Notepad vs WordPad

Like MS Paint, Notepad and WordPad applications have been a part of the Windows operating system for a long time. WordPad isn’t anywhere close to MS word when it comes to functions, but it is an excellent alternative to Notepad and other basic text editors available for the Windows OS.

Is NotePad better than WordPad? Which application provides more features? Below, we’ve shared the similarities and differences between the two utility software of the Windows OS.

WordPad vs Notepad

Layout: WordPad flaunts the hallmark ribbon UI of the Microsoft Office Suite. The UI looks terrific. Notepad has a very basic user interface. You’ll find the following options on the toolbar of WordPad:

  • Clipboard, font.
  • Pictures, drawing, date, insert object.
  • Editing.

Notepad lacks a toolbar and includes just three items in the menu – file, edit, and view. WordPad has two menus – File, Home, View. The “view” menu, when clicked, shows the following options:

  • Zoom in/out, 100%.
  • Ruler, status bar, word wrap, measurement units.

Font: In Notepad and WordPad, you can change the font family and size of the text. WordPad offers these extra formatting options – bold, underline, italic the text. You can change the text alignment and increase/decrease its indentation in WordPad. WP enables you to highlight text with a specific color. You can also change the color of the text in it. You cannot change the text color in the Notepad.

Object insertion: You can insert objects created with MS Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc in WordPad. In Notepad, you can edit or create text documents only. If you open Rich Text Files in Notepad, you may see Unicode/special characters, but this is not the case with WordPad. Here are the objects that WordPad supports:

  • Word document, chart, picture created with paint.
  • Slide, entire presentation, etc.

Dates and photos: In addition to objects, you can insert images in WordPad. You’ll also find an option to insert dates of various formats in the document. The software supports ten date and time formats.

Supported documents: Although NotePad can open any document, it is used primarily to create or edit .txt format files. If the application doesn’t support the file and you open it, NotePad will display strange characters amidst the text content. WordPad lets users edit RTF, MS Word files. It also supports the files created with LibreOffice, the free, open-source Office Suite software.

Large files: Sometimes, you may want to edit large files. Although terminal-based applications do a great job opening such files, some GUI applications let users work with large files. WordPad can open huge files without causing the system to slow down. If you open large files with Notepad, your system might freeze or stop functioning for some minutes.

Lists: WordPad can convert lines to ordered or unordered lists with a click of a button. Notepad doesn’t support lists.

Line spacing: A document may look ugly if lines are very close to each other. In Notepad, the line spacing is preset. You cannot change it. On the WordPad toolbar, you’ll find an option to set the “Line Spacing” to 1.0, 1.15, 1.5, 2. The software can automatically add a 10 point space after a paragraph.

Autosave: One of the major limitations of WordPad and Notepad is that these two applications don’t have an autosave function. Thus, if you don’t save your work manually at regular intervals, you may lose it forever.

Theme: NP ships with two themes – light and dark. To see the option of changing the theme, click the gear icon displayed at the top right corner of the application’s interface. You cannot change the color scheme of WordPad to dark in WordPad.

Printing: The option to print a document or a text file is present in both applications. If you don’t have an MS Office subscription plan and you want to print a Word file, you can use WordPad.

Alternatives to WordPad and Notepad:

Google docs: With this cloud-based Google software, you can create complex documents online for free. To create a document, all you need is a Google account. Google Docs provides more options than WordPad and Notepad. Most importantly, it saves your file to Google Drive automatically every time you make some changes to it.

Zoho Docs: One of the best alternatives to Google Docs is Zoho Docs. Although it has a bit outdated UI, ZD provides dozens of options for creating complex documents online. Like the above applications, Zoho will save the file automatically. This ensures that you won’t lose the changes or work when the system crashes or accidentally close the browser’s tab.

Closing words: WordPad has more options than Notepad, but the latter is better if you want to take notes or write down something quickly. You can use it as a free alternative to MS Word to create rich documents.

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