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New Notepad app with dark mode arrives for Windows 11 Insiders

Notepad Windows 11 Dark
Notepad Windows 11 Dark (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is releasing a new preview version of Notepad.
  • It includes a brand new UI and a dark mode (finally!)
  • It's available now for Insiders in the Dev Channel.

Notepad is an app that has been part of Windows for as long as Windows has been a thing, which means it's a big deal when it gets updated. Today, Microsoft is releasing the first preview of a new Notepad app built specifically for Windows 11, featuring a new Fluent design interface that matches the rest of the Windows 11 UI, and finally introducing dark mode alongside it!

The new Notepad app is rolling out now for Insiders in the Dev Channel on the latest Windows 11 preview build, 22509. Outside of a face lift, it doesn't appear there are any new features shipping with today's preview update. Still, a new face lift is good to see, especially considering the Notepad UI hasn't been updated since the Windows Vista days.

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Microsoft is slowly, but surely, updating its in-box apps on Windows 11 to align them with the rest of the Windows 11 design language. It's the first time since Windows 7 and Windows 8 that we've seen a consorted effort by Microsoft to align the design language across all Windows apps, which should make for a much more polished user experience when complete.

The new version of Notepad is beautiful in both light and dark mode. It has modern fluid context menus too, though not all of the dialogs and popups have been updated with the modern interface yet. This is just the first preview build, so more updates are expected before it starts shipping to production PCs.

Microsoft recently updated its legacy Paint app with a similar new face lift too, which also aligned it with the Windows 11 design language. Again, no new features have been added to paint yet, as the focus appears to just be on UI. Perhaps this will change down the line.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the new Notepad? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Zac Bowden

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • That looks lovely. Too bad you can't sideload it on 22000. :/
  • Microsoft is just messing with old apps that they don't know how people use and making us all go through a lot of grief.
  • Do let us know, how do people use Notepad? Does this update take away functionality? Has the UX suddenly turned confusing? How does this not work for "people" anymore?
  • What is bad about adding a dark mode to notepad, a program that is used among others by programmers (for testing purposes) who can greatly benefit from dark mode?
  • But function wise nothing is really changed here, only rebuilt the UI for WinUI and got dark mode. Looks like same old Notepad still with same features, no more and no less.
  • I use "Quick Pad", created by the same developer of "Files". It's on the Store for Win10/11.
  • I really wish they'd swap out the old dropdown menus for a ribbon.
  • There's not much point to having a ribbon in Notepad. The editing features are intentionally extremely limited, and those menus that exist are mostly just basic settings or a few general commands for those who don't know or use the traditional and well-established keyboard shortcuts. A ribbon interface is best for a substantial number of commands and dynamic interfaces which Notepad just won't utilize. You want a ribbon? Use WordPad.
  • Ribbon would defeat the purpose of the compact interface/menu's of notepad imo.
  • I have to admit I am starting to get annoyed with checking the OS for dev updates AND checking for OS application updates in Microsoft Store. I longed for the day when I could run windows update, which sorted everything. I thought 11 was all about simplicity.
  • In the days you describe, most built-in apps never got updates.
  • The ones that did get updates were slipstreamed into the monthly OS update. However, the frequency apps may have changed has nothing to do with the annoyance factor of having to update the OS and update MS365 and update Store and update the Apps, no? Isn't it simpler to just get the Tuesday push, reboot and it's all sorted? One could not want to update the OS but can't live without the prettier Notepad, but, really, how many people make that distinction?
  • Why is this an issue if the updating happens automatically?
  • It isn't automatic; You have to launch the MS Store; then click Get Updates, then click update all, then wait.
  • Surprised they still haven't added an MRU file list in the File menu, would be handy. Also what's happened to Acrylic blur in Windows 11? (I've probably missed something) It would look really nice along that top bar of the new Notepad UI for example instead of this Mica thing. I read that Microsoft said that Mica would not be demanding on the hardware, which is ironic because the requirements of Windows 11 are high enough that every machine officially able to run it should be able to handle a nice bit of blurring/glass effect!
  • Maybe it's okay to share tweet but I also like this design.
  • Don't see any Dark Mode.
    All I see is a garbage, unreadable and ugly Grey Theme. Eventually Microsoft will learn...and then spend some more millions redesigning everything AGAIN to make Dark Mode properly: using black.