The Difference Between Wordpad & Microsoft Word

Written by jenny westberg
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The Difference Between Wordpad & Microsoft Word
Both WordPad and Word offer basic word processing features. (businessman with a cup of coffee image by Andrii Oleksiienko from Fotolia.com)

When you're choosing a word processing program, think about how you'll be using it. If you want to type letters and simple documents, WordPad may be perfect. If you need to process long or complex documents with footnotes, bibliographies, graphics or automation, consider Microsoft Word.

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Cost

WordPad comes with Windows at no extra cost. In 2010, Microsoft offered the most recent edition of Word for £90.9.

The Difference Between Wordpad & Microsoft Word
One big difference between Word and WordPad is the cost. (money money money image by Arman Zhenikeyev from Fotolia.com)

Basics

Both Microsoft Word and WordPad allow you to create, view, edit and print documents, and both programs let you move, copy and paste text, change fonts and use colour.

The Difference Between Wordpad & Microsoft Word
You can apply colour in WordPad, but not special effects. (colourful crayons on a white background with text space image by davidcrehner from Fotolia.com)

Compatibility

In WordPad, you can save documents as Rich Text Format (RTF) or plain-text files (.txt). The Windows 7 version also supports Word files (.docx) and OpenDocument Text (.odt). Microsoft Word lets you convert files to many other formats, such as PDF, WordPerfect and HTML.

The Difference Between Wordpad & Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word lets you convert a document to a web page. (world wide web image by dead_account from Fotolia.com)

Tables and Graphics

In Microsoft Word, you can perform calculations in a table or use WordArt effects for decorative text. WordPad lets you insert certain graphic objects and charts. To create a table in WordPad, use spaces or tabs to align the columns.

The Difference Between Wordpad & Microsoft Word
For tables with calculations, choose Word rather than WordPad. (Calculator image by Alla Podkopaeva from Fotolia.com)

Other

Microsoft Word offers a variety of other tools unavailable in WordPad, such as templates, styles, and the ability to automate repetitive tasks with macros.

The Difference Between Wordpad & Microsoft Word
WordPad is free, but Word offers more functionality. (computer image by Kit Wai Chan from Fotolia.com)

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