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New Features in WordPad and Paint in Windows 7

WordPad and Paint are often overlooked accessories included in all versions of Windows since 95. They are still included in Windows 7 and now have a new look with some enhanced features. Here we will take a look at some of the new improvements.

Classic WordPad

WordPad has always come in very handy as a quick and easy to use text editor for documents. Rather than opening up a new Word session to make simple adjustments, WordPad can save a lot of time. In fact it is all some users need to create basic letters and and other simple documents.

wordpad_classic

WordPad 6.1 w/ Ribbon UI

The new WordPad in Windows 7 includes the nicely laid out Ribbon interface which has been a feature in Office 2007 and in the forthcoming 2010. If you are new to the Ribbon, it does take getting used to, but once you do, you’ll wonder how you did without it before.

2-wp 

To access commonly used commands easier, just Right-click the button and choose “Add to Quick Access Toolbar”.

4-Wp

What may be considered the coolest new feature, it includes the ability to read and write documents to Office Open XML format, which supports Open Office (.odt) and IBM Lotus Symphony suites.

3-Wp 

Like in pervious versions you can insert a Paint drawing.

6-wp

Paint

Of course we would be remiss if we didn’t show the new Ribbon UI included in the new version of Paint.

7-newpaint 

Easier to access options for editing projects.

sshot-2009-09-24-[15-50-57]

The main menu offers more choices for saving, printing images etc.

menu 

It looks like the Ribbon is around to stay and it’s nice to get uniformity between Windows applications. Paint and WordPad may seem like forgotten accessories, but the new look and improvements might warrant a second look.

How about you? We are curious how many of you still use WordPad or Paint and what you think about the new interface. Just leave us a comment and let us know.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/25/09

Comments (42)

  1. SuAlfons

    In Office 2007 I apreciate the new quick formats. And how the new color themes make all things look much nicer by default than before.

    But after using it for about a year now (mostly Excel and PPT, some Word), I depply deny the ribbon interface to be faster.

    Try to draw something in PPT. Formerly, you could drag the alignment pallet with you so you had short mouse traveling distances. You could insert the same (or different) shapes faster. Now it’s all back an forth between Insert->Shape, Format & Style ribbon tabs. It’s a total mess! I do not speak of how I found the old text-menü items blindfolded (I did not). The ribbon just in itself has hindering design elements:
    * Can’t be dragged off the edge of the window
    * The element you need next is almost certainly on a different tab
    * You need to click on a grouping element and then choose your command very often, even on large displays
    * With current screen resolutions, it takes away much screen space (most people don’t know you can hide the ribbon when showing some Excel sheet in a meeting on a 1024×768 projector)

    Apart from the interface change, long standing Office issues have not been adressed. Try to type a structured document in Word using Style templates. The program keeps on to build it’s own “Quick formats” that clutter up the list. I hate it! For my personal PC I have quit to Open Office, which has an ugly, old style interface, but leaves most formatting issues to me.

    Regards,
    SuAlfons

  2. Bob

    Working in a company where Admin rights are locked down, Paint is the only option for graphics manipulation – this will be a big improvement, although I’ve become a dab hand and getting as much out of it as possible.

    I agree with the previous poster about the ribbon menu. I downloaded the add-in (from this site?) for the old style Office menu and refer to it regularly when I cant find what I need on the ribbon menu.

    I dont tend to use Wordpad. Its either Word for the fancy stuff or Notepad/Textpad for the basic stuff

  3. Doctor

    I think Windows 7 looks allot like a combining Vista and Xp any one get this feeling?

  4. Tony Patriarche

    After a year or so, I still hate the ribbon in MS-Word. It took me months to find some things I used regularly. And the style sheets just never quite work right. Excel is better; the ribbon layout makes more sense there, somehow. I am sorry that they cluttered up a good, simple product like WordPad with this unnecessary space-waster. The whole point of WordPad was to keep it simple.

    I used to use Wordpad a lot, a bit less now that .rtf is not so common. I still use Paint almost daily, for capturing & editing screen shots (tracklists, error messages, whatever), cut & paste editing, CD covers and you name it. I look forward to improvements & bug fixes. I just hope they haven’t “fixed” the “Print 100% size” feature — the explorer right click Print utility drives me crazy with its photograph orientation, and no “exact size” choice. If I’ve created a CD cover 4.75″x9.5″, I want it printed exactly 4.75″x9.5″ ! In fact, printing pictures the right size is almost the important feature of Paint for me!
    TP

  5. whiplash55

    Wordpad is so good in 7 all I need is a spell checker and its my word processor. Jarte works great as well and it has a spell checker.

