Zen Coding is an amazingly useful plugin, which speeds up writing code immensely. While it contains many useful shortcuts, it can be quite tricky adding new, custom snippets to use.

On Windows, find the ZenCoding plugin folder in the Notepad++ installation by pressing ‘Win+R’ (or going to Start > Run), then entering the following code: %HomePath%\AppData\Roaming\Notepad++\plugins\config\ZenCodingPython\zencoding

This will display all the Python files used by the plugin; the file to edit is called ‘my_zen_settings.py’ (not ‘my_zen_settings.pyc’ — this is a complied Python file). Open this file in Notepad++ (don’t double click it — this will just run the file, which doesn’t do anything by itself), and add the new abbreviation (this example maps the Google jQuery CDN to the ‘jq’ shortcut):

my_zen_settings = {
     'html': {
        'abbreviations': {
      'jq': '<script type="text/javascript" src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.5/jquery.min.js"></script>',


Save the file, then restart Notepad++ — your new shortcut should now be working. If it isn’t working (as has happened to me many times), try renaming the ‘user_settings.pickle’ file in the ZenCoding folder (one level above the folder ‘my_zen_settings.py’ is in) and restart Notepad++ again — this removes the Zen Coding cache, which should then make your snippet function.