WordPad, the long-standing free basic word processor, has been an integral part of the Windows operating system for nearly three decades, originating with its introduction in 1995 alongside Windows 95.
In an official announcement, Microsoft has confirmed the retirement of WordPad from future Windows releases. Consequently, Microsoft will continue to promote its premium and feature-rich word processing software, Microsoft Word, available through the Office 365 subscription.
According to an official support note from Microsoft:
“WordPad is no longer receiving updates and will be phased out in forthcoming Windows releases. For rich text documents such as .doc and .rtf, we recommend using Microsoft Word, while Windows Notepad is suitable for plain text documents like .txt.”
Around the same time as this announcement, Microsoft enhanced its free-tier Notepad application with features like auto-save and auto-restore for tabs. However, unlike WordPad, Notepad is limited to .txt files and does not support rich text document formats. Consequently, those engaging in substantial document work are encouraged to opt for Microsoft Word.
The most recent significant update for WordPad was introduced with Windows 7, when the dated user interface was replaced with the modern Ribbon UI, giving it a fresh and futuristic appearance. Nevertheless, Microsoft has since shifted its focus away from WordPad in favor of Microsoft Word.
Microsoft has also recently discontinued the standalone Cortana app, the virtual assistant, possibly in preference for Bing Chat powered by ChatGPT. Reports indicate that the Redmond giant is presently developing Windows 12 OS, the successor to Windows 11, with an expected release in early 2024.