How to Edit in WordPad

by Eric Hammer

Editing a document in WordPad is possible if the document is in a format that WordPad is capable of reading. Generally, this includes Rich Text Format (.rtf) files and .txt files. WordPad for Windows 7 also allows you to read the .docx format, which was introduced with Office 2007, and the .odt file format, which is commonly used by OpenOffice and a number of other open-source word processors.

Step 1

Right-click the file you wish to open.

Step 2

Select "Open with." A dialog box opens asking you with which program you would like to edit the document. If you do not wish to use WordPad all the time to edit documents like this, be sure that the "Use this program for all files of this type" box is unchecked.

Select "WordPad." Click "OK." The document opens in WordPad. You can now edit the document in the same way that you would with any other word processor. When you are finished, click "File" and "Save." In Windows 7 WordPad, click the disk icon.


  • WordPad in Windows XP is capable of reading .doc format files, but it often has trouble with formatting since certain features unique to Word are not included in WordPad. Therefore, you should not attempt to edit .doc files in WordPad.


  • You should save your files in WordPad using the .rtf file format, even if you started with a .txt format. The .txt format doesn't save any kind of formatting, so any formatting you've done using WordPad will be lost if you save in that format. Save in .txt only if you know that you will need to open the document in a plain text editor such as Notepad.
  • If WordPad is not displayed as an option for reading the file you clicked on, that means that WordPad cannot read that kind of file. This is because WordPad is installed automatically together with Windows, and it automatically associates itself with all file types it can read. Even if you install another word processor such as OpenOffice or Word, WordPad should still display as an option for "Open with."


About the Author

Eric Hammer has been writing professionally since 2005. His work has appeared in "The Jerusalem Post" and "The New Standard" newspapers. In addition, he writes for various websites. Hammer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts from Excelsior College.

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