Microsoft Paint is a free graphics editor that’s been bundled with Windows for decades as a tool for creating, editing, and viewing images. It’s long had a reputation for not being all that good a tool… but Microsoft is rolling out an updated version of Paint to Windows Insiders that could actually make the app worth using from time to time.
The latest version of Paint for Windows Insiders on the Canary and Dev Channels adds a one-click background removal feature.
While you can also use a variety of free or paid software like GIMP or Photoshop to remove the background in images, Microsoft is serious about making this a one-click process in Paint, which could make background removal a lot simpler for folks who don’t want to learn all the bells and whistles of those tools.
Microsoft says all you need to do is click the background removal option and Paint will “detect the subject from the entire canvas or from a selection using the selection tool.”
In other words, you can let the app guess which item is the subject of the photo and which items should be removed, leaving just that item on an otherwise blank canvas. Or you can draw a rectangle around the item you want to keep, but it won’t have to be all that precise.
I suspect that the results will vary depending on the image, but when it works, it will likely be a big time saver.
Microsoft had actually announced plans in 2017 to deprecated Paint as an app included in Windows and instead offer it as an optional app that could be downloaded and installed from the Microsoft Store. The plan, at the time, was to instead offer Paint 3D with Windows.
But the company later reversed that decision. Paint 3D is no longer bundled with Windows, but Paint is. And it looks like the company is continuing development of the Paint app with the addition of new features like background removal.
While the feature is only available to members of the Windows Insider program at the moment, it will most likely roll out to all users at some future date.