Notepad on Windows is one of those old reliable apps that feels like it’s always been there – because in fact it has, having been built on the bones of an application that actually predates Windows itself.
While Microsoft has greatly deprecated WordPad ahead of its demise – and it’s hard not to see that move as a rather deliberate push to get people to sign up to Microsoft 365 subscriptions, because it loves all that sweet, sweet Word money – but Notepad remains and, it turns out, it’s set to get just a little bit better in a future Windows 11 update.
As Microsoft notes in a blog post, the latest Windows Insider Build (Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26010 if you want precision) includes a host of updates – as updates are wont to do – including beefing up Notepad.
It will soon be possible to edit directly in Notepad from the right click menu in File Explorer, instead of having to search for it as an app choice, and the app itself is getting a character count function.
There’s an important catch here in case you were thinking “great, I can ditch Word because this will tell me exactly how long that Uni essay is”, though.
Yes, it will tell you how long your essay is, but only on a per-character basis, not a per-word one. You will be able to see how long a text selection is, but again only at a character count level, not a word count level.
That’s more than WordPad ever got, mind you, but if you want a word count — and that’s what most people will want — Microsoft would very much like some money for that.
Not that you have to pay Microsoft for a word processor — here’s a fine list of alternative options if you’re a touch cash strapped and don’t want to sit there turning a future Notepad update character count into a word count in your head.