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Windows 11 Paint App Evolving into a Photoshop Competitor

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Microsoft is making significant strides in enhancing its Paint app, bringing it closer to rivaling Photoshop for your photo editing needs. One of the latest additions is a layers feature that transforms the Paint app into a versatile canvas for creative endeavors. This development is currently in the testing phase, and it’s available for Windows Insiders in the Dev and Canary Channels.

The Layers Feature

Spotted by PhantomOcean3 on X (formerly known as Twitter) and later confirmed by Microsoft, the new layers feature is introduced in-app version 11.2308.18.0. This feature can be found on the far right side of the screen, adjacent to the Colors palette. With a simple click on the small “+” icon, users can add a new layer to their canvas and work on it independently. This addition complements existing features, such as transparency, which was previously incorporated into the app through an earlier update.

Understanding the Significance of Layers

For those unfamiliar with image editing beyond Paint, layers offer a crucial advantage. They empower users to control the positioning of elements within an image, determining which elements appear above or below others. For instance, imagine you’re working on an image with a blue sky background, an airplane on top, and a cloud above both the sky and the airplane. In traditional image editors, making changes like this is often destructive—you lose the ability to see and edit parts of the image hidden by other elements. Layers also simplify the process of repositioning elements within an image, as all components used to create the image remain intact.

Technical Details and Limitations

While screenshots indicate the possibility of using as many as five separate layers, it’s unclear whether there’s a limit to the number of layers in a single image. Additionally, it remains unknown which file format Paint uses to save works-in-progress with editable layers. This information is essential for compatibility and collaboration. We have reached out to Microsoft for clarification on these technical aspects and will provide updates once we receive more information.

The Paint App’s Growing Features

Although the addition of layers might seem like a small feature, it significantly enhances the usability of the Paint app for image editing. While it won’t replace Photoshop for intricate projects, it’s ideal for quick tasks and contributes to the evolution of this classic app. Microsoft has been consistently expanding Paint’s capabilities, with recent additions including a background removal feature and a full dark mode for Windows 11 users. These enhancements make the Paint app increasingly adaptable to users’ needs.



With the introduction of the layers feature, Microsoft’s Paint app is taking a significant step toward becoming a more versatile and competitive image editor. While it may not replace professional tools like Photoshop, it provides a user-friendly platform for quick projects and contributes to the app’s continued development.

Can I use the layers feature in the Paint app now?

The layers feature is currently being tested with Windows Insiders in the Dev and Canary Channels. It will be available to a broader audience once testing is complete.

Is the Paint app suitable for professional image editing?

While the Paint app is improving its features, it may not replace advanced image editing software like Photoshop for professional work. However, it is a valuable tool for simpler tasks and quick edits.

Are there any other recent updates to the Paint app?

Yes, Microsoft has introduced various updates to the Paint app, including a background removal feature and a full dark mode for Windows 11 users. These enhancements improve its usability and adaptability.