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These redesigned Windows 11 apps provide a preview of the future of Windows

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

The apps being updated included 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.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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

Now fully revealed, Microsoft merged the classic Snipping Tool and Snip & Sketch apps into a single Snipping Tool app. This new Snipping Tool has the updated Fluent Design language that features rounded corners and emphasis on touch-enabled controls. It will also honor your choice of light or dark theme or allow you to set the theme independently.

Microsoft notes that if you have notifications turned off or Focus Assist turned on, you won’t be notified when you take a screenshot. That said, the company promises this will be fixed 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 of the editing features are here such as annotations and cropping.

Mail and Calendar

The new Mail app in Windows 11.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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

These apps still remain distinct from Outlook, strangely enough, which means Microsoft will maintain supporting both apps into the future as of now. Time will tell how Microsoft manages the two applications as it continues to tie Windows and Microsoft 365 more closely together.

Calculator

The new version of the Calculator app in Windows 11.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The new Calculator app has the new Windows 11 design language, including the ability the apply themes. Like the new Snipping Tool, you can apply a theme separate 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 was written in C# to encourage enterprising software developers to contribute on GitHub.

Beyond that, the Calculator functions as it normally does with the ability to use standard or scientific modes, plot equations on a graph, convert currencies, and even switch on a special “Programmer Mode” for coders and engineers.

Microsoft launched the early Windows 11 preview in late June for insiders. Enthusiasts were able to get an early look at the changes Microsoft is making and test out the updated operating system for themselves. Since then, the company has been steadily adding features such as an improved search box in the Start Menu. Microsoft also cleaned up the context menus, adding copy and paste functionality right into the menu, as well as the ability to “group” commands for easier navigation.

You can try out the updated apps now if you’re a part of the Windows 11 Dev Channel. If you have yet to try Windows 11 for yourself, we’ve built a guide on how to install the Windows 11 Preview build. Just know the typical caveats apply when installing beta software.

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David Matthews
Former Digital Trends Contributor
David is a freelance journalist based just outside of Washington D.C. specializing in consumer technology and gaming. He has…
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