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The humble Notepad app on Windows could soon get an AI upgrade

Users have spotted a new Cowriter feature that could supposedly let you manipulate text with AI.
By
January 10, 2024
TL;DR
  • Users have spotted a new Cowriter feature in the latest build of Notepad.
  • This Cowriter function could let you rewrite text, make text longer or shorter, and change the tone and format.
  • Notepad’s Cowriter function is not yet live, but the presence of marketing images indicates it could soon be launched.

AI is the flavor of the season, and practically every product and service is getting an AI upgrade, even if they don’t really need it. The latest product to get an AI upgrade seems to be Notepad, as leaks indicate that Microsoft could be adding a new feature called “Cowriter” to help users with text manipulation.

Windows enthusiast PhantomOcean3 spotted the new Cowriter feature in Notepad v11.2312.17.0.

In the above screenshot, you can see the new Cowriter menu. Options present within Notepad Cowriter include a Rewrite function, options to change the tone and format of the written material, and options to make the written text longer or shorter. The icon indicates available credits, and strings indicate users may have limited uses that get refreshed periodically.

Image 563
X user PhantomOcean3

Dev files for the Notepad app also include a hero image that Microsoft could use in its marketing materials, giving us a fair idea of what the final feature could look like.

Microsoft has been betting big on AI, so Notepad’s expected AI integration doesn’t come as a complete surprise. The company has a $10 billion investment in OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. It has been bullish with AI, with features like Microsoft Copilot, which is integrated into Windows 11, and even Microsoft 365 Copilot, which is integrated within the Office suite of apps.

However, the primary draw of Notepad has always been its simplicity. People continue to use Notepad to quickly jot things down without a flurry of unnecessary features flying in their faces. An AI writer within Notepad feels overkill, especially since Notepad lacks more important features like spell check, cloud sync, and more. Apps that most people use for long-form drafting have many other features that Notepad lacks, and it isn’t immediately clear what Microsoft’s end goal for Notepad’s AI integration is.

Microsoft has not confirmed this feature, so there is a chance that it will never ship. But AI is indeed the flavor of the season, so there’s a good chance it does.