MSPaint dead? No, Microsoft's adding these new features in Windows 10 1903

The keyboard is now a fully supported input mode for Microsoft Paint.

Windows 10 April update is full of new features: Our top picks Here are some of the new capabilities you can expect in yet another feature-packed semi-annual release. Read more: https://zd.net/2HLtL6f

At one point Microsoft Paint appeared to be on the chopping block, ready to give way to the fancy new Paint 3D app as the built-in Windows 10 drawing tool.  

Then in April Microsoft announced that 34-year-old MSPaint will remain part of Windows 10 version 1903 – the May 2019 Update due out in a few weeks. 

It would be "included in Windows 10 for now", Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc said. 

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)    

LeBlanc has now revealed new accessibility features for the graphics app via the keyboard as a "primary input mechanism", alongside existing support for mouse and touch. 

"Customers will now be able to use the app and draw with only their keyboard," said LeBlanc. 

The main controls for moving the cursor are the four arrow keys while the spacebar serves as the activate tool. 

Users can scroll the canvas by holding the Ctrl key and pressing the arrow keys. To select a part of the canvas, users can hold the spacebar and press the arrow keys to define the space. 

Once the area has been defined, it's labeled with numbered control points that can be moved between clockwise using the Tab key. Pressing Tab while holding Shift navigates anti-clockwise. 

LeBlanc details more keyboard controls for drawing in a blogpost on the Windows Insider blog.     

Besides keyboard input support, Microsoft has also improved the way Paint interacts with screen-reader accessibility tools, such as Windows Narrator. 

It's still not clear whether MSPaint will remain built into Windows 10 in the future and it could, as previously planned, end up as an app in the Microsoft Store.       

However, it is interesting to see that MSPaint has now joined Microsoft's raft of accessibility projects over the past year or so. Accessibility is one of the core areas where Microsoft is contributing to the Chromium project as part of its effort to develop the Chromium-based Edge browser. It's also made accessibility central to its AI projects

And its efforts are also helping win over the hearts and minds of consumers via tools like the Xbox Adaptive Controller, a $99 gaming controller designed for people with limited mobility. 

Microsoft made it the star of its Super Bowl 53 ad this February, showing how the tool has helped kids with various physical constraints more easily play Xbox games.  

Microsoft today also announced the 2019 winners of its AI for Accessibility grants. It launched the $25m program last year, offering funding to various universities and research institutions working on accessibility solutions.

The new grantees, announced on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, May 16, include: University of California, Berkeley; Massachusetts Eye and Ear, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School; Voiceitt in Israel; Birmingham City University in the UK; University of Sydney in Australia; Pison Technology of Boston; and Our Ability, of Glenmont, New York.     

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Microsoft has given Paint new accessibility features via the keyboard.

Image: Microsoft

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