Windows 11 Text Editors: Notepad vs WordPad

Compare the features of Notepad and WordPad, two powerful text editors that come with Windows 11. Learn which one is best for your needs.

Windows 11 users can use pre-installed applications like Notepad and WordPad for quick and easy note-taking. Even though most people prefer using Microsoft Word as their primary word processor, Notepad and WordPad are ideal for those who require a more lightweight option.

While these programs may not have all the features and capabilities of Microsoft Word, they are useful for taking quick notes. If you only need to write a few lines or make a short list, Notepad or WordPad can get the job done without being too complicated or overwhelming.

Notepad and WordPad each have their own strengths and weaknesses, which we will explore in this article. By understanding the differences between these two applications, you can determine which one will best suit your needs. Whether you're a student who needs to jot down a quick reminder or a professional who needs to take quick notes during a meeting, Notepad or WordPad may be just what you need.

compare notepad vs wordpad in windows 11


  1. What is Notepad?
  2. What is WordPad?
  3. The Difference Between Notepad and WordPad
  4. Notepad vs WordPad: Features
  5. Notepad vs WordPad: Formatting
  6. Notepad vs WordPad: Productivity
  7. Notepad vs WordPad: Compatibility
  8. Notepad vs WordPad: Updates
  9. Notepad vs WordPad: Which One Should You Choose?

What is Notepad?

notepad in windows 11

Notepad is a basic text editor that has been around for more than 30 years. It provides a simple canvas to write plain text, but it doesn't have any rich-text formatting tools. This means you can't customize text or add pictures like you would in a word-processing application like Microsoft Word. However, Notepad is still a powerful tool for writing plain text files.

When you create a plain text file using Notepad, it will usually save the content with a ".txt" extension. This is a container that doesn't include any style, tags, links, or special characters, making it an excellent option for viewing and writing code like HTML, batch files, and small programs. Notepad is also great for changing configuration files. Using a regular word processor can mess up the content and break your system or app. With Notepad, this type of issue won't occur.

Notepad comes pre-installed on your Windows 11 PC and is available through the Microsoft Store as an open-source project too. Microsoft has been adding new features to make the app more suited for developers and anyone who likes the simplicity of a text editor. Some of these new features include the ability to save files in UTF-8 without a Byte Order Mark, support for Unix/Linux (LF) and Macintosh line endings (CR), an improved "search and replace" feature, additional keyboard shortcuts, and more.

What is WordPad?

wordpad in windows 11

WordPad is a word processor and text editor that lets you create documents such as memos, notes, letters, and more. It comes pre-installed on almost all Windows versions and is more advanced than Notepad, but not as complex as Microsoft Word.

WordPad is a useful tool for creating documents like letters, essays, notes, and posters. It provides more than plain text, making it more convenient than Notepad. When you use WordPad, you will see a toolbar, status bar, menu bar, and page layout options.

Using WordPad, you can easily create a document and save it in different formats like ".txt," ".doc," and ".odt." You can insert images, hyperlinks, and dates to your document, too. WordPad even supports graphics and offers formatting features that are not available in Notepad.

However, it's important to note that WordPad doesn't offer all the text formatting features available in apps like Microsoft Word. Additionally, it's not suitable for writing and viewing HTML files, scripts, or other program writing.

The Difference Between Notepad and WordPad

If you're looking for a text editing program, you may have heard of Notepad and WordPad. While both programs serve a similar purpose, they have their own unique features and differences. In this article, we'll explore the differences between Notepad and WordPad, so you can choose the best program for your needs.

Both Notepad and WordPad are word processors, meaning they are programs that allow you to create and edit documents. They feature similar tool sets, so you can write down text, save documents, and open documents. This is the basis of a word processor; however, there are some key differences between the two.

Let's get started by comparing the features of Notepad and WordPad.

