Windows 10 Redstone 5 Revamps Screen Snip and Screen Sketch Tools

The next major feature update for Windows 10 includes an improved screenshot tool and spins Screen Sketch out into its own app.

Windows 10

Now that Microsoft's Windows 10 April 2018 Update is finally making its way to users, it's time to look forward to this year's next major feature update, code-named Redstone 5.

Available now to members of the Windows Insider early-access program, preview build 17661 of upcoming operating system update offers new ways to capture and work with screenshots. The Windows snipping tool, invoked by pressing the Windows, Shift and S keys, now causes a snipping toolbar to appear. The toolbar includes full-screen, rectangular and free-form snipping options.

Users also have more options on how to bring up the Windows snipping tool.

In the Pen & Windows Ink settings screen, stylus users can configure the tail button—where an eraser would be on a traditional pencil—to launch the snipping tool with a single click. Alternately, users can assign the function to the Print Screen button with the appropriate keyboard setting or use the quick-access button that appears in the Windows Action Center.

For users who like to annotate their screenshots, Microsoft is making the Screen Sketch feature its own full-fledged app.

"Originally introduced as part of the Windows Ink Workspace, this comes with a variety of benefits, including that it can now be updated via the Microsoft Store, it will now show up in the list when you press Alt + tab, you can set the window size to be your preference if you like multitasking, and it even supports multiple windows," stated Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider program, and Senior Program Manager Brandon LeBlanc at Microsoft in a May 3 blog. Users will also be able to group the Screen Sketch app with other applications as a tab using Sets.

Taking a browser-like approach to multitasking, Sets enables users to gather multiple applications into a single application window.

In the recent Windows 10 test build 17643, Microsoft enabled the feature on the Office 365 desktop applications, allowing users to work on Word, Excel and PowerPoint files without juggling multiple application windows. Microsoft continues to gauge how the community is adapting to Sets with an experiment that withholds the feature from some Windows Insiders, the Microsoft executives said.

Fluent Design, Microsoft's stab at a more modern look and feel for Windows, is spreading into more corners of the interface. This time, the Task View is using the acrylic effect to lightly blur the background and draw users' eyes to items on their Timeline.

Build 17661 also features improved HEIF (High Efficiency Image File Format) support, allowing users to edit metadata and rotate photos using File Explorer. HEIF, a relatively new addition to Windows, can squeeze images into files roughly half the size of their JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) equivalents.

Windows Defender Security Center has been renamed Windows Security and will continue to serve as a hub for the operating system's security features, noted Sarkar and LeBlanc. Future builds will improve on how Windows notifies users of threats, they added. Other enhancements include a new sounds settings experience and a game mode for the Focus Assist feature.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...