What is Notepad and How to Use Efficiently in Windows

What is Notepad

Notepad is a text editor shipped with Microsoft Windows Operating System. It is a basic editor that allows you to create/edit text (*.txt) file. It has limited features compared to some of the text editors like Notepad++Textpad available in the market.

The main advantage of Notepad is, it is fast and consumes less memory and you don’t have to download and install. It comes as built-in in Windows OS.  You can use it to edit Java, PHP, HTML, SQL, and PL/SQL files. But, it is not a full Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

Features like Spell Check, Auto-Correction, Auto-Completion are not available in Notepad. Basically, you can use it to modify small to medium size files and taking quick notes.

Starting Notepad

Let’s see how to open Notepad. It was available under the accessory section in Windows XP and Vista. For Windows 8 and 10 follow this procedure,

1. Click on Windows Start and then search button.

windows logo

2. Enter notepad in the search box and click to open.

notepad search open

You can also click on Run and enter Notepad as shown below.

launch notepad using run option

3. Quickly an editor opens as shown below.

notepad window

How to Use Notepad

Notepad is easy to use app, you don’t need to spend lot of time to learn it. Let’s discuss how to use Notepad. This will give you a fair understanding of its feature and how to use.

1. Create and Save

Just open Notepad and start typing text on it and click on save to save a file in .txt format. .txt is default extension when you save the file.

You can also save the file with different extension by using File->Save as menu. It opens a save box, Enter a file name with extension and type as All Files(*.*) If you do not select file type option, notepad saves the file with .txt extension only. E.g. if you enter the file name as test_file.doc and do not select all file type option, the file would get saved as test_file.doc.txt.

2. Edit

Edit menu supports Cut, Copy, Paste and find operation. Just select on the required text and click on a cut to cut that text. It gets removed from the notepad and available in the clipboard. You can paste it into another document. Similarly, you can use copy and paste. Copy does not delete original selected text but just copied it to the clipboard.

Find allows you to search any text within the document. It opens a small popup where you can enter the search text. You can also select the option like Match Case and direction of search Up or Down.

find notepad popup

Find next allows finding the next occurrence of the search text.

Replace allows you to replace any occurrence of text with the desired text. Just enter find what text and replace with text and click on replace button. It automatically replaces the text. You also have the option to replace all occurrences.

find and replace pop up

Format menu allows you to word-wrap and change font.

Click on the font menu. It opens a font selection box. Select the required font and it gets applied to all documents. You can’t selectively apply a different font to any part of the text.

font notepad

Notepad Keyboard Shortcuts

Below are keyboard shortcuts provided by Notepad. These help to perform the common operation using a key or combination of keys quickly.

1. File

Shortcuts under the file menu.

Ctrl+ N Create new document
Ctrl+ O Open existing document
Ctrl+ S Save the active document
Ctrl+ P Print the active document

2. Edit

Shortcuts under the edit menu.

Ctrl+ Z Undo
Ctrl+ X Cut
Ctrl+ C Copy
Ctrl+ V Paste
Del Delete selected text
Ctrl+ F Find
F3 Find Next
Ctrl+ H Replace
Ctrl+ G Go To
Ctrl+ A Select All
Time/Date F5


Notepad is fast and consumes less memory, but you can use it only for basic file operations as it lacks advanced features.