Microsoft Is Killing WordPad, So Get Used to These Alternatives Now

It’s time to move on, and there are some great options.

Microsoft Is Killing WordPad, So Get Used to These Alternatives Now

After around 30 years of WordPad, Windows has decided it's time to stick it in the recycle bin. But don't fret—depending on what you use WordPad for, there are many alternatives you can rely on to execute the same tasks. Let's look into some of these in more detail.

Say Goodbye to WordPad

Windows will no longer update WordPad, and it will be removed from all editions of Windows 11 from version 24H2 and Windows Server 2025. Even though its regular users might miss its simplicity, user-friendly interface, fast performance, basic formatting options, and cross-Windows compatibility, all these benefits can be found in other documenting programs.

Windows NotePad

If you're looking to replicate the simplicity of WordPad, NotePad is the answer. Best known for its plain text (".txt") documents, NotePad can be beneficial when you don't need a rich text editor.

Microsoft Is Killing WordPad, So Get Used to These Alternatives Now

I personally use NotePad as an in-between when I want to remove all formatting from some text (for example, if I've copied it from a website) before pasting the text into Microsoft Word for further formatting. Programmers also like to use NotePad as a scratch book for basic coding—you can save your NotePad as encoding, including ANSI, UTF-8, and UTF-16.

What's more, from NotePad version 11.2307.22.0 onward, your work is automatically saved as you go—simply close the window when you're done, and when you reopen it, you can carry on from where you left off. Its Windows Explorer-type tabs also come in handy if you're working on multiple projects at the same time.

All in all, if you're not interested in formatting your text, and you just want somewhere to take some notes or experiment with some coding, NotePad is the obvious choice.

Why NotePad Is a Good Alternative to WordPad

  • It's just as simple to use.
  • It's free and comes ready-installed on new Windows PCs.
  • It's great for note-taking and brainstorming.

Why NotePad Isn't a Good Alternative to WordPad

  • It doesn't facilitate basic text formatting.
  • You can't add images or other graphics.

You can also opt for NotePad++ , a free and open-source Windows text and source code editor. If you're looking for more advanced functionality and features, including code folding and programming in different languages, NotePad++ is the better option for you.

Microsoft OneNote

Another benefit of WordPad is its basic note-taking capacity. Microsoft's OneNote app could plug that gap, as it is specifically designed for note taking.

Microsoft Is Killing WordPad, So Get Used to These Alternatives Now

The OneNote desktop app is installed as part of the Microsoft 365 package, but it can also be downloaded as a standalone app on any PC, Mac, or mobile device. You can also access OneNote for free on the Office website with a Microsoft account. Whichever way you use OneNote, you can reliably access and share your notes through the cloud, which makes it a viable substitute if you like to use WordPad for note-taking.

What's more, if you want to venture beyond simple note-taking, you can add images, sketch freehand (great if you're using a tablet), format your text, and save your notes as a PDF. But the beauty of OneNote is that you don't have to do any of these. If you want to use it as a simple and basic notepad that saves your work automatically, you can simply create a new page to start a new note.

Why OneNote Is a Good Alternative to WordPad

  • Even though there are more complex features, you can still use it like you used WordPad for note-taking.
  • You can access OneNote for free with a Microsoft account.
  • It's great for note-taking and brainstorming, and you can share your notes with others.
  • It lets you format text and lay out your notes in a way that works for you.

Why OneNote Isn't a Good Alternative to WordPad

  • It's not as stripped-back as WordPad, so you have to take some time to navigate its interface.
  • It's not a word-processing app for text editing and document production.

Word Processors

Word processors like Microsoft Word and Google Docs are great for word processing documents (".doc") and rich text format documents (".rtf").

Microsoft Is Killing WordPad, So Get Used to These Alternatives Now

Along with the basic formatting offered by WordPad, such as bold, font size, and color, word processors also offer much more advanced formatting options, mail merging capacity, the ability to track changes, and many other useful tools.

You might think that these useful features come at a cost, but both Word and Docs are free to access and use online once you have signed up and created accounts. What's more, because these free programs are online, they're safely stored in their respective cloud systems and save your work automatically as you go.

In essence, you can view word processors as a modern-day upgrade of WordPad, because you can do all the things you would have done on WordPad—and more. Indeed, in its support update post, Microsoft specifically recommends using Microsoft Word for ".doc" and ".rtf" documents moving forward.

Why Word Processors Are a Good Alternative to WordPad

  • They are great for formatting text and adding more advanced features, such as tables of contents and page breaks.
  • You can access high-powered word processors online free of charge.
  • Word processors are great for collaboration.
  • They have proofreading and spellchecking features that can be very helpful.

Why Word Processors Aren't a Good Alternative to WordPad

  • Because word processors have many more tools for you to use, their ribbons and tabs are much more complex and take some getting used to when transitioning from WordPad.

So, despite the inconvenience that the death of WordPad might cause, there are good alternatives available for you to use. As well as those mentioned in this article, there are other great writing apps, note-taking apps, and text-editing apps for you to consider.

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