Microsoft gives one of its oldest apps dark mode in Windows 11

Microsoft is further improving the Paint app in Windows 11, with new changes coming through in testing including a dark mode.

The new version of Paint (11.2304.17.0) is rolling out to testers in both Canary and Dev channels (and the latter just got a new preview of Windows 11, as you may have seen, with a nifty change allowing for viewing smartphone photos on the desktop).

As mentioned, one of the big tweaks for Paint here is the addition of a dark mode, and the app will automatically use it if you’ve turned on dark mode in Windows 11’s settings. (Note that you can turn off the option to automatically switch, mind).

Another useful change comes with zoom controls. Microsoft has given users a higher level of fine-tuning with the zoom slider, and you can set a custom zoom value if needed. On top of this, a ‘fit to screen’ option is now present which will do just that – zoom to match the size of the app window.

In the blog post describing all the changes, Microsoft further tells us that it has overhauled ‘Image Property’ dialog boxes to match Windows 11’s modern design, and fit with the new backdrop for the Paint client.

Finally, we’re informed that there have been “many accessibility and usability improvements” to dialog panels throughout the app, with better access key support (keyboard presses for interface controls, rather than having to use a mouse) and keyboard shortcuts in general.

Analysis: Could bigger changes be in the pipeline?

Accessibility has been a major focus for Microsoft with Windows 11 for some time now, and again and again, we’re seeing either small tweaks or larger feature introductions coming through for the OS. Good stuff.

The dark mode looks smart and is another piece of the puzzle for those wanting this option throughout Windows 11, wherever they’re working.

Paint remains a popular app, so it’s not surprising to see Microsoft continuing to improve the software. Folks want more though (don’t they always), and we’re still seeing calls for layers to be introduced to the app.

If you remember, the addition of layers is something we’ve seen (in the early stages) from the modding community, and recently an innovative Paint hack brought in the ability to create simple animations.

Maybe – just maybe – those are features we might see Microsoft officially working on in the future. Who knows, stranger things have happened, and the software giant certainly appears keen to keep on motoring ahead with Paint improvements.

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