If you’re switching to a Mac from Windows, you might be wondering: What’s the equivalent of Notepad on a Mac? The answer is TextEdit, and it’s much better than Notepad. This is why.
Mac’s main text editor
Believe it or not, TextEdit predates macOS. It originated as an app called Edit.application for the NeXTSTEP operating system in the 1980s, which later became the basis for Mac OS X. In 1995, Edit.app was rewritten for OpenStep (an intermediary between NeXTSTEP and OS X) as TextEdit. And when Mac OS X came along, TextEdit came along.
TextEdit is great because it’s feature rich but still simple. Does not interfere with pop-up loading dialogs, splash screens, or template selection windows. It doesn’t have all the features of a full word processor like Microsoft Word, but it is much lighter and faster.
One of the key features of TextEdit is its ability to write and edit files in rich text format. Unlike Notepad, TextEdit can read and write files in RTF, RTFD, HTML, and even Word formats. This means that the TextEdit document can support different fonts, font styles (bold, italics), font colors, justification, and more.
Of course, you can also edit plain text files (without fonts or special formatting) in TextEdit as needed. To create a plain text document in TextEdit, select File > New. When the document opens, choose Format > Make Plain Text from the menu bar, or press Shift + Command + T on your keyboard.
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A lightweight word processor
With rich text features, it’s easy to use TextEdit as a basic word processor instead of applications like Pages or Microsoft Word. In addition to text formatting options, TextEdit also includes other word processor-like features that Notepad lacks, such as bulleted lists, tables, headings, and line spacing. There are also spelling and grammar check options (under Edit > Spelling and Grammar).
You can also embed images in RTF documents, which you can’t do in Notepad. Of course, you could use Word instead, but it’s much slower and takes up a lot more memory, and has more features than you might need. Which brings us to the last and possibly best point: as long as you have a Mac, TextEdit is completely free. Happy writing!
RELATED: Why Notepad is still awesome for taking notes