  6. Jon

    WordPad did get a serious upgrade but Paint is still bad. I would highly recommend Paint.NET to anyone. It’s free and 10X better than Paint.

  7. calebstein

    I love the ribbon interface but I just wish that since they use the Office 2010 button, they should use the backstage view.

  8. Santo

    Good to know about the features in Window 7. But the ribbon feature in MS Office 2007 is a total mess. I had to remove Office 2007 and install Office 2003 just because of this feature and various formatting issues.
    Once I came to know about UbitMenu http://blogs.howtogeek.com/mysticgeek/2009/03/08/get-office-2003-menus-in-the-office-2007-ribbon/ then I upgraded the Office 2007.

  9. gyffes

    Good lord I hate the freaking Ribbon interface. Can’t find anything I need when I need it (that is.. NOW I NEED IT NOW) and (most heinous crime), look at how much more room it takes up at the top of the screen!

    Great, we all have WIDER laptops/monitors, but we’re still rather limited top-to-bottom; how nice of M$ to remove just a bit more of the space available for me in which to work.

    Bah. Bloody ribbon.

    Gimme Abiword (in fullscreen) or NP++ anyday.

  10. April

    I still use paint! Not so much wordpad but definitely paint. I use it mainly to resize photos and edit my screenshots. I loved the ribbon when it came out on office 2007 and having it with these two programs now will make me want to use them more. I’m stoked with these new features!

  11. B.A. Martinez

    I wish I would have kept Vista on my computer. WordPad on Windows 7 is terrible. WordPad is all I use (I’m retired) and Wdos 7′s WordPad doesn’t compare to Vista’s WordPad. It was so easy. I want to single space my documents — I change it to single space and low and behold, it’s goes back to one and a half spaces every time. The font size keeps changing too. How do I keep these things from changing back????

    Also, I’ve looked and looked to find out how to set TABS — I guess I’m missing something. I HATE THIS.

  12. Tristram

    Thank goodness I kept the old WordPad when I moved to Windows 7! For the simple text formatting I do (no pictures or other frills), who needs all those extra foofaraws, that bury the things I acually use? And why sacrifice useful screen space to that obscurantist ribbon?

  13. carole o'connell

    How do I get my settings to stay after finishing my document. It changes back to the original settings. And why does my heading always come out double spaced when I already have the document set for single spacing? VERY FRUSTATING!!

  14. Kristi Ambrose

    I actually have the same question as Carole.

    I use Wordpad 50-150times a day depending on how much content I am writing out. I absolutely NEED it to stay on Arial 10 font. But, it always goes back to that annoying Calibri font. And it also does the double spaced thing. So every single time I start a new document, which again, is 50-150 times a day, I have to fiddle around with this. Is there ANY WAY to make Arial 10 no double spaces the default?

    If not, Microsoft needs to make one.

  15. Bob

    I’m actually extremely disappointed with one “enhancement” that is absolutely pointless – any time you put in a website, it FORCES it to a link. There’s no right click/don’t force me to do something I don’t want to do MS, nothing.

    Quit making decisions for us MS. You’re making useful products not so useful.

  16. alexis

    I need to know how to single space in a WordPad document?? Why didn’t people just upgrade Word perfect It was sooooooooo easy!!!

  17. Ali

    I agree, I agree, I AGREE! This is a piece of crap system altogether. I’m about to throw this laptop against the wall. This is the THIRD time I type this message and it gets deleted. I’ve had loooong emails accidentally deleted. That never happened to me before with Windows XP. This is Windows 7. In any event, I’m typing an extremely important and urgent document that was previously sent to me and this dumb system DELETED first my answer, then it deleted ENTIRELY, So, I decided to do it in Word 2007 to make sure I won’t have any accidents, its extremely important and the font keeps changing on me. It doesn’t matter that I had defaulted it to my specifications.

    PROBLEM: After eight pages, suddenly I type one stroke and it starts typing red, underlined. I change the font to make sure is black, it doesn’t work. I keep working on it and it doesn’t change. I continue to look in that area thinking that perhaps I changed something accidentally since I had to repeatedly change the font. Nothing worked, so I went to the Help pages, to no avail, finally I thought the problem might be in the “Change Style” area, so I tried that, only thing that the problem got worse because now the entire document is formatted, I still can’t take the font color out nor can’t I take the “tags” out (like if the whole document was in view form ).

