Kids nowadays ... Sigh!
WordStar for the go! FTW!
Microsoft has quietly deprecated WordPad, the bare bones word processor it's offered at no additional cost to users ever since including it with Windows 95. WordPad's demise was revealed in a change to Microsoft's Deprecated features for Windows client document, which as of September 1 added the following entry: WordPad is …
Those were the days when you knew by the size, weight and content of the manual that you were buying a piece of top craftsmanship. My copy cost over £100, but worth every penny for the revenue it generated for me.
Special mention for their document conversion utility, which did a good job of bulk conversion of most formats.
Plus their text editor, bundled with WordPerfect Office, which could cope with documents much bigger than the RAM inside your machine.
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Well, yes and no.
Yeas, it has the same keen pricepoint.
No, it is not as lean as WordPad (which can do the most basic things only). Loading time is quite a bit longer, especially on not-that-new hardware, and it times it can feel a bit sluggish (depending on document size - but these programs are just not fit for longer documents, I very much prefer LaTeX, but let's not start that discussion).
No, LibreOffice does not open the newest docx-format-files in all cases without issues. Formatting gets f'd up - but then opening the same file on different Word installs (even within the same company, centrally maintained installs, same central print server, etc.) has similar effects (don't know about WordPad, when using .rtf, as it does not save to .docx).
LibreOffice has more features, but (actually, in my opinion, like Word) too many possibilities for most people - and offers the wrong options too openly, which leads to people not writing properly formatted documents (don't get me started...).
I actually do use LO on my personal machines, it is not bad. But it occupies a differnet niche than WP.
Word had a long history of not opening documents written by later versions, no doubt a means of putting their customers on the update treadmill. Old habits die hard.
In the meantime someone who, for whatever reason, has accumulated a stack of .rtf documents, or may has some application that produces reports in .rtf form and doesn't wish to be dragged into Microsoft's online world, will be able to open them with LibreOffice.
Microsoft did indeed use the lack of forward compatbility to force upgrades on users. But this stopped with Office 2010 with the proper introduction of OfficeOpenXML. Many of the bugs you see in LO are down to a rushed and in part incomplete specification but some are down to seeming obstinacy by the LO developers.
Even Microsoft don't say they support OfficeOpenXML, they state their Office suites support "Microsoft XML". Not a single company supports OfficeOpenXML strict as a default file format. OfficeOpenXML transitional was supposed to have been fazed out starting with Office 2010 according to Microsoft, but no. Microsoft continue their vendor lock-in with file formats, there is no doubt about that.
"Yeas, it has the same keen pricepoint.... No, it is not as lean as WordPad"
Anyone looking for a lean text editor with the same keen pricepoint of $0 need look no further than Notepad++
Anyone looking for a full-fat word processor (not to mention full office suite) with both Universal-format and Microsoft-format compatibility need look no further than LibreOffice
I've used them all at various times for various purposes, sometimes untangling a Word document by saving to rtf then saving back as doc or docx.
It's not free but I use EmEditor in preference to Notepad++, especially for mass changes to various files, including folders full of xml or html.
Notepad++ is a fantastic text editor, but Wordpad fills (filled) a different niche of being a very simple word processor.
They're both designed for different, although superficially similar jobs.
Personally I can't think of any simple word processors like it, all the alternatives are full-fat.
"No, it is not as lean as WordPad (which can do the most basic things only). Loading time is quite a bit longer, especially on not-that-new hardware, and it times it can feel a bit sluggish"
Agreed. And despite the authors comment of "That feature set saw it occupy a strange zone", I'd say that WordPad occupied the "perfect zone" of being good enough for many tasks where some basic formatting is required, it's on every Windows box, unlike Office/Word and fits all those cases where NotePad is just too bare bone. I don't use Windows at home any more, but find WordPad very useful when using Windows at work or on a clients site. It's certainly very handy for print out those quick and simple, Very Large Font notices like "Do NOT Touch", "Out Of Use", etc. :-) Likewise, those one or two page documents that might need simple bullet lists or some paragraph headings. Loading up Word or signing into an online word processor feels like massive overkill for those situations. I suppose MSPaint might fill sign-making the gap, but again, that feels like overkill. And most places don't let you install random WordPad replacements from random websites.
