Windows 11's Notepad is finally getting tabs but this app is better anyway

Windows 11 Notepad tabs
(Image credit: Future)

Woohoo! Windows 11's Notepad is finally getting tabs at long last in the year 2023. Time for a celebration! Or, if you ask me, you should quit using Notepad because there's a far better alternative that I've been using for a long time. 

Its name? Notepads. Yeah. Don't get too excited. 

But it's a really great text editor. It had tabs long, long ago, and along with that a heap of other features. It's also totally free, and even has that sexy translucent design so many love. Here's a little more about it. 

A free app packed with features

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Notepads was built as a UWP app and is distributed through the Microsoft Store (opens in new tab), the Windows Package Manager (winget), or you can grab it directly from its GitHub repo. Oh, that's the other part. It's open-source, and as such, its community can make contributions. 

The design is simple, but elegant, with all options and settings hidden either behind a drop-down in the top left or then behind a slide-out panel on the right. But importantly, when both of these aren't being used they get out of the way and all you have is a clean, minimal experience. 

I love the built-in text-wrapping feature, and there's also a built-in spell checker for all the times' words are incorrect, of which there are many. There are even options for built-in web search directly from the highlighted text, and no, you're not obliged to use Google. Bing is the default option. 

Theme fans will love it, too, as besides being able to control the level of transparency, you can also set custom accent colors completely independently of your Windows settings. It's subtle but slick, and really nice to play around with. 

There are plenty of other features, too, which personally I don't use. These include encoding and decoding settings, and even how you want the tab key to behave if you're using it to write down things like code. 

I won't go on forever, it is, after all, a text editor. But it's so much nicer than Microsoft's. 

There are some limitations

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Like all apps, it isn't perfect, and there are some limitations to Notepads which are written out on the GitHub page. 

These are down to being built on UWP, so you can't save anything to system folders, open potentially harmful file types such as bat and cmd, and it doesn't work well with large files. Right now file size is limited to 1MB, so if you need anything larger it sadly isn't for you. 

Limitations aside it's still a really awesome app, and if you mostly work in plain text then you should be totally fine with it. Take it for a spin, you might be pleasantly surprised. 

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine