It avoided an untimely death in 2017, kept alive by the sheer will of the public. Now it looks like MS Paint is becoming more than a hardy relic as Windows announces an update that will enable layers, transparency and one-click background removal. This could make MS Paint a genuinely useful program for users who want a simple, free interface for straightforward image editing and digital illustration.
The update is currently available in the Canary and Dev Channels through Windows Insider – a software testing program that offers early access to updates. Windows Insiders will be able to test out features like a Layers panel which allows you to show and hide layers, duplicate, merge and stack them.
This is the latest in a string of Paint renovations. On 7 September, Windows introduced one-click background removal, which detects subjects and cuts them smoothly out of the canvas. The more recent update supports transparency too. You can open PNGs, use the background removal tool to create a transparent backdrop and even use the eraser tool to reveal content in layers underneath.
It’s even been rumoured that Microsoft Paint is dipping its toes into AI. According to Windows Central, Windows is looking into a prompt-to-image feature for Paint in the vein of Bing Image Creator, a Dall-E rival that just requires a prompt, a Microsoft account and access to Bing.com to generate an image.
Microsoft Paint might not look like it once did – there’s now even a dark mode function – but it’s holding onto the simplicity that drove its popularity.
Image from Windows Insider Blog (Copyright © Windows, 2023)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.