    I DESPERATELY need HELP. I need to finish this document TODAY and I’m not even half one done. Please, please, explain to me as if I was a five year old. Thank you!

  18. transce080

    I agree, the new default settings in Wordpad are HIDEOUS. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to double space by default should be fired immediately.

  19. daisy

    Wordpad on Windows 7 is absolutely awful. Who on earth decided that you can’t change the default formatting and that everyone who owns a PC with Windows 7 would love to use Calibri double-space and 10 pt space between paragraphs? Total agreement with a person who asked Microsoft to stop making decisions for its users. We’re not all sheep even if we all use PCs. It would be nice to have some more control over that stupid ribbon at the bottom as well. Vista had many faults but that wasn’t one of them.

  20. Ian

    The draft 10cpi font is missing in Woradpad in Windows 7.

  21. K H

    I agree with at least a couple of criticisms here for Wordpad in Windows 7. I agree with B. A. Martinez that automatically setting the spacing at 1.5 is stupid. There is NO REASON for it. Just because some dolt at Microsoft likes to customize it that way does not mean it needs to be hard coded into a default setting and I have hated how Microsoft thinks that they have to do things for us and make decisions for us. For instance when you high light part of a word, it automatically jumps the high light to the whole word instead of letting you high light just what you want.

    However, one thing that is good about Paint in MS Win 7 is the fixed a majorly stupid thing with Paint in Windows XP. They fixed the default of Windows XP Paint where it defaults to dividing the image among 4 pages. Why in the world did it get designed like that in XP. It serves no purpose. Fortunately it is fixed in Paint for Win 7 so that it doesn’t automatically distribute the image to 4 different pages.

  22. JAM

    I don’t have Win7 (yet!) but
    Does Shift + Enter bring you down just a line space, not a double space?
    Also, can you Select All text, then use Ctrl +1 or Ctrl + 2 or Ctrl +3, etc as can be done in older versions of WordPad?

  23. Charlie Summers

    I have learned to love Windows7 for its stability, but I despise the ribbon nonsense. While perhaps the menu interface needs to be revisited and revised, using cutsy little graphics that waste space and frankly tend not to look like what they are supposed to look like is not in any way an advancement, it’s just the modern equivalent of Clippy; annoying and useless. The Windows interface finally achieves some consistency, and now MS decides they want to blow that up. (NB: It’s clear I don’t use the over-priced Office applications so WordPad is my first, and hopefully last, experience with the ribbon garbage.)

    Gotta see if I can bring XP’s NotePad over – when you gotta squint to figure out which graphic is Undo, it’s time to revert to an earlier version.

  24. Isabella

    So… Where are the answers to some of the above questions?

    As I write XHTML and CSS code, I preferred Windows XP Notepad as my text editor. My choice of font style and size was always there for me when I opened the program. I would like to know how to install the old Windows XP Notepad into my new Windows 7 OS. Can anyone tell me how to do this?

    As for the ribbon in Wordpad… Well I don’t use Wordpad much, precisely because of it’s default settings not allowing me my own default settings when it comes to font and line spacing. The ribbon looks nice, but it IS harder to find things quickly. I guess it just takes getting used to it. I preferred the simplicity of the old style Wordpad.

    Like everything else in life, one can over complicate things, when simplicity is so much better.

  25. Rob

    If god visited me, and said -
    “Rob, I will allow you to clean up the gene pool, by nominating broad groups of people to be eliminated, immediately.”
    I would nominate these groups –
    - Those that think the wrestling is real
    - Those that play, or like, hard rock, heavy metal, or rap music
    - Those that like the RIBBON

    Rob
    PS I was tempted to include ‘Intolerant bastards’ but decided to let them live.
    God mentioned, as he departed, that it was lucky I excluded them.

  26. Roman

    I don’t usually get riled enough to write to fora about my pet MS hates, but why did some doofus think it was a good thing to do away with transparent rendering in Paint for Windows 7? Why can’t they just leave things alone? It was useful before, but I’ve got to find out how to downgrade somehow.

    BTW the latest WM Player is also so intrusive, I deleted it and got a free one. That one doesn’t wait for me to edit my tags and change them all back a few weeks later.

