Goodbye, WordPad: Microsoft Retires Rich Text Editor After Nearly 30 Years

Time to upgrade to Microsoft Word or limp along with Notepad for plain text documents.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read
Microsoft logo on a tablet screen

Microsoft is winding down its use of WordPad.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft will no longer be updating WordPad, a basic word processor program that supports rich text editing, and will no longer include it in Windows, the company said in a blog post Friday.

"WordPad is no longer being updated and will be removed in a future release of Windows," the post reads. "We recommend Microsoft Word for rich text documents like .doc and .rtf and Windows Notepad for plain text documents like .txt."

Microsoft did not give a reason for the change, or name a specific date for when WordPad will be retired. A representative for the company said Microsoft had nothing to add beyond the information in the blog post.

WordPad was first included with Windows 95. Its support for rich text editing makes it more advanced than another text editor, Notepad, but it lacks the functionality of Microsoft Word. Unlike Notepad, WordPad allowed the use of graphics as well as such formatting as italics, bold text and the underline function.

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian mourned the loss on social media platform X, writing, "RIP WordPad. You got me through a lot before I could afford Office."

Ohanian later added, "(WordPad) only had one job. But he did it just well enough."

Before WordPad, a similar program, Windows Write, was included with Windows as a stopgap between Notepad and a more powerful word-processing program.

WordPad is not the only Windows stalwart saying goodbye. In June, Microsoft announced that it was ending support for its virtual assistant Cortana in Windows as a standalone app.