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A component of Microsoft Windows
WordPad on Windows 7.png
WordPad on Windows 7
Included with Windows 95 and higher
Replaces Microsoft Write
Related components

WordPad is a basic word processor that is included with almost all versions of Microsoft Windows from Windows 95 upwards. It is more advanced than Notepad but simpler than Microsoft Works Word Processor and Microsoft Word. It replaced Microsoft Write.


WordPad can format and print text, but lacks intermediate features such as a spell checker, thesaurus, and support for tables. As such, it is suitable for writing letters or short pieces, but underpowered for work that relies heavily on graphics or longer works such as books.

WordPad natively supports the Rich Text Format, though it does not support all the authoring features the RTF specification supports. It uses Microsoft's RichEdit control, version 4.1 of which comes with Windows XP SP1 and later operating systems,[1] including Windows Vista. Previous versions also supported the "Word for Windows 6.0" format, which is forward compatible with the Microsoft Word format.

WordPad for Windows XP added full Unicode support, enabling WordPad to support multiple languages. It can open Microsoft Word (versions 6.0-2003) files, although sometimes with incorrect formatting. But unlike previous WordPad versions, it cannot save files in the .doc format (only .txt or .rtf). Windows XP Service Pack 2 disabled support for opening .WRI files for security purposes.

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition SP2 and Windows Vista include speech recognition, and therefore dictation into WordPad is possible. In these and later operating systems, the RichEdit control, and as a result, WordPad, support extensible third-party services (such as grammar and spell check) built using the Text Services Framework (TSF).[2]

In Windows Vista, support for reading Microsoft Word DOC files was removed because of the incorrect rendering and formatting problems, as well as a Microsoft security bulletin that reported a security vulnerability in opening Word files in WordPad.[3] For viewing older (97-2003) as well as newer (Office Open XML) documents, Microsoft recommends Word Viewer, which is available for free. Native Office Open XML and ODF support was released in the Windows 7 version of WordPad.[4]


WordPad was introduced in Windows 95, replacing Microsoft Write, which came with all previous versions of Windows (version 3.1 and earlier). The source code to WordPad was also distributed by Microsoft as a Microsoft Foundation Classes sample application with MFC 3.2 and later, shortly before the release of Windows 95. It is still available for download from the MSDN Web site.

Microsoft has updated the user interface for WordPad in Windows 7, giving it an Office 2007-style ribbon that replaces the application menu and toolbars. Other bundled Windows applications such as Paint have had similar changes of interface.[5] From Windows 7 onwards, WordPad includes support for Office Open XML and OpenDocument Format.[6]


Simple English

Wordpad is a computer program like Notepad. It allows the user to change text documents. Wordpad gives the user the option of formatting the text, unlike Notepad, but is very basic compared to full word processors like Microsoft Word or OpenOffice Writer. Wordpad saves documents in Rich Text Format, unlike Notepad's use of simple text files, allowing users to change the alignment and color of the font, and add things like bullets and font effects. Microsoft is the developer of Wordpad.

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