Get Wordy with WordPad

Get Wordy with WordPad

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  1. WordPad, in Windows 7, is quite a bit more powerful than the first version, to say the least. However, it is still missing a spell checker, which is quite an ommision for any word processing program these days. On the other hand, Microsoft would hardly want to provide a free word processing program that competes head-to-head with Microsoft Word. With that one big ommison, it has just about everything else one might want in a word processor, and is considerably easier to use than Word.

    What will you be losing if you switch to WordPad?

    • Mail Merge
    • Table of Contents
    • Index
    • Headings
    • Sections

    In short, all the really advanced features that make Word, Word. However, what you will be gaining is the ability to make a mistake and not totally destroy your document. If you have used Word for any length of time, you have stumbled upon, quite by accident, some short-cut sequence that totally changed your document, and gave you no clue what you did.

    What does this version of WordPad add? Quite a bit actually. I was quite surprised by how much Microsoft has added. You can:

    • Create lists
    • Change line spacing
    • Increase and descrease paragraph indent level
    • Insert pictues, output from Paint, date and time, and Object (more than 25 different types of objects, such as an Acrobat Document, a Microsoft Equation, Excel Spreadsheet, etc.)
    • Turn on and off a ruler and status bar
    • Turn word wrap on and off and wrap to the ruler
    • Set measurement uints inches, centimeters, points, or picas

    Of course, it has the usual features it has always had too:

    • Change font (size, color, bold, italic, underline, strikethrough, subscript, superscript, and highlighting)
    • Find/Replace
    • Copy/Cut/Replace
    • Set paragraph style (left, right, center, and justify to both margins)
    • Set zoom level
    • New/Save/Print

    Long gone are the days of just being able to save your document as rich text format files. Now WordPad allows you to save your document as:

    • Rich Text Format – .rtf
    • Offce Open XML – .docx
    • Open Document Text – .odt
    • Text Document – .txt
    • Text Document (MS Dos Format) – .txt
    • Unicode Text – .txt

    Together all these features pretty much defines a useful word processor (if it had a spell checker.) WordPad has certainly grown up, from a nearly worthless toy, to a pretty complete modern word processor with a reasonably complete feature set. It may not replace Word for complex documnets, but you may want to consider it for simple ones, as it is very easy to use. Best of all, it’s free.

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