WordPad is a basic word processor that is included in Windows. A word processor is a computer program that you can use to create, edit, view, and print text documents. With WordPad, you can type letters, book reports, and other simple documents. You can also change how the text looks, quickly move sentences and paragraphs around, and copy and paste text within and between documents.

The WordPad window

To open WordPad, click the Start button Picture of the Start menu, click All Programs, click Accessories, and then click WordPad.
Picture of the WordPad window
WordPad window

There are four main parts of the WordPad window:

The toolbar. The toolbar contains buttons for basic commands, including saving and printing. To find out what a button does, rest your mouse pointer on it. A box pops up showing the function of the button.

The format bar. The format bar contains buttons that you can use to format the text in your document. For example, you can choose the font, color, and alignment of your text.

The ruler. Use the ruler to check the layout and placement of text in your document.

The document area. This is where you type your document, make changes to the text, and apply your formatting.

Typing text

When you're ready to get started, type in the document area of WordPad. A flashing vertical line called the cursor Picture of the cursor indicates where the next text that you type will appear. To move the cursor within text, click where you want the cursor to appear.

Unlike using a typewriter, when you type in WordPad you don't have to press ENTER to start a new line. WordPad will take care of that for you by automatically starting a new line when you reach the end of the one you're working on. When you want to start a new paragraph, press ENTER.

Selecting text

Whenever you want to do something to text in your document, such as copy it or format it, you need to select it first. To select text, position the mouse pointer to the left of where you want to begin your selection. With the pointer positioned, click and hold the left mouse button while you drag the pointer over the text that you want to select. The selected text will be highlighted. Once you've completed your selection, release the mouse button.

Picture of selected text in WordPad
Text selected in Notepad

Copying and moving text

If you have text in one part of your document that you want to appear in another part, there are two ways to move the text around without having to retype it: You can copy and paste it to another location, or you can move it to another location.

When you copy text, it is placed in the Clipboard. You can then paste it in a different location. The original text is preserved.

When you move text to another location, the original text is not preserved. You might find this method useful when you want to rearrange the sentences and paragraphs in your document.

To copy text and paste it in another location

  1. Select the text that you want to copy.

  2. On the Edit menu, click Copy.

  3. Move the cursor to the location where you want to insert the copied text.

  4. On the Edit menu, click Paste.

Tip

  • To quickly copy text that you've selected, press CTRL+C. To paste it, press CTRL+V.

To move text to a different location

  1. Select the text that you want to move.

  2. Point to the text that you've selected, and then click and hold the left mouse button.

  3. Drag the selected text to the place in your document that you want it to appear.

Inserting and deleting text

WordPad makes it easy to insert and delete text wherever you want. To insert text, click where you want to insert the text and then just start typing. To delete text, select the text that you want to delete, and then press DELETE.

Tip

  • If you make a mistake while you're editing the text in your document, you can always undo it. Press CTRL+Z to undo your last action.

Formatting your document

Formatting refers to the how the text in your document looks as well as how it is arranged. WordPad lets you easily change the formatting in your document. For example, you can choose from many different fonts and font sizes, and you can make your text almost any color you want. You can also easily change how your document is aligned.

To change the font, font style, or font size

  1. Select the text whose formatting you want to change.

  2. On the Format menu, click Font.

  3. In the Font box, type or select the font you want to use.

  4. In the Font Style box, type or select the font style you want.

  5. In the Size box, type or select the size you want to use.

Tip

  • You can also use the commands on the format bar to change the font, font size, and font style.

To change the color

  1. Select the text whose color you want to change.

  2. On the Format menu, click Font.

  3. Under Color, click the color that you want.

Here's a picture of a document with some different fonts and colors applied:

Picture of text formatting in WordPad
Text formatting in WordPad

To change the alignment

You can align the text in your document (or a paragraph in your document) to either the left margin, the center, or the right margin.

  1. Select the paragraph whose alignment you want to change.

  2. On the Format menu, click Paragraph.

  3. In the Alignment box, click the alignment you want.

This picture shows how paragraphs look with different alignment:

Picture of text alignment in WordPad
Text alignment in WordPad

Saving your document

It's a good idea to save your document periodically while you are working on it so that in case your computer stops working for some reason, you won't lose any of your work. Saving the document will also allow you to come back to it later if you want to work on it again.

To save the document

  • On the File menu, click Save.

    If you haven't saved the document yet, you'll be asked to provide a name for the document and location on your computer to save it to:

    1. In the Save in box, click the location where you want to save the document.

    2. In the File name box, type a name for your document.

    3. Click Save.

Printing your document

On the File menu, click Print. In the Print dialog box, use the Page Range box and the Number of copies box to specify which pages you want to print as well as how many copies. When you're done, click Print.

For more information about printing, see Getting started with printing.