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How to install Notepad++ syntax highlighting (UDL)

  1. Open Notepad++.
  2. Chooose View -> User-Defined Dialogue... (UDL) in N++ 5.x, or Language -> Define your language... in N++ 6.x
  3. Click Import...
  4. Navigate to choose one of the .udl.xml files.
  5. Restart Notepad++.

There are two versions available:

  • a standard one, for black-text-on-white development
  • a dark one, compatible with Notepad++'s built-in "Bespin" theme

Feel invited to offer improvements and/or to develop your own theme and contribute!

What you gain

  • In the Languages menu, you will see AriaTemplates item.
  • All the files with .tpl, .tml, .cml extensions will be automatically opened with AriaTemplates syntax highlighting.
  • Syntax highlight will also work for .tpl.css files, but unfortunately, you'll have to change the language from CSS to AriaTemplates.
  • Apart of bare syntax highlighting, you'll be able to fold/unfold your macros and sections!

Tested with Notepad++ 5.9.8.


  • See standard.png and bespin.png in this folder (GitHub doesn't support well relative paths in images / links).

Important notes

  • If you already have the AriaTemplates UDL installed, you should remove it before importing a new version. To do it:
    • open UDL dialog,
    • select AriaTemplates language,
    • a new button Remove will appear, click it to remove the old version.
  • Note that files opened in Notepad++ before installing the UDL, will not be highlighted. You need to close & reopen them, or manually enable AriaTemplates language for each of the files if you don't want to close them.

Technical limitations & known issues

  • To enable folding, { and } can't be used as operators.
  • $ can't be an operator, otherwise keywords like $classpath will not be highlighted.
  • {elseif has to be a normal keyword instead of a folder open/close keyword, otherwise pairs won't match and folding will not work correctly.
  • Light background color for [ and ] as delimiter pairs helps spotting obvious syntax mistakes (if whole your file get highlighted, you likely forgot to close an opened brace).
  • For proper highlighting of the file-ending statements like {/Template} and similar, it's recommended to have trailing newline (this is also recommended if you use Git as VCS so it don't complain for lack of trailing newline). In general, syntax highlighting in many cases needs a whitespace after the keyword to get activated.
  • Unfortunately many other things are not possible to achieve due to stiff precedence rules in Notepad++ that can't be changed.
  • The name field in UserLang node has to be rather short, otherwise N++ crashes due to a bug (as of 5.9.8).

Creating your own highlighter

You can use Notepad++'s User Defined Dialogue feature to edit the highlighter to fit it to your theme. However, the export tool is a bit buggy (as of 5.9.8; it doesn't preserve values in UserLang.Settings.Prefix node), so make sure to import the created theme and see it's working correctly. The highlighter is an XML file so you can also edit it manually.