My workplace has a medical document creation / management system whose web interface crashes with loss of (often lengthy and information-dense) entered data a little too often for comfort.
Wordpad is the tool of choice for people who want to keep their notes until they've finished and Ctrl+A Ctrl-C Ctrl-V it over into the web browser. Enough formatting to make it useful, simple enough that it works in less than a second from the asking.
You can tell the people who do it by the little trails of artefact left by dodgy UTF-16 to UTF-8 (or vice versa) conversion whenever it meets an accented character or em dash.
>>> Loading time is quite a bit longer,
I liked LO but as stated, the initial load time seemed pretty bad... turned out the problem was that LO was waiting for a network printer to wake up.
After changing the Windows default to a local PDF printer... now LO loads quickly.
BTW.... I finally switched from Office 2003 to LO earlier in the year.
I'm confused. Your comment and the article are both quite clear that WordPad can't save to .docx, but the version I have lists it along with .rtf, .odt, and .txt as options, although .rtf is the default. A simple document saved as .docx correctly, but I didn't try anything complicated in it. This is the latest production version of Windows 11, so maybe it was added more recently, but since I haven't used it in probably a decade, it could easily have been there longer than we thought.
"No, it is not as lean as WordPad (which can do the most basic things only). Loading time is quite a bit longer, especially on not-that-new hardware, and it times it can feel a bit sluggish...."
Yes, startup can be somewhat long and sluggish, but LibreOffice is a huge program and resource hog. But then MS Office isn't much better in that regard. The sluggishness of LibreOffice appears to be mostly related to it performing a shit load of disk access at startup. When I first got my 2013 21-inch x86 iMac, LIbreOffice took a few seconds to load and then a few seconds more once I selected my letterhead template in its Write app. When the hard drive crashed and I had it replaced with an SSD, LibreOffice startup time vastly improved, perhaps by an order of magnitude. But since then I've replaced the x86 iMac with a new M1 iMac and now startup is nearly instantaneous, about a third of a second for the initial start up and a bit less than that for template selection to start Write. So, an SSD and a fast processor are the key.
"I actually do use LO on my personal machines, it is not bad. But it occupies a differnet niche than WP."
So do I, although I do have MS Office left over when I ghosted a textbook for some professor (as LibreOffice didn't quite know how to properly handle commented inserted by the publisher's editor), I don't use it now because LibreOffice is not only easier to use but it's also free! Free is worth a slight bit of inconvenience, especially when that free product is frequently updated. It does have some long-standing bugs, however, that have never been to reliably reproduce or I would have reported them. But occupy a different niche? I disagree with that assessment, and that is based upon the many governments all over the world that has adopted various Linux distributions to avoid paying the Microsoft "tax" and have installed LibreOffice because it is an excellent replacement for MS Office.
Since I'm a Mac user, the loss of WordPad is not great loss to me. macOS's "TextEdit" will still be there and it serves the same purpose as both WordPad and Notepad (and TextEdit can create as well as save edited .docx documents.
A number of reasons I use it (& I have suggested it to users in the past wanting a simple WP), the main one being Word365 takes longer than ever to load & thanks to work requirements I get nagged into saving it to one of 4 groupings (Which work has failed to apply the mandatory file grouping meta data).
For a quick rattled off simple doc its a quicker option for me & can be saved\printed as a PDF.
I'll miss it as well.
One thing I used it for was a scratch pad to record progress of a piece of work, as I could cut and paste text and screenshots as I went through a procedure. It also handled UNIX type text files (single LF rather than LF CR pairs) better than anything else Microsoft provided.
I appreciated the very fact that it was a basic text editor with image capability which I could trust was on every Windows system that my my clients required me to use in their environments.
When you have an air-gapped environment with no access to the Internet (as most environments that I have worked on in the last 20 years have been), which have not all had Microsoft Office installed, it was a trusted tool that never let me down for what I used it for.
I was mis-diagnosed as a genius because I could open documents which others thought were 'corrupted'. I used WordPad, saved the file to a different format and basked in the praise and honours. They thought I had access to a non-disclosed 'special text editor' despite using their own hardware/software to sort it.
A big benefit of Notepad was tat it was installed with Windows by default.
