Windows 11 is giving MS Paint a fresh coat of, well, paint

Ms Paint Windows
Ms Paint Windows (Image credit: Microsoft / Panos Panay)

Everyone loves MS Paint. Despite the fact MS Paint has fallen far behind competing drawing tools, the simplicity, speed, and ease of use makes MS Paint a mainstay of memery and fun doodles on Windows for the past few decades. Rumors that Microsoft was planning to axe the tool in favor of Paint 3D were met with a furious backlash, which led to Microsoft confirming they had no plans to remove it in the first place.

Windows 11 is giving the OS a big makeover later this year, refreshing the UI with improved visuals and consistency, complete with a new, but familiar Start Menu, and a range of other improvements. It seems some of those classic apps are going to get some love too.

Windows and Surface chief Panos Panay shared a quick video showcasing how MS Paint will look in Windows 11, which will ship to insiders "soon."

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It doesn't look as though the new version of MS Paint has any new features at a glance, but instead picks up a refreshed UI, complete with dark mode. The "Edit in Paint 3D" button seems to have been removed, though, indicating that Paint 3D might not be long for this world. I've argued in the past that MS Paint should pick up some of the cooler features from Paint 3D, such as the impressive background removal tool. It would also be neat if MS Paint had layering capabilities for enhanced editing and collaging, but alas, we can't always get what we want.

With MS Paint getting a refresh, it's fun to imagine what else could be on the docket. Microsoft's current implementation of the dead Groove Music, Photos, and Movies & TV for playing media is more than a little inconsistent, shall we say, so bringing music and videos into a single app more than makes sense at this point, I'd argue. Time for Windows Media Player 11? What about Windows Movie Maker 11? MSN Messenger 11?! CLIPPY 11?! Okay, maybe not. A man can dream, though.

In any case, Panay says that the new MS Paint app will come "soon" to Windows Insiders running Windows 11 builds, so keep your eyes peeled.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • The UI could use a refresh , its been basically the same since windows 7. would love to see some Paint 3D features make their way onto the app. since Paint 3D doesnt look to get any development.
  • There is a new feature, which is that you can now crop pictures from the left and from the top as well, not just the right or bottom.
  • I'd like to take a picture, open it in Photos to edit it, and from there open it in Paint if I want to add text or other touches.
  • I hope they don't get rid of Paint 3D. It's been invaluable to me. So much better than the OG.
  • Er, there will never be a "Windows Media Player 11", we're already on version 12.
  • It's a shame that even basic features like layering seems missing here, at least for now. Good that they are unifying it, but at the same time its a reskinned version of classic Paint. I wonder if this is still the legacy Paint but with Project Reunion and able to use some WinUI elements, or a new UWP app that follows the similar UI of classic Paint.
  • Comes down to what the purpose of the tool is. Paint is to Illustrator as Notepad is to Word. It was always designed to be a basic tool and I think it is smart to keep it that way. It's not like they rely on sales of Paint to survive. It's just a simple little add-on. Now, I do agree it would be nice if there was a little more horizontal integration with other apps. The snipping tool should honestly just be an extension of Paint. Snip the image and it should open in Paint by default.
  • Paint is a raster or bitmap graphics program. In it, you're working with pixels on a fixed pixel grid. Illustrator and CoreDRAW are vector programs with shapes and fills, but no concept of pixels. They're not really comparable. The Adobe equivalent to Paint would be Photoshop.
  • I would love to see the 2D features of Paint3D merged back into Paint. Between those two, I exclusively use Paint3D at this point, even though I do zero 3D work (and excluding the more powerful programs from Corel and Adobe, which are far more useful for bigger tasks but can be overkill if you just want to mark-up a screen capture in a few seconds). Paint3D just has better tools for adding text and marking areas in a screen capture. Unfortunately, it merges objects in the background when you click off of them like Paint, but until you have clicked off the object, you can still adjust it, which, at least last time I worked in Paint, it couldn't handle, making it painful to use in comparison to Paint3D.
  • I'd like to see MS standardize on no more than 1 free app per function. Paint + Paint3D should merge into one of them. Groove and Windows Media Player should merge into 1 music playing app. Skype and Teams should merge into 1 communication app. Etc. MS has a problem with creating confusion and splitting their own userbase with multiple programs to do largely the same thing as others.