What Are the 10 Different Parts of a Wordpad Window?

By Laurel Storm

Wordpad is a basic word processing program available for the Windows operating system. Understanding what the different parts of the Wordpad window are and what each one does can help you learn how to more efficiently use not only Wordpad, but also other programs that have a similar basic window structure, such as certain versions of the Microsoft Office suite.

Control Icon

The control icon is located in the top left corner of the Wordpad window. Clicking this icon or pressing the "Alt" and "Space" keys opens a small menu with six options: "Restore," "Move," "Size," "Minimize," "Maximize" and "Close."The Restore and Maximize options are mutually exclusive and never active at the same time. Maximize enlarges the Wordpad window so it fills your entire screen, while Restore returns it to its previous size. When the Wordpad window is maximized, Restore is active, and vice versa.The Move and Size options are only available when Wordpad is not maximized; when clicked, they change your cursor into a cross with arrows on the ends. You can then use your keyboard's arrow keys to either move or resize the Wordpad window, depending on the option you selected; when you are done, press the "Enter" key to return to the normal window mode.The Minimize option minimizes Wordpad to the taskbar, while the Close option closes it. If you have an unsaved file open when you select "Close," you will be prompted as to whether you want to save your changes.

Title Bar

The title bar shows the text "Document - Wordpad." If you have already saved the document you are working on at least once and named it, the title bar shows its file name and extension instead of the word "Document." Click on the title bar and hold the mouse button down when Wordpad isn't maximized to move the window; once you are done, release the mouse button.

Control Buttons

The three control buttons found in the upper right corner of the Wordpad window allow you to minimize, maximize, restore or close it. The second button changes both appearance and function depending on the window's status. If the window is maximized, the button shows two overlapping windows and performs the restore function, otherwise it shows a single window and performs the maximize function. If you have an unsaved file open when you click the "Close" button, you will be prompted as to whether you want to save your changes.

Menu Bar

The menu bar is located immediately below the title bar and provides access to Wordpad's option menus. Click on the text in the bar to open the option menus, then click on the option you wish to access. Pressing the "Alt" key causes a single letter in each of the words on the menu bar to be underlined; press that letter on your keyboard to open the corresponding menu. Alternatively, you can press "Alt," use the left and right arrow keys to select a menu, then press "Enter" to open it.


The toolbar is located immediately below the menu bar and provides button shortcuts to frequently used menu options such as "Open," "Save" and "Print." Hovering your mouse over each button displays a small tooltip describing what the button does.

Format Bar

The format bar is located immediately below the toolbar and provides options for text formatting, such as font selection, text color or alignment, in the form of drop-down menus and buttons. Hovering your mouse over each drop-down menu or button displays a small tooltip describing what the drop-down menu or button does.


The ruler is located immediately below the format bar and provides options for paragraph indentation in the form of three small vertical arrows and a square. Dragging the top arrow while a paragraph is selected affects the first line of the paragraph, dragging the bottom left arrow affects all but the first line and dragging the square affects the entire paragraph. Dragging the bottom right arrow allows you to decide how far from the right margin of the document the paragraph's text will end.

Document Area

The document area is the largest part of the Wordpad window and holds your document. This area is where you type and format your text; you can navigate it using either your mouse or your keyboard.

Scroll Bars

Scroll bars appear when the contents of your document are too long or too wide to fit in the Wordpad window. You can scroll your document either by clicking the arrow at either end of each scroll bar or by dragging the scroll block, called the "thumb."

Status Bar

The status bar is located at the very bottom of the Wordpad window, under the document area. When hovering over a button, a drop-down menu or a menu option, the status bar displays additional text describing what the item does in more detail. The status bar also displays "NUM" on the right side when Num Lock is active, and "CAPS" when Caps Lock is active. When Wordpad is not maximized, the status bar also has a resize handle on the right side that you can drag to resize the window. Hovering your mouse over it changes the cursor to a diagonal line with arrows at both ends.