Nostalgia: Tracing the History of WordPad as Microsoft Bids Farewell

WordPad

Microsoft announced the discontinuation of WordPad in September 2023. The company revealed that WordPad will be removed from a future release of Windows and recommended usage of Notepad and Microsoft Word as alternatives. Microsoft recently announced complete elimination of WordPad with the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26020 Canary Channel release. The app will also not be available with future Windows 11 updates and after complete reinstallation. Even though this development is sad, we have to accept it because of the changing technology landscape. In this article, we will examine the history of WordPad in detail.

History of WordPad

WordPad is a basic word-processing software that was shipped along with Windows 95. WordPad was included with all versions of Windows including Windows 11. WordPad was introduced as an alternative to Microsoft Write. Even though WordPad is a basic word processor with minimum features, the app was labeled as advanced when compared with Notepad. This is because WordPad provided support for rich text editing including embedding of Word, PowerPoint, etc documents.

The initial versions of WordPad provided support for Rich Text Format and Microsoft Word 6.0 formats. However, the current versions provide the ability to save files in Office Open XML and OpenDocument text files.

WordPad Features

With the help of WordPad, you can format content in bold, italic, and apply colors. You can also center content and embed images but it lacks functions like spell checker, thesaurus, footnotes, and endnotes. You will not be able to create tables, strikeout, superscript, subscript, text background/highlight colors, numbered lists, hyperlinks, and much more.

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With low resource usage, WordPad is faster than traditional word processors like Microsoft Word. WordPad is an ideal companion for capturing notes, and writing letters and stories. You should note that use WordPad for heavy tasks like ebook creation because you can’t save the file in PDF format.

WordPad was released with Microsoft’s RichEdit control version 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 in Windows 95, 98, and 2000. All the features outlined in the RTF/Word 2007 specification are not supported. The initial versions of WordPad also provided support for Word for Windows 6.0 format. WordPad makes use of RickEdit 4.1 with Windows XP SP1 and later including Windows 7. If you had ever worked with Windows CE, then you would have worked with WordPad with trimmed functionalities with an early Microsoft Word icon. Microsoft has added new features and you will know about it if you dig deep into the history of WordPad

WordPad Source Code

Microsoft also distributed WordPad source code as Microsoft Foundation Class Library application with MFC 3.0 and above before the release of Windows 95. You can still download the code from the MSDN portal. While WordPad used 10pt Arial as font from Windows 95 to Windows Vista, the font was changed to 11pt Calibri in Windows 7 and above. WordPad for Windows 2000/XP was shipped with full unicode support for multiple languages.

WordPad supported voice typing and speech recognition in Windows XP Tablet PC Edition SP2, Windows Vista, and Windows 10. Microsoft removed .Doc format in Windows Vista because of compatibility and security problems. WordPad was upgraded with a Ribbon user interface in Windows 7 and above, which looked identical to that of Microsoft Office.

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You can continue to work with WordPad on Windows 10. However, if you perform a clean installation of Windows 11 and perform Windows Update, then WordPad will disappear.

You can download our Windows 11 QuickStart book, which includes a dedicated chapter on WordPad. The book will serve as a ready reference reckoner for Windows 11 enthusiasts.

Anand Narayanaswamy is the editor-in-chief of Netans. He was recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 9 years (2002 to 2011) and again as a Microsoft MVP in Surface under Windows and Devices in January 2024. He worked as a Chief Technical Editor with ASPAlliance and was part of ASPInsider program. Anand has published several articles and reviews related to various software and hardware products for various software and technology related websites. He is also active on social media and also participates as an Influencer for various brands. Anand can be reached at admin@netans.com