Over the years I have encountered situations where, on a vanilla Windows system, I wanted to read the configuration instructions for some third-party package - which were provided as a .Doc in the folder created by the installer.
Just looks like my install sequence now needs to include a document reader directly after installing Windows, or accept the hassle of Edge…
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The thing about Notepad is that it's really a very thin application layer around the intrinsic Windows edit control. The limitations, like only one level of undo, are features of that control. Similarly the lack of ability to handle Unix line endings, but with a twist: in multiline mode the Windows edit control considers CR/LF and CR alone differently. The latter is a soft break.
It will show a unix text file with line feeds correctly, whereas notepad shows a useless single line (that may not be the case in recent versions but I'm talking about the ancient stuff that lives on our "production" machines, computers that came wired up to expensive tools & equipment which is still n 27/7 use and can't be replaced without risk)
That's about the only reason it's being used here, but beware, it might decide to write a funny invisible first byte to designate a character set, an evil Windows hack that has buggered up automated workflows here in a not immediately obvious way.
I have met people who swear by it as the "Word Processor that does all I ever need", and that's a fair point really. Not that these will likely upgrade from W7 or W2k or whatever they're using
The other week, a department assistant sent out a 4 MB Powerpoint file to well over a hundred people. The file had a single page with a short table - an agenda - in it. That agenda had already been posted on our intranet so they could have linked to that instead of attaching the file. Or, you know, they could have been copied the agenda and pasted into the email itself. Even a screencap of the table itself came in at less than 50 KB. If they really, REALLY wanted us to have the full company template with all reference colour swatches around the page, I'd even accepted a link to a shared document on OneDrive.
Contrary to popular belief, diskspace still costs money - even if it is in the cloud. And more data stored requires more disks to be installed, meaning higher power consumption. To butcher a quote from the utterly forgettable series Heroes; "Don't save the Powerpoint, save the world."
(Same OP as above, and I promise - I am NOT a Microsoft shill, or even particularly fond of their products. They're tools. There are other tools. I don't have a say in what applications we use in the basic office environment. I'm a WAN network engineer, I have strong opinions about protocols and vendors in other fields, but not this one.)
Our IT team has adopted the Microsoft 365 suite through-and-through. The Intranet I mentioned in my previous point is built on Sharepoint, and we use Teams for chat/calls. Some users, particularly in two countries, still use Viva Engage (previously Yammer) for information sharing. OneDrive is just the storage and file sharing component in that whole soup of applications. Speaking strictly as a user OneDrive is more or less transparent to me, a simple replacement for the classic file server group and home volumes that slots nicely into the Windows UI without too much hassle. Folders attached to Teams chats or groups can by default easily be accessed through OneDrive, added the Explorer Navigation pane and treated like any other folders on your computer. When I got a new computer a few months back I could use OneDrive to sync all my necessary files from the old one before returning it, which was convenient.
For personal use, though? Nah, I have a local Seafile server running on a RPi that I use to sync stuff between home and work PCs and my phone. Works perfectly.
a blank word doc is more than 15k though!
With email, sending attachment more than 3x oversize is a lack of courtesy, unless excused by ignorance
That reminds me of the closing sign off line of the once great www.ntk.net I.T. News & satire page:
"Sending >500KB attachments is forbidden by the Geneva Convention.Your country may be at risk if you fail to comply."
Quote: "...But at the very keen price of $0.00..."
As I recall, I've bought around eight Windows machines (workstations and laptops) since around 1991. No one asked me to pay for Windows, but each and every time, the manufacturer of the machine paid around $100 OF MY MONEY to Microsoft on my behalf.
It's actualy worse than that. Since around the year 2000, my first step after buying a new retail machine (and sending $100 to Microsoft....no choice!)....yup....my first step has been to do a bare metal install of Linux.
Simon Sharwood is being "economical with the truth".............Winpad was never "free".......
Most of the bigger manufacturers - Dell, Lenovo, HP and so on - pay between $66 and $92 per install according to version of Win 10 or 11. The discounts are for when they bundle Office 365 - they get around $50 off per install. This is why sales droids at those bigger companies always try to up-sell to include Office and other junkware.
