Initial releaseAugust 24, 1995; 28 years ago (August 24, 1995)
Stable release
23H2 (10.0.22631.3155) (February 13, 2024; 1 day ago (2024-02-13)[1]) [±]
RepositoryWordPad Sample: MFC WordPad Application (early version)
Written inC++
Operating systemWindows 95 and higher
PlatformIA-32, x86-64, and ARM
PredecessorMicrosoft Write
TypeWord processor

WordPad is a word processor software included with Windows 95 and later, until Windows 11. Similarly to its predecessor Microsoft Write, it is a basic word processor, positioned as more advanced than the Notepad text editor by supporting rich text editing, but with a subset of the functionality of Microsoft Word.

Earlier versions primarily supported a subset of the Rich Text Format (RTF, .rtf) and Microsoft Word 6.0 formats, although current versions are also capable of saving Office Open XML (OOXML, .docx) and OpenDocument Text (.odt) files.

In 2023, Microsoft announced that it plans to remove WordPad from future versions of Windows. In January 2024, WordPad was no longer auto-installed with the release of the Windows 11 Build 26020 and it was announced that it will not be available for reinstallation.


WordPad running on Windows CE 5.0

WordPad can format and print text, including font and bold, italic, colored, and centered text, and lacks functions such as a spell checker, thesaurus, and control of pagination. It does not support footnotes and endnotes. WordPad can read, render, and save many Rich Text Format (RTF) features that it cannot create, such as tables, strikeout, superscript, subscript, "extra" colors, text background colors, numbered lists, right and left indentation, quasi-hypertext and URL linking, and line-spacing greater than 1. It is simpler and faster than a richly-featured word processor, with low system resource use. Pasting into WordPad from an HTML document, such as a Web page or email, typically automatically converts most or all of it to RTF, depending partly on the Web browser from which the text is copied. WordPad is suited to taking notes; writing letters and stories; and use on various tablets, PCs, and smart phones. It is unsuitable for work that relies heavily on graphics and typesetting, such as most publishing-industry requirements for rendering final hard copy.

A character not on the keyboard can be entered into WordPad by typing its hexadecimal code point in Unicode followed by Alt+X. Likewise, the code point of a character from another application can be determined by copying it into WordPad followed by Alt+X.

WordPad does not support all the features defined in the RTF/Word 2007 specification.[citation needed] Earlier versions of WordPad also supported the "Word for Windows 6.0" format, which is forward compatible with the Microsoft Word format.[2]

In Windows 95, 98, and 2000, WordPad uses Microsoft's RichEdit control, versions 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, respectively.[3] In Windows XP SP1 and later,[4] and Windows 7, it uses RichEdit 4.1.[5]

A similar word processor, also called WordPad and with simple functionality, is supplied by some vendors on a Windows CE pre-installation.[6] Its icon resembles an early Microsoft Word icon.


Supported file formats
File format Description
.doc Microsoft Word Binary File Format; support for this format was removed in Windows Vista[2]
.docx Office Open XML Document formats; added in Windows 7[7]
.odt OpenDocument text format; added in Windows 7[7][8]
.rtf Rich Text Format
.txt Text file
.wri Microsoft Write; disabled in Windows XP SP2 unless registry hack is used.[9] Support was removed in Vista.[10] Microsoft Word 2013 can open such files, but may lose formatting.[11]

WordPad was introduced in Windows 95, replacing Microsoft Write, included with all previous versions of Windows (version 3.11 and earlier). The source code to WordPad was also distributed by Microsoft as a Microsoft Foundation Class Library sample application with MFC 3.2 and later, shortly before the release of Windows 95. It is still available for download from the MSDN website.[12]

The default font used in Windows 95 to Windows Vista was 10pt Arial; in Windows 7 it was changed to 11pt Calibri.

WordPad for Windows 2000/XP added full Unicode support, enabling WordPad to support multiple languages, but big endian UTF-16/UCS-2 is not supported. It can open Microsoft Word (versions 6.0–2003) files,[citation needed] although it opens newer versions of the .doc format with incorrect formatting. Also, unlike previous WordPad versions, it cannot save files in the .doc format (only .txt, .odt, and .rtf). Files saved as Unicode text are encoded as UTF-16 LE. As a security measure Windows XP Service Pack 2 and later versions of Windows and its service packs reduced support for opening .WRI.

