Bidding farewell to WordPad: A 28-year staple of Windows heads for retirement

Priya Walia

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In an uneventful turn of events, Microsoft extinguishes one more flicker of our cybernetic nostalgia – WordPad, the simple yet resilient text editor beloved by many across the globe. WordPad served as the middle-ground option for text editing, nestling comfortably between the minimalistic Notepad and heavy-weight Microsoft Word for 28 years.

In a recent announcement, Microsoft decreed WordPad’s last rites by relegating it to the deprecated features category. A feature’s deprecation essentially signifies its end, with no new updates or improvements to be expected. Soon, WordPad will join the legends of forgotten software in the annals of tech history, as it won’t be available anymore in future versions of Windows.

WordPad is no longer being updated and will be removed in a future release of Windows. We recommend Microsoft Word for rich text documents like .doc and .rtf and Windows Notepad for plain text documents like .txt.

WordPad’s relegation to an optional feature as opposed to its former status as a standard offering comes as no surprise. After all, the shift has been a year in the making since this change was first introduced in February 2022.

Originating from the epoch of Windows 95, many an older Windows aficionado would remember the simpler times – touching the keys and shaping words, sentences, and paragraphs in the WordPad environment. Microsoft initially intended WordPad to be the go-to free word processor for the majority of Windows users.

WordPad offered a basic yet diverse array of features such as styled text, multiple fonts, inserting pictures, and more. However, it deliberately fell short of the .doc and .rtf file capabilities compared to Microsoft Word, subtly nudging users into upgrading to the paid counterpart.

In the official notice, Microsoft candidly admitted the redundancy of a middle-ground app in today’s digital era. It recommended Microsoft Word for rich document creation and Windows Notepad for plain text files, signaling the end of the road for WordPad.

With the departure of WordPad, users might feel limited but fret not. There are ample alternatives available from various third-party software creators for plain text and fully-featured word processing.