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And gradually, bit by bit, Microsoft turn a once-useful OS into a cloud-only system with web-browsing capabilities by removing functionality, on little app at a time.
How long before File Explorer is deprecated ("we don't need local file management because you can do it online with onedrive and sharepoint") or notepad (same reason, and you can use word anyway). Then there's the calculator (you can do calculations with Bing's AI thingy) and the ability to run office apps at all. It'll end up like ChromeOS, totally unable to function without an internet connection.
It's already the case that W11 refuses to install without a live internet connection (all versions, so far as I'm aware). The home version also seems to now insist on a Microsoft account when setting it up. Pro version still allows local accounts, but they don't make it at all obvious.
Pro definitely does allow local accounts - I've been doing some testing in the past week, using the latest installer, and using local accounts throughout.
It's not made obvious on the installer - you need to select the option for domain join, then it allows creation of the local account.
No, it's not a bug - there has to be a way to set it up without an MS account for business users - there are plenty of use cases, and even MS won't (yet) go so far as to block that. It basically works the same as it has done through many versions of Windows, they've just made it a bit harder to find by using misleading wording on the setup screen.
Using the command line, Win 11 Home will happily set up a local user, via the net user commands. OK it used the msutil.exe trick on the login screen to do it which meant a reboot first from the install media. But my win2go 11 home works just fine on a local account and not using any Microsoft login. Not that I've needed to use it for anything since setting it up. I had planned to use it as a way to test what computers could actually run Windows 11, unofficially. It turns out almost anything 64 bit capable. Home or Pro keep nagging telling me it is so much better and get more from Windows using a Microsoft account but it isn't essential!
With home, you're correct because the workarounds are not obvious. With Pro, however, you are not correct. If you're not connected to the internet, they'll ask for WiFi and has a button for offline right in the GUI, which will allow you to set up a local account. The feature's clearly there in Pro, even though they have, in my opinion unacceptably, hidden it in the Home edition.
I would have thought wordpad was pretty much "done" and pretty much in feature freeze for the last decade.
Since wordpad only reads the newer docx formats I would have thought a plugin architecture to convert whatever to wordpad's internal format (rtf?) would leave the wordpad executable itself alone?
Years ago I would use wordpad on my wife's win9x PC which had an attached printer to write a quick business (paper) letter. Notepad.exe and wordpad.exe seemed to be the only sane tools on a Windows PC (from the corp. that gave us edlin.com :). The dos shareware PCwrite even earlier was not too bad for the same use.
"Since wordpad only reads the newer docx formats I would have thought a plugin architecture to convert whatever to wordpad's internal format (rtf?) would leave the wordpad executable itself alone?"
I agree with your "it's done" statement, but not the above. It IS "done". All it needs is whatever minor tweaking/updates to keep it running on whatever version of Windows is current. It doesn't need access to other file formats, or any other [breaking] updating :-)
They pulled that crap before. I was running Visual Basic on WFW 3.1 and trying to create help files. The documentation said to "Create them as RTF files with word or another editor". So I used the editor I already had, and the help compiler tool GPFed every time. Calling Micro~1 support, the the only solution was to create them - with Word. And sure enough it started working after I bought word and saved my files in it.
WordPad is definitely a simpler tool that reflects a somewhat simpler time.
The history of operating systems/environments was, for a long time, one of constant feature creep
I remember the days when it was exciting that DOS was getting an undelete feature... and looking back, it has never been a good long-term strategy for a company to sell software that "fixes" deficits in any operating system. There was once a time when having something like Norton Utilities/PC Tools was essential for any serious user, but most of the functionality in them has either become part of the OS or been made irrelevant by improvements in software or hardware.
WordPad reflects a specific point of time in the development or personal computing. It had just enough features to be worthy of replacing Windows 3.x's Write, but not enough to compete seriously with Word. It was there purely so that Microsoft could check a box in comparison tables when going up against OS/2, GEM or the Mac. "We also have a basic document editor. And a scientific calculator. And a paint program."
It's a shame to see it go, but I can't claim I've used it even once in the past decade. Are we now entering a period where the constant feature creep will be replaced by trimming? ChromeOS would seem to indicate that, but it's actually very much an outlier. I suspect that this is simply more an attempt to reduce the maintenance burden and attack footprint for Microsoft's development teams.
