Preparations for Windows 11‘s general availability on October 5 are in full swing. However, that doesn’t mean Microsoft has forgotten the Insider version of Windows 11, in fact, that’s where the exciting stuff is happening. Just announced today, a redesigned version of the iconic Paint app is making its way over to Windows 11 for Insiders in the Dev Channel.
Here’s another @Windows 11 first look. This is the beautifully redesigned Paint app, coming soon to Windows Insiders. Can’t wait to see your creations! #Windows11 #WindowsInsiders pic.twitter.com/jiKyfqQFUV
— Panos Panay (@panos_panay) August 18, 2021
As part of the overall design upgrade in Windows 11, Microsoft has taken beloved classics such as Paint, Snipping Tool and PowerToys, and given them a cosmetic (in some cases functional, too) uplift to match Windows 11’s design language. Windows 11 itself represents Microsoft’s biggest leap in design philosophy since the jump to Metro in Windows 8. Gone are the bold text boxes and boxy elements, replaced by simplified iconography and a more pleasant look. Oh, and, of course there are rounded corners everywhere.
A New Paint
We’ve already covered the redesigned Paint app here. Microsoft had previously teased the app in images released on Unsplash. However, no release date was ever announced but that changes today. After giving us only glimpses of the app for weeks, Microsoft has finally released the update Paint app for Windows 11. The app is available for only Insiders under the Dev Channel. It won’t make its way over to the public version of Windows 11 releasing on October 5.
As you can expect, the new Paint app is a “modern spin on the classic app”, according to Microsoft. The company has updated each and every part of the app. Fluent Design can now be seen everywhere and the app’s window border is now made with Mica. For those unaware, Mica, along with Fluent Design, is the prevalent design material in Windows 11. It creates a sense of visual hierarchy by backing the windows borders ever-so-slightly translucent. This allows the background, may it be your wallpaper or another open app, to shine through.
Apart from that, the UI has been completely overhauled. Rounded corners are everywhere, duh. Right away, we can notice that the toolbar is drastically different from the legacy Paint app. It has been updated to look more modern and reflect Windows 11’s sleek design aesthetic. Old, outdated icons have been replaced with minimalist iconography and everything is neatly separated into categories.
The color palette jumps out instantly as the ratchets of yesteryear have been replaced with circles that look so much more elegant. Drop-down menus for many options have also seen some love. For example, brushes and stroke size have been updated to look more simplified and approachable. This may have been inspired by the intuitive UI in ProCreate on iPad as that also has very beginner-friendly controls.
Lastly, Microsoft mentions that they’ve added a new Text tool represented by the “A” icon. This tool allows you to, well, add text to your masterpiece. No details were shared but we can expect improvements over the previous Text tool that existed in Paint. Below you can see some text added to the drawing shown previously.
More is on the way
Even though this update is quite substantial, the party isn’t over. Paint will be updated over time by taking community feedback into consideration. The announcement blog already says that Microsoft is working on a dark mode for Paint, a centered toolbar and, finally, updates to the legacy dialogs (thank God) that have haunted the Paint app for years.
Paint for Windows 11 will see a gradual rollout like most of these types of releases. That rollout starts from today so if you’re an Insider in the Dev Channel, look out for the new Paint app. And, if you don’t see it right away, don’t worry, it will make its way over soon. As always, don’t forget to leave feedback after testing the app as it helps Microsoft create a better experience for everyone else, and you get to play a part in that.