Microsoft Explains How It Refreshed Notepad for Windows 11

Posted on March 3, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 11 with 12 Comments

This one is particularly interesting to me because I’m working out how or whether I can do the same with my .NETpad applications.

“The new Windows 11 Notepad uses RichEdit,” Microsoft principal software engineer Murray Sargent writes. “In addition to a Windows 11 look with rounded corners and a dark-theme option, the new Notepad includes several standard RichEdit editing enhancements, such as Alt+x for entering Unicode characters, Ctrl+} for toggling between matching brackets/parentheses, multilevel undo, drag & drop, color emoji, and autoURL detection.”

Sargent also explains how the refreshed Notepad emulates the drop-down Find/Replace dialog used by Visual Studio, and that the RichEdit control isn’t the one that comes with Windows but is rather the version that ships with Office, because that version has “the latest RichEdit improvements.”

“Imagine things that can be added given the power of RichEdit,” he adds. “RichEdit plain-text controls have only one paragraph format, but they can have considerable character formatting. It would be possible to offer program code syntax highlighting used, for example, in Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code. Another option could be to display HTML, XML, JSON, and RTF files with indentation and toggle between XML/HTML start and end tags like Ctrl+} does for bracketed expressions, e.g., in JSON and RTF files.”

Or maybe just leave it the heck alone.

Thanks to Simon F. for the tip!

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Comments (12)

12 responses to “Microsoft Explains How It Refreshed Notepad for Windows 11”

  1. navarac

    It all seems to me to be a load of faffing about just for the sake of it. Get some consistency in everything would make far more sense. Just leave it all alone.

    • fourbadcats

      The blog posts describe changes to the rich edit control so updating those is a path toward more consistency in things IMO. Apps using that common control ought to benefit from the improvements.

    • jimchamplin

      So... I don't get this. For years people have made it clear that MS generally does better work when they're transparent about the job.


      Windows 8 vs 10 for example.


      Now they're putting in the time to do the one thing everyone wants: Update things to be consistent. And people are complaining about the blogs, the announcements. Notepad is probably one of the most commonly used inbox application, and therefore needs it's overhaul to be something that will work for the millions of 11 users. Of not Mary Jo Foley will appear and destroy them 😁


      In the comments about the more eco-friendly changes coming to Windows Update, there was so much negativity, that they're spewing BS, or there's no point in talking about it.


      So which one is it? Secret Sinofsky crap that just gets dropped out like crud, or open and transparent work that can be responded to?

  2. igor engelen

    I wouldn't mind having an updated notepad on the upcoming server OS to easily edit config files.

  3. ebnador

    I don't like the idea of using richtedit for notepad. The one thing I could always count on is if I opened a file that I expected to be plain ASCII and it looked wonky in notepad then there was some character(s) that were not straight ASCII.

  4. ebraiter

    So I'm going to have to upgrade to Windows 11 just for Notepad.... :-)

  5. snowfront

    Notepad is a dumb app. Advertising it as a feature in Win11 is nonsense. Why is everything regarded as a big change in Win11 while it's only a regression or a small improvement?

  6. truerock2

    The best thing about Notepad is it suppresses rich editing.

    If I want rich editing, I use Word.

    I use Notepad++ when Notepad is not sufficient.


  7. Josh

    The first time I went to use this new Notepad I wanted to find some text. The find dialog covers the first three lines now and can't be moved. Who let that ship?!

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