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WordPad\program files\windows nt\wordpad.exe

A simple word processor.

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Start Programs Accessories WordPad

Command Prompt wordpad


Although WordPad lacks many of the features that come with full-blown word processors such as Wordperfect or Microsoft Word, it has enough features to create and edit rich-text documents. WordPad is the default editor for .rtf, .doc, and .wri files (unless Microsoft Word is installed). WordPad can also be used to edit plain text files (.txt), although Notepad (discussed earlier this chapter) is the default and is more appropriate for this task (see Figure 4-113).

Figure 4-113. Wordpad is the rudimentary word processor that comes with Windows XP

Depending on the type of file opened, WordPad may or may not display its formatting toolbar and ruler. When you use File New, WordPad prompts you to choose a document type, including "Rich Text Document" (formatted text, such as word processor documents), "Text Document" document (plain ASCII text), and "Unicode Text Document" (plain text using the Unicode character set). Once a file is open, however, you can turn on or off the formatting bar and ruler and even apply formatting to plain text documents. If you try to save a text document with formatting, though, WordPad will warn you that your formatting will be lost (since text files don't support formatting).

WordPad has several advantages over the simpler Notepad application. Among other things, WordPad lets you choose from a wide selection of fonts and font sizes, use colors in your documents, set tab stops, use rulers, and even insert objects (e.g., images, some clips, etc.). Although not a full-featured word processor, WordPad does enough to create simple formatted documents that can then be printed, emailed, or faxed.


  • You can open Microsoft Word documents with WordPad, but you might lose some formatting if you save the file (which will prompt WordPad to warn you).

  • Beware of the following when dragging a file onto WordPad: be sure to drop the file icon onto the WordPad titlebar if you want to view it or edit it, or drop it onto the middle of the document if you want to embed the icon as an object into the currently open document.

  • To prevent WordPad from overwriting your file extensions and adding its own when you save a file, place quotation marks around the name of the file you want to save (e.g., "read.me") and click Save. Otherwise, you'll get read.me.doc

  • Like Notepad, WordPad does not allow you to open more than one document at a time. If you want to view multiple WordPad documents simultaneously, you'll need to open multiple instances of the WordPad application.

See Also


  • Creative Edge
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