Advanced features of WordPad

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Windows 98 comes with all sorts of advanced features that you may not normally use or even know about. In this article, we examine WordPad (yes, WordPad!)

File formats

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WordPad isn’t tied to its own specific document format – it can actually save multiple formats, including Rich Text Format, Windows and MS-DOS text, Unicode text and – best of all – Word for Windows 6. It can load all of these, along with old Windows Write documents. WordPad can even load Word documents from Office 97 release, although it will lose special features such as highlighting, and will change tracking.

Individual options

As well as supporting multiple file formats, WordPad can be configured individually for each separate format.

From the View menu, select Options… or use the keyboard shortcut [Alt] + [V] followed by [Alt] + [O]. The resulting dialog enables you to dictate how WordPad looks and works for different file formats, including switching off screen furniture such as toolbars and text rulers, as well as controlling how the text should be word-wrapped. You can tweak these options individually for basic text files, Word and Write documents, and Rich Text Files, as well as embedded objects.

Fonts and styles

Within WordPad, you can change the typeface style, name and size easily by using the drop-down menus available from the toolbars.

Surprisingly WordPad offers even more comprehensive font control than this, though – either select Font from the Format menu, or use the key combination [Alt] + [O] followed by [Alt] + [F].
The expanded font dialog gives greater control from one dialog box, where you can tweak all aspects of the current font, including text colour. You also get a handy mini-preview of how your changes will look, which is handy.

How to insert auto-updating text

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As well as supporting the standard cut-and-paste features of the Windows clipboard, WordPad offers an extra nifty function. Below ‘Paste’ in the Edit menu you’ll see the Paste Special function. Select this, and you’ll see a dialog box that varies according to what’s currently stored on the Windows clipboard. With formatted text cut from another word processor’s document, you should be offered options including pasting a picture of the text, plain text, Rich Text Format and the original word processor’s format. The clever bit is the Paste Link button – this inserts a virtual copy of the original text, which WordPad updates automatically whenever the original is changed.

WordPad add-ons

While WordPad comes close to being a free, fully featured application adequate for most daily word processing tasks, it does have one major let-down – the lack of a spell-check facility. If your PC didn’t come with a bundled word processor and you don’t feel like spending a fortune on a commercial one, you can make up for this deficit in WordPad’s features. Thanks to the way WordPad was programmed, it can actually be expanded with cool new features, including a full spellchecker.

Know your stuff

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File commands: create a new WordPad document, open an existing file from disk, and save the current document.

Print: sends your current document to the printer.

Print Preview: like the print icon, but offers you a smart full-page preview before anything is printed.

Find: opens the dialog that enables you to conduct search operations through the currently loaded document.

Edit tools: the edit tools – cut or copy text to the clipboard, or paste text or an image from it.

Undo: reverse your last action – it’s as simple as that.

Date/Time: opens a dialog that enables you to insert the current date or time in a variety of international formats.

Text Ruler: set the page width, control left and right margins, and set tab widths.

Bullets: hit this to insert a circular bullet character, and indent the current paragraph to the right.

Text align tools: justify and align text to the left, centre or right respectively.

Font Selector: use this to change the font of any new text you type, or select some text first to change the existing font.

Font Size: changes the point size of the font you’re currently using, or alter a block of existing text that you've selected.

Text styles: activate boldface, italicised and underline type respectively.

Color: opens a pop-up menu that changes the colour of the text, from a small set of
pre-defined shades.
This material is the copyright material of or licensed to Future Publishing Limited, a Future Network plc group company, UK 2004. All rights reserved.

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Article ID: 834950 - Last Review: July 9, 2008 - Revision: 5.3
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition

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