Microsoft Paint's new Background Removal tool is a pretty surprising development

Microsoft Paint
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Ah, Microsoft Paint. While it's hardly many designers' go-to software, the simple digital sketching tool has a special place in many users' hearts. Included in every version of Windows since 1985, Paint is arguably iconic – even if its rudimentary abilities have rendered it somewhat of a joke. But that could be about to change.

Microsoft has announced that the Paint app is gaining a new Background Removal tool, capable of removing the background of any image in one click, leaving a smooth cutout of the subject. And while it's hardly Photoshop's Generative Fill, it's certainly an impressive feature for Paint, and one that suggests the tool could be aiming to contend with user-friendly tools like Canva and Adobe Express.

Microsoft Paint

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Initially available to Windows Insiders, members of Microsoft's beta testing community, the update for the Paint app can detect the subject from the entire canvas or from a selection using the selection tool. 

"To get started, paste or import content onto the canvas and click on the new remove background button in the toolbar to remove the background on your entire image," the Windows Insider blog explains. "You can also use the rectangle select to specify an area that you want to remove the background on."

Sure, Background Removal is essentially a version of a tool that hit iOS last year, and with the amount of incredible AI-powered features coming to the likes of Photoshop seemingly every month, it hardly seems worth a mention. But this is Paint we're talking about – the tool that, aside from the brilliant Jim'll Paint It, not many artists use for creating their masterpieces. But in a world where free and simple tools like Canva and Adobe Express are increasing in popularity, perhaps it's no surprise that Microsoft is spotted renewed potential for its free sketching application – it'll certainly be interesting to see whether any more advanced tools drop in the near future.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.