How to Upgrade Microsoft WordPad

By Bryan Cohen

Upgrading your operating system or word processor tool can be difficult. If you’re used to doing things a certain way, a sudden change can truly throw you off. If you are dedicated to using Microsoft WordPad, an upgrade of your operating system is the only way to get a true upgrade. If you’re willing to compromise, however, there are free options for upgrading your simple word processing needs.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows 7

The True Upgrade

Step 1

If you have Windows XP or Vista and you wish to upgrade your WordPad, the simple way is to upgrade your system to Windows 7.

Step 2

Windows 7 upgrading has been known to cause some compatibility issues with certain programs, so to ensure that this conversion goes smoothly, consult a licensed technician.

Step 3

Once Windows 7 has been installed, find WordPad in your list of programs. This can be accessed by clicking on the icon at the bottom left corner of your screen or by going to your list of programs in Windows Explorer.

Step 4

Open WordPad to find that it has been upgraded to a new ribbon format similar to Word 2007.

The Piece-by-Piece Upgrade

Step 1

Open your preferred Internet browser.

Step 2

Decide what function you would like for your WordPad program to inherit. Many third-party developers have created certain tools that improve the functionality of WordPad. For example, a program called tinySpell adds a spell checker that you can use with WordPad.

Step 3

Find the program that you desire (see Resources for a link to tinySpell), and download it to your computer. Unzip and install the program on your computer. This will add to the functionality of your program. It is not a true upgrade, but it will add features to your favorite word processor.

Open Office

Step 1

Some word processor users who desire free word processing with more functions have decided to switch to Open Office. To follow this path, open your Internet browser and go to www.openoffice.org.

Step 2

Click on the icon titled “I want to download OpenOffice.org,” then click on the icon labeled “Download Now!” The download should start immediately.

Step 3

Click "Save File." Follow the steps of the download to put Open Office onto your computer. At the end of your download, you will be asked if you want to open the program right away. Click that box, and close the download window.

Step 4

You can now use a free word processor with more features than your previous version of WordPad.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep in mind that Open Office saves its files to the ODT file extension by default. If you wish to save it to a .doc file, you must select that extension when you save.
  • Not all third-party developers can be trusted. Find a positive trusted review of software before you download it.