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RIP WordPad

Nearly three decades after its launch, WordPad is leaving Windows.

WordPad, the rich text editor shipped with Windows 95, will soon be removed from Windows 11. Microsoft announced last year that WordPad will be removed, but we now have a concrete timeframe: In a support article, Microsoft says that WordPad will be gone in Windows 11 24H2. Its name suggests when Windows 11 24H2 will be released—the second half of 2024—and it will be the first version of Windows 11 to ship without its iconic rich text editor. “WordPad will be removed from all editions of Windows starting in Windows 11, version 24H2 and Windows Server 2025,” Microsoft says in its statement. “As a result, Windows will no longer have a built-in, default RTF reader. We recommend Microsoft Word for rich text documents like .doc and .rtf and Notepad for plain text documents like .txt.”

Of course, the writing has been on the wall for years. The text editor is another of those apps whose UI has been stuck in the past, and its features haven’t been updated in many years. You likely won’t miss it in any functional sense; we’ll just share in the nostalgia of remembering when we might have used it in the past.

Notepad still ships with Windows, though, and will continue to do so, although Notepad is a plain-text editor, which means that you can’t make text bold, italicized, underlined, or change the font size. After Windows 24H2, we won’t have any rich text editor to use by default, and our best bet for a free rich text editor will be an online app like Google Docs or Microsoft 365 Online, or a free office suite like LibreOffice

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