Advertisement

Microsoft’s Notepad goes from a simple text editor to a mini-Word thanks to spell check and autocorrect - but could it lose its charm?

 Woman sitting by window, legs outstretched, with laptop.
Woman sitting by window, legs outstretched, with laptop.

The once-unloved Microsoft Notepad app continues to get new features, with spell check and autocorrect reportedly coming to the Windows staple next. Originally debuting as a heavily stripped-down version of Microsoft Word, Notepad is now beginning to resemble Word more and more with each successive update.

This latest Notepad update is currently only available in Windows 11 Preview Build 26085, which you can get through the Windows Insider Program, Microsoft’s community for professionals and Windows enthusiasts to try out new Windows versions and features before they’re released to the wider user base.

According to MSPowerUser, the upgraded Notepad app (version 11.2402.18.0) is available in both the Dev and Canary release channels of the Windows Insider Program. Apparently, the update will also allow users to customize how these new features are used. This is good news, as Notepad is widely known as a simple text editor, and I’m sure many users will prefer to keep it that way.

Windows Insider @PhantomOfEarth shared the Notepad upgrade on X (formerly Twitter), where he noted that the features are currently being tested by Microsoft ahead of a wider rollout. He also shared a screenshot of what Notepad’s settings page will look like and some of the new settings that users will be able to adjust (specifically, being able to turn autocorrect and spell check on and off).

While not seen in this screenshot, MSPowerUser claims that additional settings will allow users to tailor their feature preferences even further by selecting which file types the new features apply to. It also reports that beyond Notepad, Microsoft is experimenting with new sections in the Windows 11 settings menu and new user interface (UI) animations that will be included in this Windows preview build.

Early user reception of the new Notepad

The introduction of spell check and autocorrect into Notepad follows the recent introduction of Cowriter, an artificial assistant (AI) writing assistant, which was seen in a previous preview build.

Cowriter didn’t get the warmest user response, as again, Notepad is Windows’ staple ‘simple text app’, and many users aren’t interested in additional bells and whistles. It’s also a pretty overt attempt by Microsoft to carry out its promise to inject AI into as much of the user experience in Windows as possible, which has rubbed some users the wrong way.

It does seem that Microsoft may have taken note of this backlash in its attempts to try and flesh out Notepad further, with it giving the users options in settings to turn the new features on and off, and tailor what file types they apply to. I think this is wise and Microsoft would do well to keep this behavior up, especially if it insists on changing and removing apps that users love and have gotten used to over decades.  After all, Microsoft killed off WordPad just a few months ago - but that doesn’t mean we all want Notepad to simply replace it. Sometimes, simplicity is better.

You might also like...