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by Ray DeCosta

Q. What is NotePad and why would I want to use it instead of Word or Works?

A. NotePad is a very basic text editor that comes with Windows. It has very limited formatting capabilities and certainly can't do many of the things you would expect from a word processor. Its printed output would never be described as "professional" or even "pretty". So why would you ever consider using it?

Strange at it may seem, NotePad is a very handy tool in the right circumstances. It creates a very simple text file (usually with a .TXT file extension) that can be read by virtually anyone with a computer. And this includes Macintosh and Linux as well! Just think of the times someone has sent you a document you could not read because it was in some odd format and you didn't have access to the program that created it. If the same material had been sent to you as a .TXT file, you could have opened it, read it and even edited it without difficulty.

NotePad can also be used to write yourself quick-and-dirty notes about a program, where you obtained it, how to use it, etc. Simply right-click in a folder and choose New, then Text Document. NotePad will open and you can enter whatever information needed. Then name the document Read Me.TXT" and save it in the appropriate folder. Now it will always be available for you to review and you won't have to go looking for that information.

Published: Courier 2/15/09 - Page 4C