Windows 11 is about to get a dramatically improved Snipping Tool and overhauled Photos app. The most exciting new features include the Snipping Tool that lets users copy text directly from screenshots, and the Photos app gets features like the ability to blur the background of photos.
This news comes from Windows Insider users (members of the official Microsoft community, the Windows Insider program, for people who want to test the latest developments of the operating system and help Microsoft improve it).
The Verge writes that Windows Insiders have been given access to updates to both the Snipping Tool and the Photos apps in the Canary and Dev channels in the Windows Insider program (two of the four channels through which Microsoft distributes previews). As a Windows Snipping Tool enthusiast, Microsoft certainly has my attention.
Microsoft has written about these newcomers in more detail in two new update posts on the Windows Insider Blog (an official Microsoft update blog).
The blog post being presented the handy new text capture and recognition capability of the Snipping Tool (version 11.2308.33.0) introduces the new feature as ‘Text Actions’. This makes it much easier to copy and paste text directly from a screen recording or share it with others. You will have to select Text actions in the Snipping Tools toolbar and you’ll see all the text you can highlight, select, and copy.
You can also manipulate text in the screenshot, such as redacting sensitive information directly in the screenshot using the ‘Quick Redact’ feature.
In addition to Snipping Tool’s exciting new text capture capabilities, there will be integration with Windows 11’s Phone Link feature. A notification will appear to open the Snipping Tool for marking up a screenshot, and users can instantly save recent Open and edit photos from Android devices with the Snipping Tool on a PC.
A revamped Photos app
The Photos app is also being overhauled based on community feedback. Microsoft writes in the blog post about the Photos app update. The most important part of the update is the new Background Blur option, which does what it promises: it immediately detects and blurs the background of a photo. It has even more options with the Blur intensity parameter and Paintbrush tool to select which areas you want to blur.
Another cool feature previewed is the ability to search for content for photos you back up to OneDrive. This allows you to search by the content of a photo. I’m assuming you’re using some intelligent image detection software that can scan the photo and tag it with searchable tags based on what it detects in the image – much like Google Photos, which has a similar feature.
In addition to this search function, you can also search for photos based on the location where they were taken. You can do this in multiple places: your local files, OneDrive, and iCloud. Yes, you read that right: iPhone owners can search their iCloud storage on their Windows 11 device with the updated Photos app.
Microsoft describes how to use these features in the announcement blog post, along with some other fixes and changes related to the Photos app.
What about a video editor?
I’m looking forward to these features hopefully coming to Windows 11 soon, and I can see myself using them. There has been some controversy lately over Microsoft’s changes to the Windows 10 Photos app, which removed the Video Editor feature in an attempt to push users to the newer video editor, Clipchamp. There is one bullet point under ‘Other fixes and improvements’ that says:
“Editing and video creation options are now easily accessible at the top of the gallery view.”
I don’t know what exactly this means regarding the video editing features in Windows 11’s Photos app, so I guess we’ll have to see what it looks like when testers try out the previews of these features.