The new year has started with the refreshed Notepad app being made available for all Windows 11 Insiders who can test upcoming updates.
Similar to what Clock and Office 2021 brought, Notepad is also getting the Fluent Design makeover, which brings rounded corners to windows, a softer font to menu dropdown lists, and dark mode compatibility.
The update has been available in the Insider Build Dev Channel of Windows 11 since December, where you can test features under development, but the company has decided to roll it out to users who are testing out upcoming features of Windows 11 on all channels.
It’s the most significant update of Notepad in years, similar to Paint’s update a few months ago, but don’t expect this simple text editing app to replace Microsoft Word anytime soon.
Analysis: A unified effort
Microsoft has been making efforts to make its apps match the new look and feel of Windows 11, and it’s overdue.
In previous releases of Windows 8 and Windows Vista, some apps had felt out of place, such as Mail and Disk Management. But there’s a concerted effort from the company to ensure that these apps have a unified design where users don’t feel lost, whilst ensuring that the apps and the operating system look similar, but modern.
We’ve been encouraged by this effort from Microsoft so far, and there are other apps that we believe should also benefit from this as well. Other apps are also making a comeback in Windows 11, with Windows Media Player recently returning to replace Groove Music.
But Notepad is an app that you use almost without thinking. It’s a go-to app where you jot down lists or thoughts for the day to save for later. But it’s also a great example of an app that’s not seen an update since 2001.
Heads up: We have begun rolling out the redesigned Notepad for Windows 11 to all #WindowsInsiders in the Beta Channel. https://t.co/mjUZ8Jp9BL ^BLBJanuary 5, 2022
Something as minor as dark mode and rounded corners will be welcomed here, alongside a new Settings option to switch between themes and font options as well. But Notepad’s appeal is in its simplicity, which makes it a good alternative to Microsoft Word or other fully-featured (and overcomplicated) office apps.
Other apps that have seen updates in their design have either been included in a Windows update or are available to download on the Microsoft Store. We suspect that the updated Notepad will be a part of a bigger Windows 11 update coming soon - so you won’t need to be a Windows Insider to try it out.
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Via Windows Blog (opens in new tab)