Notepad vs WordPad: Features

Notepad and WordPad are both simple text editors that come pre-installed on Windows 11. However, they have their own unique set of features that cater to different users' needs. Notepad is a lightweight text editor that's perfect for creating plain text files, such as code, batch files, and small programs. It's fast and easy to use, but it lacks formatting features that you'd expect in a word processing application.

notepad edit menu

On the other hand, WordPad is a more advanced text editor that offers more formatting options. It can add images, hyperlinks, and basic page layout options. It also supports different file formats, including .txt, .doc, and .odt.

wordpad saving options`

Notepad's simplicity makes it a great option for users who want a lightweight text editor that doesn't get in the way. It's fast to open and saves files in a plain text format, making it perfect for creating and editing code. WordPad is better suited for users who need more formatting options for creating documents such as letters, resumes, or reports. It offers basic formatting tools (fonts, bold, italics, and underline) making it a good option for users who don't need the full range of features offered by Microsoft Word.

wordpad ribbon

Overall, Notepad is great for users who want a simple, no-frills text editor that's fast and easy to use. WordPad is better for users who need more formatting options for creating documents. In the end, the winner between the two apps depends on your needs and preferences.

Notepad vs WordPad: Formatting

Unfortunately, Notepad doesn't offer many formatting features, so if you need to format your document, you'll have to use WordPad. WordPad provides basic formatting options such as fonts, bold, italics, and underlining. You can also add images and hyperlinks to your document or adjust the page layout options.

With Notepad, you can change the font and style of your entire document, which will become your default for other documents as well. On the other hand, WordPad gives you the liberty to customize each section with a different font and style. Even though users have asked for Notepad to support basic formatting, Microsoft hasn't said anything about it yet.

notepad change font

This means that if you need to create a document with formatting, WordPad is your best option.

Notepad vs WordPad: Productivity

Staying productive is important for many Windows 11 users. Notepad and WordPad have different features that can help with productivity.

Notepad is perfect for writing down notes quickly or editing code since it's fast and lightweight. You can open multiple documents at the same time and use its search feature to find specific text. It's distraction-free and has basic tools like Find and Replace to quickly make changes to the text.

On the other hand, WordPad is great for those who need more formatting options or are working on a larger document. It can save your documents in different formats and has basic features like spell check and auto-correct which helps with accuracy and productivity. Plus, you can easily insert images, hyperlinks, and tables.

Depending on the task at hand, both applications can aid you in your productivity.

Notepad vs WordPad: Compatibility

Both Notepad and WordPad come pre-installed with Windows 11, meaning that they're supported on the latest version of Windows. Notepad is also available on other platforms such as Linux and MacOS, while WordPad isn't.

In terms of compatibility with other programs and operating systems, Notepad has an edge over WordPad since it can open a variety of different file formats. This makes it great for users who need to work with multiple file types. It's also more versatile for coding since you can open multiple files at the same time and use its search feature to quickly find specific text.

notepad opening .sav file

WordPad is only compatible with a few different file types, meaning that it's not as versatile for coding or working with other programs and operating systems. Overall, Notepad has better compatibility than WordPad when it comes to working with multiple file formats and programs.

Notepad vs WordPad: Updates

Windows 11 introduced a complete redesign of the Notepad app, with a modern look, dark mode, and a new find-and-replace experience. Microsoft is beginning to roll out multiple tabs in Notepad for Windows 11 Insiders, indicating that the software will start seeing more useful features implemented over time.

new features in notepad

WordPad hasn't seen any major updates. The interface remains outdated and doesn't fit in with the modern design of Windows 11. It hasn't seen any new features added either. In 2020, insiders discovered that Microsoft modified WordPad in a Windows 10 build to incorporate ads for the Office web apps as an alternative. This indicates that Microsoft is phasing out WordPad and instead pushing users towards their Office web apps.

In terms of updates, Notepad is the clear winner here since it's seeing active development while WordPad remains stagnant.

Notepad vs WordPad: Which One Should You Choose?

When it comes to choosing between Notepad and WordPad, the decision ultimately depends on your needs. Notepad is perfect for those who want a simple and lightweight text editor for creating plain text files such as code, batch files, and small programs. It opens quickly, saves files in plain text format, and is easy to use.

WordPad is more advanced than Notepad and offers more formatting options, including font styles, page layout options, and the ability to insert images and hyperlinks. It also supports different file formats, such as .txt, .doc, and .odt. If you need a simple word-processing application that can handle basic formatting, WordPad is the way to go.

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which one is the right fit for your needs. If you can't decide, we recommend trying both apps for a while and seeing which one you prefer.


We've compared Notepad and WordPad for Windows 11 in terms of features, usability, compatibility with other programs and operating systems, and updates. We hope that this article has helped you decide which one is best for your needs. Whether you choose Notepad or WordPad, our tips and tricks should help you make the most out of these applications on Windows 11.

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