ to the PATH

  1. Right click on My Computer & select Properties
  2. Click Advanced system settings on the left
  3. Click the Environment Variables... button in the lower right
  4. Highlight the Path variable in the lower System variables box
  5. Click the Edit... button
  6. Append something like ;C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++; to the end of the text in the Variable value: box
  7. Click OK 3 times & close the My Computer: Properties window

Configure EDK

  1. Open EDK 12.4
  2. Select Edit --> Preferences... from the Menu
  3. Navigate to Editor
  4. Select Custom from the Editor: drop box
  5. Type in something like notepad++.exe %file% -n%line% -nosession
    • Note that we don't use the full path to notepad++.exe. For some reason EDK can't handle the full path and this is why we had to add the Notepad++ folder to the PATH
    • Note %file% which is the file we want to open
    • Note the -n command-line switch that tells notepad++.exe which line to set the cursor to
    • Note %line% which is line number we want to look at
    • Note -nosession which causes Notepad++ to open a new, clean, instance instead of using the saved info from your last session
  6. I suggest you check the Automatically sync with external edits box at the top