  27. Rob

    Isabella,
    Try EditPadLite
    It has everything you liked about Notepad, plus multiple files can open (in Tabs).
    And it has other features as well.
    http://www.editpadlite.com/

    HTH,
    Rob

  28. George

    I am absolutely sick that the new wordpad does not allow the default font to be chosen, as well as the size. Also I can’t find a way to change the margins, The most used windows program in my arsenal, has been rendered useless. Between this, and the fact that IE now does not have a Frontpage editor, has me scrambling to find another laptop with XP on it, or to wipe the drive on this one and install xp. Why would they take away the ability to change default fonts? and especially the ability to change margins and page layout? It truly is a deal breaker to me, when it comes to Windows 7. Does anyone know a safe site to get wordpad 5.1? i would pay anything to have it on this computer. Also to have a browser with the frontpage editor, so i can use this laptop to edit sites I have done in frontpage.

  29. Guenter

    In Win7 new WordPad I am missing the feature for setting/deleting tabstopps.
    Any help here?

  30. Shirley

    I found this discussion because I was looking for some way to get back to the simplicity of pre-7 wordpad.
    When I want to leave myself a note and save as a document file, I don’t want the hassle of full-fledged “Word” software.

    What’s the purpose of mucking up wordpad when there was always the option of using “Word” if you want the additional features?

    “SIMPLICITY”, Microsoft!! Do you KNOW that word?

  31. Jo

    Press shift + 1 for single space

  32. Jo

    Sorry, that was CTRL + 1 not shift + 1

  33. Lurance

    Yes I have found these time and time again to be useful little Accessories of windows in every version just now in windows 7 it is been made a lot more smoother looking easy on the eyes and better equipped to the users needs much more less of a hassle to get around and way easier to access things and get around in. Just one thing that struck me as odd was that there seems to be no spell checker…lol. Heaven knows I need one. :) I just don’t like going all out to get a really good spell checker when I the old noodle does just fine but I mean shouldn’t there be one in Windows 7 WordPad by now, :S at the least this is a GREAT little App like I said I will continue to use for now. Bye and thanks

  34. Type Your Name

    OH MY GOD it’s SO HARD to figure out how to fix the new Wordpad issues!!! If only there was a way to make Windows 7 run the OLD Wordpad!! NOBODY WILL EVER FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO THAT!!!

    EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Rob

    I copied the program Write.exe from XP to W7.
    I ran it from a folder that I had created (instead of trying to force it into System32 folder).
    It ran fine, but the supporting DLLs etc. must have then kicked in, because it shows the crappy Ribbon, etc.

    Because Windows is crucial to businesses in America, and is so widely used, I am going to suggest something that I thoujght I never would.
    I believe government intervention and control is required to prevent MS changing things, for no logical reason.
    They have forgotten ‘KISS’, and are discarding tried and true conventions, with no options available to revert back to ‘Classic’ mode.
    If the thought of government intervention frightens you (it frightens me), then we should at least pass a law that MS MUST provide a revert to Classc option where possible. EG -
    - W7 Start Menu
    - Control Panel
    - Windows Explorer
    - Help Utility
    - Menus instead of Ribbon
    - Stop embedding programs into the OS (EG Internet Explorer)
    - etc

    They are making me as mad as H…

  36. Rob

    PS I should have signed it off with -

    “Shirley, they can’t be serious”

  37. Rob

    I did some Googling, and came up with a solution.
    I have downloaded the web pages, and their downloads, but have not run them yet.
    Based on the comments, it appears that others have tried this, and been able to revert to the classic Wordpad.

    How to Get the Good Old Wordpad (without Ribbons) Working in Windows 7
    http://www.askvg.com/how-to-get-the-good-old-wordpad-without-ribbons-working-in-windows-7/

  38. Rabbit

    I find that there are far LESS features for Paint with Windows 7 than there ever were…:(

  39. Jerry Kahn

    When I needed to use help to find a common feature that was buried somewhere in the ribbon, Microsoft asked me if the Help was useful. Here was my response:

    Yes.

    It helped me see how a feature that was so convenient and easy to use could get moved to an inconspicuous location, where it is difficult to find. After using Microsoft products for over 15 years and becoming comfortable with them, I (along with hundreds of millions of other users) am going to need to relearn everything. I’m expecting the next version of Office to use a proprietary alphabet, so that even if one stumbles upon the command that s/he was seeking, the person wouldn’t know it since none of the letters would be the same.

  40. nam

    i dont understand how to make that red line go of. can any of you tell me by writing a comment?

  41. Jerry Kahn

    stupid

  42. Pam

    The only thing I can’t figure out how to do is stop my text from overlapping. I know on the old Wordpad, they had a button at the bottom that said OVR, but now its nowhere. Im trying to write a paper but when I mess up, I have to retype everything after the typo. Help? Pleeeeease. Ive spent the last hour searching the internet and I’ve found NOTHING.

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