Microsoft's Notepad goes from simple text editor to Copilot conspirator

No guarantee it'll come to Windows proper, but testers can give it a poke

Microsoft has confirmed that Copilot is on its way into Notepad, with a release of the application being rolled out to Windows Insiders in the Canary and Dev Channels on Windows 11.

Screenshots of the application began floating around last month but this week's release – almost drowned out by sudo making an appearance in Windows – is confirmation that it wasn't just a bad dream. Not even the venerable text editor is safe from Microsoft's AI obsession.

Rather than a cursed paperclip popping up and saying something like "It looks like you're trying to paste without formatting. Do you want some help with that?" the implementation is relatively unobtrusive. Either hitting Ctrl + E or selecting "Explain with Copilot" will ignite Microsoft's assistant and provide an explanation for the highlighted text.

According to Microsoft, this could be "log files, code segments, or any selected content directly from within Notepad."

There is no guarantee that the update, which requires Copilot to be installed, will ever make general availability – Microsoft uses the Windows Insider program to try out ideas. However, considering the direction of travel from the company when it comes to all things AI, it seems inevitable that the update will reach the public before long.

The update to Notepad was accompanied by the ability to add shapes to captures in the Windows Snipping Tool, thus saving users from opening screenshots in paint packages to add mark-up.

Copilot's arrival in Notepad seems a little excessive, even for Microsoft and its determination that every single product must be infused with the magical technology. Considering Notepad's roots in the earliest version of Windows, we imagine that the rebrandogun is likely being readied for action.

NotePilot, anyone? Or maybe CoPad? ®

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