Redesigned Windows 11 apps preview of the future of Windows

Microsoft today announced updates to some of the built-in apps in Windows 11. The updates themselves aren’t huge in terms of features, but keep the design philosophy in line with the new visual aesthetic of Windows 11, the upcoming update to the operating system currently in beta.

The apps that are being updated include Calculator, Mail and Calendar, and the Snipping Tool – each with a new update that you can check out now.

Snipping Tool

The new version of the Snipping Tool in Windows 11.

Longtime Windows 10 users will know that Microsoft has been promising the Snipping Tool “moving to a new home” for a while now. Microsoft’s Panos Panay also teased a first sight with the new Snipping Tool last week.

Now fully unveiled, Microsoft has merged the classic Snipping Tool and Snip & Sketch apps into a single Snipping Tool app. This new Snipping Tool features the updated Fluent Design language with rounded corners and an emphasis on touch controls. It also takes into account your choice of light or dark theme or allows you to set the theme independently.

Microsoft notes that if you’ve turned off notifications or turned on Focus Assist, you won’t get a notification when you take a screenshot. That said, the company promises to fix this in a future update.

The app supports the Win + Shift + S keyboard shortcut to take a screenshot and introduces a new settings page. Of course, all editing features are there, such as annotations and cropping.

Email and calendar

The new Mail app in Windows 11.

The Mail and Calendar apps have been updated to support fluid design and themes. The core functionality remains unchanged for now, but the rounded corners and clean design should make writing emails and scheduling meetings a bit more pleasant.

Oddly enough, these apps still remain distinct from Outlook, meaning Microsoft will continue to support both apps from now on. Time will tell how Microsoft manages the two applications as it connects Windows and Microsoft 365 more and more closely.


The new version of the Calculator app in Windows 11.

The new Calculator app features Windows 11’s new design language, including the ability to apply themes. Like the new Snipping Tool, you can apply a theme separately from Windows itself. The emphasis on touch support really shines here with larger touch targets to press when using Windows 11 on a touchscreen. Microsoft says the updated app is written in C# to encourage enterprising software developers to contribute on GitHub.

Furthermore, the calculator works as it normally does with the ability to use standard or scientific modes, plot equations on a graph, convert currencies and even enable a special “programming mode” for programmers and engineers.

Microsoft launched the early Windows 11 preview end of June for insiders. Enthusiasts could get an early look at the changes Microsoft is making and test the updated operating system for themselves. Since then, the company has steadily added features such as a improved search box in the Start menu. Microsoft also has the context menus, adding copy and paste functionality directly into the menu, as well as the ability to “group” commands for easier navigation.

You can now try out the updated apps if you are part of the Windows 11 Dev Channel. If you haven’t tried Windows 11 yourself, we have: built a guide on installing the Windows 11 Preview build. Just know that the typical caveats apply when installing beta software.

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