Microsoft Paint isn't going anywhere, and gets new accessibility features

Image credit: TechRadar

Microsoft has been making a strong push toward accessibility in the past year, with the Xbox Adaptive Controller proving to be one of the best Xbox One accessories. Now, the company is adding accessibility features to one of its most popular, long-standing programs: Microsoft Paint.

The new accessibility features will come in the Windows 10 May 2019 Update. And, while Microsoft Paint is already readily usable with a mouse or touchscreen, the new features allow the keyboard to serve as the primary input device in Microsoft Paint.

Now, you might be wondering why anything is coming to Microsoft Paint. Previously, the company had signaled that the fan-favorite painting app's days were numbered. Paint 3D was all set to replace Microsoft Paint almost two years ago, but then Microsoft kept Paint around. However, another recent message from a Windows Insider senior program manager claimed Microsoft Paint is sticking around for now

Even though Paint 3D features basically all of the same capabilities as MSPaint with even more on top, the addition of accessibility features to MSPaint would seem to signal the company may keep the app around indefinitely.

How the new features work

The new accessibility features work with a combination of keyboard controls. In general, the arrow keys will move the cursor on the canvas, and the Space key will activate whichever tool is selected. 

For example, to select an area on the canvas, users will use the selection tool, move the cursor to the starting point of their selection, then hold space and use the arrow keys to stretch the selection box as needed.

The various new controls are listed in details in this post from Microsoft. In addition the new the controls, Microsoft has changed the way Paint will work with Screen Readers. This may improve the experience for the hard of sight.

The new update that includes these features should be released sometime this month.

Mark Knapp

Over the last several years, Mark has been tasked as a writer, an editor, and a manager, interacting with published content from all angles. He is intimately familiar with the editorial process from the inception of an article idea, through the iterative process, past publishing, and down the road into performance analysis.