Dear Computer Lady,

As I read your newsletters, I often see references to Word Pad.  I know this is on my computer, but I really don’t have a clue what it is or how it can be beneficial.  Can you explain what Word Pad is used for?

Thanks, B.T.

Dear B.T.,

Microsoft Windows includes two small programs for working with text. One is Notepad and the other is Wordpad.

Notepad is a basic text editor that you can use to create simple, text documents. The most common use for Notepad is to view or edit text (.txt) files. Notepad has a limit on the size of a text file it can open.

Because Notepad supports only very basic formatting, you cannot accidentally save special formatting in documents that need to remain pure text. I will sometimes paste text into Notepad and then copy it again. This strips out all the formatting that might be giving me problems in another program like Word.

With WordPad, you can create and edit simple text documents or documents with complex formatting and graphics. This means you can have bold or underlined text, bulleted lists, font colors and images in your document. You can save your WordPad file as a text file without formatting, or rich text file. Unfortunately, WordPad does not have any spell check function.

Both Notepad and Wordpad can be found in the Windows Start menu under “Programs” and “Accessories”.


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