Microsoft is finally rolling out new designs for some of its most prolific apps on Windows 11. Build 22000.123 will introduce the changes to Windows 11 and Insiders in the Dev channel will be first to get the update with others to follow soon. The apps seeing a major visual overhaul are Snipping Tool, Calculator, and Mail and Calendar.
All three of these apps already have a modern look and feel to them in Windows 10, but Microsoft is looking to up the ante with its next OS. Like the rest of Windows 11, these apps will be given a fresh coat of paint thanks to Fluent Design. You can expect to see other popular apps to follow suit as well. In fact, Photos and Paint have already been teased in their full modern glory by Microsoft.
The only other notable change in this update, apart from the various bug fixes is that Chat is now available to Insiders in the Beta Channel as well. Previously, it was limited to Dev Channel users only. As always, you can check out the blog from Microsoft for a detailed look at the bug fixes, but let’s talk about the star of the show first, or should I say, stars of the show.
As you may know, Snipping Tool has an upgraded, more advanced version of itself in Windows 10, called “Snip & Sketch”. While it did offer several benefits over the standard Snipping Tool, most people just didn’t bother and stuck to the good ol’ tool they knew. Microsoft understood this and has now created and entirely new Snipping Tool for Windows 11 that merges the functionality of Snipping Tool and Snip & Sketch into one beautiful app.
Apart from the updated logo, the new Snipping Tool carries over much of the same DNA present in Snip & Sketch. Therefore, the Win + Shift + S shortcut is making a comeback. Now, pressing the set of keys brings up a snipping menu that includes multiple options for the type of Snip you want to, uhm, snip. The new options are Rectangular Snip, Freeform Snip, Windows Snip, and Fullscreen Snip.
The names are pretty self-explanatory and it’s nice that Microsoft gives you that sort of flexibility right from the get-go. After the screenshot has been taken, the new Snipping Tool allows you to edit it to your heart’s content with its richer editing features. You get the standard affair of annotations, markups, and highlights, but you can also crop more articulately and adjust further details about the photo.
That’s not all, part of the visual uplift is, finally, the inclusion of a dark theme! If you have Dark theme set in Windows settings, Snipping Tool will now honor your choice and adapt a dark theme to match the rest of the OS. You can also independently change themes in the Snipping Tool settings, if you want. And, yes, Snipping Tools now has a dedicated settings page. How exciting!
Next up is Calculator. As reported by us two weeks ago, Calculator is getting a cosmetic revamp to look even more modern than it did on Windows 11. Calculator has been open-source since 2019 and development is done via open community feedback on GitHub. Microsoft also shifted the source code of Calculator to C# to support community-aided development. Perhaps the most notable improvement, Calculator can now have a dark theme, just like Snipping Tool.
Visuals aside, Microsoft Calculator is a pretty dang powerful tool to have by your side. Along with simple math, it can solve intricate and complex calculations, do advanced algebra and trigonometry, and allows you to plot on graphs and create complex geometry.
The Programmer Mode offers extended functionality and features that are imperative for engineering and programming. You can also find out graph features by using graphing mode and plotting equations onto the graphs. Lastly, the conversion chops of Calculator allow you to convert between 100+ currencies and units all without ever leaving the app.
Mail and Calendar
Mail and Calendar has received by far the most modest aesthetic update. Microsoft has rounded the corners of the windows and added further visual nuances within the app itself so make it better align with Windows 11 and its design language. It look largely identical to the Mail and Calendar app on Windows 10, just updated to look slightly more modern. Oh, and, how can we forget the addition of a dark mode? Take a look at the new Mail app below.
As always, Microsoft is welcoming feedback on all the new changes and promised to address any criticism in the future. If you’re an Insider in the Dev channel, be sure to let Microsoft know what you think about these updates so they can help make the experience better for everyone. You can check out the blogpost from Microsoft announcing these changes here.