By Kim Lindsey published March 22, 2017

Now Is The Time For You To Know The Truth About Notepad

Notepad is our friend

… is one of my professional mottos. In 16+ years as a writer, I’ve consistently promoted this handy little tool  (free with Windows!).

Why is Notepad our friend?

Great question!

Found within Windows Accessories, Notepad is a basic text editor, period. No frills, no formatting, no layout – none of that.

Doesn’t sound too useful, you say?

For writing documents, you’re correct.

But what if you have source material – such as a web page, or an email, or anything with text – and you want to Copy and Paste all or part of it into another file that’s in a different format? Maybe you’re using a sentence from a web page on a PowerPoint slide, or moving a paragraph from a Lotus Notes email into Framemaker, or repurposing text from a PDF for any reason.

If you’ve tried it, you know what happens: the pasted material brings along the back-end code that provided its format and function and the end result can look pretty weird – fonts and colors and characters that who knows what they are?

Newer document tools may allow you to “Paste Without Formatting,” but there’s always a suspicion: What if it’s not really gone?

Enter Notepad.

Paste your content into Notepad, and all that’s there is the text. Formatting? – GONE. Hyperlinks? – GONE. Images in the middle of the source content? Captions only. Fields and layout from an online form? They’re all just text now. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Now you can Copy your clean, raw text from Notepad and Paste it into whatever target you like. A 2-stage Copy/Paste through Notepad normalizes everything to the same plain-text level, saving time and trouble.

This trick is particularly useful if you’re compiling material from multiple sources, in numerous document formats, into a single document for easy access. This common research task is a breeze with Notepad’s help.

So next time you’re moving text from one place to another, take it through Notepad first. It’ll be your friend too!


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