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What is the difference between Notepad and WordPad?

Answer: Both programs are text editors that are included with the Windows operating system. Notepad is the most basic text editor, which allows you to open and create text files. While you can create several paragraphs of text with Notepad, using line breaks (by pressing the Enter key), the program does not give you text formatting options. For example, you cannot change the font size or make the text bold.

WordPad is similar to Notepad, but gives you more formatting options. You can use bold and italics formatting, and change the font, size, and color of the text. You can also create bulleted lists and center and justify paragraphs. WordPad allows you to save documents as either basic text (.TXT) files or rich text format (.RTF) files. Saving a document in the rich text format will keep all the formatting you have done to the text, while saving it as a basic text file will remove all text formatting from the document.

Notepad is a good choice for creating webpages (HTML documents) and writing scripts or basic computer programs, since these types of documents do not require any text formatting. It is also useful for removing formatting from text that you have copied and want to paste somewhere else as plain text. Just paste the text into Notepad, copy it again from Notepad, and you have completely unformatted text.

WordPad is a good choice for writing papers or creating documents that you want to print. It is also great for making lists, since it supports bullets. You can use WordPad to open an unformatted text document and add whatever formatting you want. If you want even more formatting options and a more user-friendly interface, you can use a program such as Microsoft Word.

Published: May 15, 2005 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center