As such, I think WordPad currently tells us more about the industry's history and future than it offers in actual functionality.
Ah yes, the undelete command. I was a genius for 5 minutes when I told some very important people how to use it.
But back to WordPad, it's the only way I know to make a reasonably small RTF file. Word bloats an RTF file to Ludicrous Size. Off to go see how well Libre Write does . . . well not too bad, but Word Pad still wins the size contest
Maybe because if coding for windows? there were (probably still are, a long time since I last had to suffer working on a "GUI" desktop app for Windows where use of such a thing was mandated) various "textbox" controls that displayed RTF data, so would typically use wordpad to give the "nice look and feel" to the text fragment that the bosses wanted (as in their minds it was much better than plain text, though a pain to edit, hence need for an editor that did RTF)
"One of the things I learned from my dad - don't buy what you can make."
Very wise, too. And don't replace what you can repair. I remember my dad replacing the element in a kettle - these days you just buy a new kettle and toss the old one in landfill.
Of course there are limits, sometimes it makes more sense to buy in, but where you can make or repair, do so.
I've replaced to element in a kettle several times until the body of the kettle developed a leak. Since then I've had to junk one name brand hot water jug because (notoriously) a moulded plastic component in the latch failed. An appliance designed to be thrown away - but not to be replaced like with like. The much maligned Amazon Basics replacement just keeps working.
I used to use it for quickly generating barebones RTF to cull for snippets/templates for no-frills programmatic RTF output.
I suppose they are killing it off because it doesn't meet the modern standard of being bloated. I mean, what's a program if it doesn't require 100 meg of code and 1 GB of RAM to create 'Hello World'?
That's why I feel it's odd to remove it. Almost no maintenance, ie just enough so it still works as the OS environment changes and it's *tiny* compared to the rest of the OS install. So a tiny amount of resource required to stop the bitrot and effectively no extra space saved by removing it
The better Notepad got, the more Wordpad faded into crippleware.
But MS are not dumping their crippleware, they are just replacing it with Word for Office 365. And g-g-g-a-guess what folks? They crippled it not to prune the bells and whistles, but to cripple key functionality so the bells and whistles don't work right - and a lot else doesn't either.
Abiword is altogether more useful for banging out modest documents that just need basic font/images/tables stuff, then step up to LibreOffice for the full monty.
I just wish that at least ONE of them would handle HTML properly.
When did notepad get better? It has basically the same functionality as I could have written with about 20 lines of code in Visual Basic 30 years ago. I think they might have added tabs and the ability to open multiple files, but that is about it. They could have made it better by adding regex search and replace, syntax highlighting, block copy and paste, and other features that modern editors like VI have had for years.
Ah, VB6. There's your problem. Why do you want to use such a simple way of developing a windows UI app?
And I still have not found a decent replacement for VB6 although it still lives on - for now - in Office (even on Mac) as VBA.
Have a beer and welcome to the dinosaur club!
> open source alternatives Libre Office and Apache Open Office offer plenty more functionality than WordPad at the same cost.
Apache OpenOffice is almost abandonware and should not be promoted. Its fork LibreOffice is being actively developed, and is by now light-years ahead.
WordPad always meant to be a demonstration of what you could create with the Win32 API. That does not mean anything to modern developers so of course it will go away. The *cough* Microsoft *cough* Store has a number nominally free markdown editors, such as Appy Text. Also, OneNote can used for text of any sorts and it is also free. And as other have noted, LibreOffice, FreeOffice, and other will let you type for free. Finally, use the winget search parameter and look for ‘markdown’.
A pity really, though for many years I've wondered why WordPad existed. But in all honestly, it's more than enough word processor for like 99.9999999999% of people's needs. Very few people actually use features much beyond different font faces, colors, and styles like bold and italic. I mean, when's the last time you needed to use much more than that in any random business document? If more companies knew it was part of a standard Windows install, it could have had a serious impact on Office sales over the years. I know a couple of times when I was doing tech support work, I wouldn't be able to get back until the next day or maybe the following week, with the MS Office install disc, so I'd point people at WordPad as something to get them by in the interim. If I had forgotten to ever go back, there's a decent chance a lot of those people never would have minded.
