Key difference: Notepad is one of the simplest text editors available. It is only capable of the most minimal formatting, such as different fonts and sizes. WordPad is similar to Notepad, but gives you more formatting options. It is considered as a lightweight and watered down version of Microsoft Word.
Notepad and Wordpad are both text editing programs that are available by default with Windows operating system. Both offer features such as creating and saving text documents, however they do differ in a number of their features. Comparatively, Notepad is a simple text editor than Wordpad. It has been included in all versions of Microsoft Windows since Windows 1.0 in 1985. Wordpad, on the other hand, is fairly newer and offers more features than Notepad. However, it is simpler than Microsoft Works Word Processor and Microsoft Word. It has been included with almost all versions of Microsoft Windows from Windows 95 onwards. It was a replacement for the older Microsoft Write.
Notepad is one of the simplest text editors available. Hence, it also has the least features. It is only capable of the most minimal formatting, such as different fonts and sizes. One does not have formatting options such as, color, paragraph alignment, bulleted lists, etc. Hence, Notepad only deals with text, no images, and no graphics. When one pastes any text into Notepad, the text is stripped of all formatting, and is pasted as plain text.
Notepad is mainly used with files where formatting is not really necessary and is generally counterproductive to the nature of the files, such as configuration files used by PHP or Apache, or for creation of web pages in HTML, writing scripts or basic computer programs, where no text formatting is required. Notepad only saves files in the text format (.txt.) or html (.htm) format. Text files are the simplest files and therefore can be opened by all word processors and even in the command line.
WordPad is similar to Notepad, but gives you more formatting options. It is considered as a lightweight and watered down version of Microsoft Word. WordPad allows one to use bold and italics formatting, change the font, size, and color of the text, as well as create bulleted lists and center and justify paragraphs. One can also incorporate images into Wordpad. However, it lacks intermediate features such as a spell checker, thesaurus, and support for tables. Wordpad is mainly suitable for writing letters or short pieces, but is underpowered for work that relies heavily on graphics or typesetting.
Wordpad deals with text files (.txt) and Rich Text Format (.rtf). RTF is the preferred format as it uses keywords that can be embedded into the document itself in order to create a little bit of formatting. Text and RTF files can be opened with all word processors. However, if one wants to create a document with all the features of formatting, they should use MS Word.