Microsoft is killing WordPad, its long-running free alternative to Microsoft Word.
The company announced on Friday that it will no longer update existing WordPad software and won’t be available on future versions of Windows. The company urged WordPad users to switch to Word for rich text documents and to Notepad for plain text documents.
WordPad first came to Windows in Windows 95 and has been around ever since. However, Microsoft downgraded it to an optional feature in 2020, allowing users to delete it from their system.
Microsoft didn’t elaborate on its decision to kill WordPad.
As mentioned above, WordPad acted as a free alternative to Microsoft Word, which now exists as a paid subscription plan. It occupied a space somewhere between Notepad, which is also included in Windows for free and offers very basic plain text editing (and has recently received several notable updates from Microsoft) and the full-featured Word. WordPad offered a very basic rich text editing experience and lacked several significant features that Microsoft Word had, like spell check.
While I’m not sure how significant of a userbase WordPad had, if you were using it to avoid paying Microsoft for the privilege of Word, you still don’t have to open your wallet for a word processor. Alternate options include the open-source LibreOffice or even Google Docs if you’re just looking for something basic.
WordPad is just the latest piece of aging software cut by Microsoft. The company also recently put Cortana out to pasture.