Notepad Logo

Notepad's logo.

Notepad is a simple text editor for Microsoft Windows. It has been included in all versions of Microsoft Windows since Windows 1.0 was released in 1985.

Notepad is a common text-only (plain text) editor. The resulting files—typically saved with the .txt extension—have no format tags or styles, making the program suitable for editing system files that are to be used in a DOS environment.

Notepad supports both left-to-right and right-to-left based languages, and one can alternate between these viewing formats by using the right or left Ctrl+Shift keys to go to right-to-left format or left-to-right format, respectively.

Early versions of Notepad offered only the most basic functions, such as finding text. Newer versions of Windows include an updated version of Notepad with a search and replace function (Ctrl+H), as well as Ctrl+F for search and similar keyboard shortcuts.

Notepad makes use of a built-in window class named "EDIT". In older versions such as those included with Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me and Windows 3.1, there is a 64k limit on the size of the file being edited, an operating system limit of the EDIT class.

Up to Windows 95, Fixedsys was the only available font for Notepad. Windows NT 4.0 and 98 introduced the ability to change this font. In Windows 2000 and XP the default font was changed to Lucida Console.

Up to Windows Me, there were almost no keyboard shortcuts and no line-counting feature. Starting with Windows 2000, shortcuts for common tasks like new, open and save were added, as well as a status-bar with a line counter (available only when word-wrap is disabled).

In the Windows NT-based versions of Windows, Notepad can edit traditional 8-bit text files as well as Unicode text files (both UTF-8 and UTF-16, and in case of UTF-16, both little-endian and big-endian).

Notepad also has a simple built-in logging function. Each time a file that starts with .LOG is opened, the program inserts a text timestamp on the last line of the file.

Notepad accepts text from the Windows clipboard. When clipboard data with multiple formats is pasted into Notepad, the program will only accept text in the CF_TEXT format. This is useful for stripping embedded font type and style codes from formatted text, such as when copying text from a web page and pasting into an email message or other WYSIWYG text editor. The formatted text is temporarily pasted into Notepad, and then immediately copied again in stripped format to be pasted into the other program.

Simple text editors like Notepad may be used to edit text with markup, such as HTML. However, because they lack many features (such as syntax highlighting), web developers may favor more specialized editors for this purpose.

Notepad Window

Notepad opened.

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