Send to… where?

The send-to menu in Windows is useful for opening a file with an application other than the one you usually use. For example, you have a text file. You know it is a plain text file, but the name ends in something other than txt. So you open Notepad or some other editor that can read and write text files.

Not impossible to do, but it can be tedious. You open Notepad, you click File/Open, you then have to navigate to the appropriate directory and tell Notepad that you want to work with files other than plain text. Why go to all that trouble?

It is much faster to right-click and then use the “Send to” command to send the file directly to Notepad. “But Notepad isn’t one of the destinations on the ‘Send to’ menu,” you say? You’re right. Windows doesn’t come out of the box knowing how to send files to Notepad. But there is an easy way to make it do what you want.

Here are the steps you need to take:

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Type the following in the address bar: shell:sendto
  3. Add a shortcut to Notepad.exe or any other program you have that can accept a file name parameter. In other words, you can use a program as the destination of send to if  you can open a command prompt and type something like:
DOS command to load a file into notepad.
Loading a file from the command prompt.

If you don’t know how to open a command prompt, use this alternative method…

  1. Right-click anywhere in the list of files and selected New/Shortcut. You will be presented with the following:
The dialog box that lets you select what to create a shortcut to.
Setting up a shortcut

2. Browse to the program for which you want to create the shortcut. In the image above, I selected notepad.exe.

3. When you click Next, you will be given the opportunity to set the text of the menu entry.

The dialog box to set the menu text for a send to item.
Set the text of the context-sensitive menu item.

4. Click the Finish button and your new send to item will be created.

How does it work? Right click on a text file’s name in Windows Explorer and choose the “Send to” menu option. The menu you see will look something like this:

A screen capture of the changed Send to menu.
The “Send to” menu.


That’s it! Now when you right-click on a file’s name and select “Send to,” you will see the name of the program you added on the list. Select it and your file will be opened in that program.

Could it be any easier?

This tip will work in all versions of Windows (back as far as Windows 3.1) although the actual dialog boxes may look somewhat different.


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