I hope that they will consider open sourcing it so that others can potentially take up the mantle of ensuring that it continues to work with newer versions of Windows, fixing bugs, and maybe adding the odd new feature, like adding support for LibreOffice's ODF. Maybe they could rewrite it using WPF or WinForms on .NET and then provide the source code via MSDN or something as a practical tutorial on how to do certain things. Then provide the occasional update via the Windows Store.
"...though for many years I've wondered why WordPad existed."
1) Corporate intertia: Windows 3 and previous had Write so Windows 95 needed something like it.
2) As someone suggested up-thread, Wordpad was also a demonstration of the rich text component in the programming api - you could get the code and compile it.
3) And my thought: do you remember the little printed booklet that came with Windows 95 and explained step by step how to use the various features of the OS by producing a small document? It had a basic logo made in paint which was then imported into Wordpad and you added text with various kinds of formatting. Detailed explanations of how to create and save the files and how to use explorer and everything.
The point being that little walk through would work on any Windows 95 computer without additional software. Made training on the new interface much easier.
I suppose MS don't see the need for that now.
rich text component in the programming api
Yes, just a wrapper around the rich text component.
Which begs the question: are they retiring the rich text component? It's not .NET, it's not web/cloud, it's not in most supported applications and tools now. It's an attack surface written a long time ago by people who have retired or moved out of coding, so it doesn't have any internal champions.
"It's not .NET, it's not web/cloud, it's not in most supported applications and tools now."
Isn't the windows forms text box (or whatever it's called - the multi-line rich edit equivalent) a wrapper around the rich text box?
I recall having a major tussle with one of those a while ago. I wanted to flip the thing into plain text mode but the property isn't exposed. I found some sample code showing how to subclass the component and force plain text to true, which seemed to work, but then buggered up all attempts to get the correct caret position.
The fact that it worked at all suggests that rich edit is under there somewhere, but I'm not well up in the ways of C# and winforms. Since it was only a little hobby project that I thought I'd do in C# for learning purposes, I faffed around with it for a few weeks then gave up and redid it in Lazarus. Problem solved.
> Windows 3 and previous had Write so Windows 95 needed something like it.
When Windows 95 with WordPad came, I recall it actually had even less features than Write. For example, Write supported headers with page numbers. I actually wrote some report in a university course with Write on Windows 2 (yes, really) to see what these new-fangled GUI programs were about. Went back to LaTeX...
"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."
So its not going to be there in the next feature release of Windows, but does that mean if you have it already and then upgrade from a current release to the next one, MS will remove it from your system?
As im sure there will be some people who do use it regularly and will be annoyed that its gone after an upgrade and have to deal with MS suggestion to pay for access to MS word instead, and if they don't remove it and have to keep providing security patches for the life span of Windows 10/11 for those who had it from the beginning, why bother even depreciating it at all?
Surely a program thats been around since the 90s can't take that much developers time to fix the odd bug or security vuln?
The only "word processing" I need to do nowadays (thankfully) is the occasional one or two page letter for hard copy - WordPad allows that to be written easily & without having to wait for LibreOffice to load up (well, that is what it feels like). And it is a lot less cluttered (I don't need to use all that WordPad can do, let alone LO!).
Very glad to have seen the URL to the MS github, above; hope I don't forget to snarf a copy of that!
Still need to keep LO around for all those folks who send out weird format files in huge emails...
 proper big documents - like documentation - get written in plain-text with markup, pick whichever is suitable (Doxygen, Markdown, LaTeX, weird home-grown macro language thing), kept under version control and run off as a PDF if anyone wants a collated printable copy.
I store most of my self-documentation notes in rich text format.
I mainly use WORDPAD.
Occasionally I use Microsoft Word to set page width margins, use advance global search and replace for font and font sizes, etc. saving the .rtf file.
Then once more open with Wordpad, make some minor change, and save the .rtf file.
The Microsoft Word .docx file may have been 19K and the Wordpad .rtf file may be 4K.
The smaller sized file transfers faster to my backup drive, smartphone, etc. without the "overhead" that Microsoft Word included during its save.
I will DEFINITELY miss having Wordpad around ... when that happens.