Windows 10 and later versions support voice typing. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition SP2 and Windows Vista include speech recognition, allowing dictation into WordPad. These and later Windows versions implement the RichEdit control, allowing WordPad to support extensible third-party services built using the Text Services Framework (TSF), such as grammar and spellcheck.[13]

In Windows Vista support for reading Microsoft Word DOC files was removed because of the incorrect rendering and formatting problems, and because a Microsoft security bulletin reported a security vulnerability in opening Word files in WordPad.[2] For viewing older (Word 97–2003), and Office Open XML, documents, Microsoft recommends free-of-charge Microsoft Word Viewer. Native Office Open XML and ODF 1.1 support was implemented in the Windows 7 version of WordPad.[7][14][8]

In Windows 7 the program's user interface was updated to use a ribbon, similar to those in Microsoft Office.[15]

In January 2020, a Windows Insider build of Windows 10 tested an advertisement steering WordPad users to Office web apps.[16]


In September 2023, Microsoft announced that WordPad will be removed from "a future release of Windows", recommending Notepad and Microsoft Word.[17][18]

In January 2024, WordPad was no longer auto-installed after a clean installation of the OS with the release of the Windows 11 Build 26020 Insider Preview’s Canary Channel. Furthermore, Microsoft stated that WordPad will be officially removed in future updates, and it will not be available for reinstallation.[19][20]

Microsoft recommended using Microsoft Word for rich text documents like .doc and .rtf, while Windows Notepad is suggested for plain text documents like .txt.[19][20]

See also


  1. ^ "February 13, 2024—KB5034765 (OS Builds 22621.3155 and 22631.3155)". Microsoft Support. Microsoft.
  2. ^ a b c "Microsoft Security Bulletin MS09-010 - Critical". Microsoft.com. Archived from the original on 1 September 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  3. ^ "RichEdit Versions 1.0 through 3.0 – Murray Sargent: Math in Office". Blogs.msdn.com. 12 January 2010. Archived from the original on 18 January 2010. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  4. ^ "RichEdit versions – Murray Sargent: Math in Office". Blogs.msdn.com. 13 October 2006. Archived from the original on 23 January 2010. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  5. ^ "WordPad Numbering Limit – Murray Sargent: Math in Office". Blogs.msdn.com. 19 June 2009. Archived from the original on 20 June 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  6. ^ WordPad (Compact 7) | Microsoft Docs
  7. ^ a b c "Windows 7: The Top 10 Hidden Features". PC Magazine. Ziff Davis. 30 September 2010. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  8. ^ a b "[MS-WPODF]: WordPad ODF 1.1 Standards Support". Microsoft Docs. Microsoft. 30 October 2020. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  9. ^ "Error message when you open a document file in Windows XP Service Pack 2". Archived from the original on 3 August 2015.
  10. ^ No programme will display old *.wri files correctly
  11. ^ How to open WRI files in Windows 7/8?
  12. ^ "WORDPAD Sample: The Windows Application". Msdn2.microsoft.com. 26 December 2016. Archived from the original on 29 April 2007.
  13. ^ "Enabling Text Correction for Custom Ink Collectors (Windows)". Msdn2.microsoft.com. 26 December 2016. Archived from the original on 13 September 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Using WordPad". Windows portal. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 28 March 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  15. ^ Thurrott, Paul (6 October 2010). "Windows 7 Feature Focus: Scenic Ribbon, Paint and WordPad". Supersite for Windows. Penton Media. Archived from the original on 13 March 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  16. ^ Hruska, Joel (22 January 2020). "Microsoft is Testing Ads in Wordpad You Might Actually Be Glad to See -". ExtremeTech. Archived from the original on 22 January 2020. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  17. ^ Warren, Tom (3 September 2023). "Microsoft is removing WordPad from Windows after nearly 30 years". The Verge. Retrieved 4 September 2023.
  18. ^ Main, Nikki (4 September 2023). "Three Decades After Launch, Microsoft's WordPad Is Headed to the Trash Bin". Gizmodo.
  19. ^ a b Rashid, Dua (6 January 2024). "RIP Microsoft WordPad. You Will Be Missed". Gizmodo. Retrieved 13 January 2024.
  20. ^ a b Kaur, Gagandeep (8 January 2024). "Microsoft bids adieu to WordPad". Computerworld. Retrieved 13 January 2024.