Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Microsoft is rolling out a new version of the classic Notepad for Windows Insiders that is testing Windows 11 in the Dev channel. As you might expect, the new Notepad app brings much more in line with the design language of Windows 11, including things like the Mica transparency effect and new iconography. Perhaps most importantly, the new app supports dark mode.

If you’re a fan of Notepad, this is pretty big news. Notepad has not seen a major redesign in one very long time, though Microsoft added a few features throughout the life of Windows 10. Now it’s going to look radically different. You’ll see the Mica transparency in the app’s header, and the menu options have grown. There is also a new setting button in the upper right corner.

The biggest news, of course, is probably dark state support in Notepad, which many of the built-in Windows apps have never gotten in recent years. It is intended that Paint will also get it in the near future, but that has not happened yet. This will make the use of Notepad much easier on the eyes, especially if you work in low light environments.

Microsoft has also added a new find and replace experience, which replaces the typical pop-up window with a small toolbar centered at the top of the document. This should feel a little more hassle-free to find results without getting our vision blocked. Another new feature is multi-level undo support. Currently, if you press Ctrl + WITH in Notepad, you undo your last action, and if you press these keys again, the action is repeated so that you can only really undo your last change. This change means you can undo multiple or major errors at once.

Some may worry that making changes to Notepad could end up destroying an app that people have trusted for years. However, the company reiterated that performance and productivity are “crucial” for Notepad and that it will continue to perform well in these areas. There are some known issues in this preview build, but the company is working on fixing them, as well as improving the support of very large text files.

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