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Microsoft working on new Windows 11 personalization, usability features & UI improvements

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Windows 11 is becoming available to more and more eligible Windows 10 PC owners now. At the same time, Microsoft is working on several Windows 11 UI changes, usability improvements and new personalization features.

Recent Windows 11 builds for the Dev channel insiders reveal many interesting changes. These changes and new features may arrive with Windows 11 upgrade “Windows 11 Version 22H2” next year. Let’s take a look at them.

New Windows 11 personalization features: 

  • Microsoft has expanded the 13 themes for the touch keyboard to now apply to our other input experiences, including IMEs, the emoji panel, and voice typing. Microsoft has also made available for all themed experiences is the theme engine that allows you to create a fully customized theme including background images.
We have expanded the 13 themes for the touch keyboard to more input methods, including the IME, emoji panel, and voice input.
  • Microsoft has added the ability for personalized combinations of emoji based on face and skin tones of family members, couples with heart, kissing, and people holding hands.
We have added the ability for personalized combinations of emoji based on face and skin tones of family members, couples with heart, kissing, and people holding hands.

Windows 11 Usability improvements:

  • Microsoft has announced the ability to quickly share the content from open app windows directly from your taskbar to your meeting calls too. This experience, also starting with Microsoft Teams, eliminates the need to flip back and forth across applications just to share or reshare a window.
By hovering over open windows on your taskbar, you can quickly share that window with a Microsoft Teams call.

When you are in a meeting call through Microsoft Teams, simply hover over the apps running on your taskbar and you will see a new button that allows you to share your window with your meeting attendees. When you are done sharing your content, hover over the window again and click Stop Sharing or choose another window and click Share this Window. If you’re presenting a full screen presentation in PowerPoint, simply move your mouse to the bottom and your taskbar will pop up for you to share or stop sharing the presentation without interruption to your attendees.

We are beginning to roll this experience out to a subset of Windows Insiders with Microsoft Teams for work or school installed and ramp it up over time. This means not everyone will see this right away with their Teams calls. We plan to bring this to Chat from Microsoft Teams (Microsoft Teams for home) later.

Other communications applications can also add this capability to their applications. The capability to share your meeting call applies only to your current meeting call.

*Features and app availability may vary by region.

  • Microsoft has added a microphone icon automatically to taskbar when one is actively in a Microsoft Team’s call. You can see your call audio status, what app is accessing your microphone, and quickly mute and unmute your call at any time.

When you join a meeting, you will see the following icon instantly appear in your taskbar. The icon will be present throughout your call, so it is always accessible, no matter how many windows you have open on your screen.

Mute and unmute your calls with the microphone icon on the taskbar.

We are beginning to roll this experience out to a subset of Windows Insiders with Microsoft Teams for work or school installed and ramp it up over time. This means not everyone will see this right away with their Teams calls. We plan to bring this to Chat from Microsoft Teams (Microsoft Teams for home) later.

Other communications applications can also add this capability to their applications. The capability to mute or unmute your call applies only to your current call.

You can now communicate and collaborate with confidence & ease using the new call mute feature on Windows 11. We plan to enable this feature for all Windows 11 customers in a future serving update.

  • You can now use the WIN + Alt + K keyboard shortcut to toggle the new mute icon in the Taskbar when it’s showing.
  • As Settings > System > Sound in Windows 11 shows a warning when microphone access has been restricted in your privacy settings, Microsoft has removed the notification to alert you about this.
  • Microsoft has made a change so that going forward on new installs the touch indicator option will now be turned off by default under Settings > Accessibility > Mouse pointer and touch. As part of this change, Microsoft has added a link to this Settings page from Settings > Bluetooth & Devices > Touch and made it so that the press and hold visual is now always displayed regardless of the setting state.
  • If you’re searching for file type or link types under Settings > Apps > Default apps, it now shows a dropdown of options containing your current query without having to first press enter.
  • If needed, you can now launch the installed apps settings page under Settings > Apps > Installed apps directly via this URI: ms-settings:installed-apps.

Windows 11 UI changes:

  • Microsoft has rolled out a new entry point for “Your Microsoft account” under Settings > Account. Clicking this new entry point brings you to a new settings page that displays information related to your Microsoft account, including your subscriptions for Microsoft 365, links to order history, payment details, and Microsoft Rewards. This allows you to access your Microsoft account directly within Settings in Windows 11.

  • Microsoft has split up “Apps & Features” in Settings into two pages under Apps, “Installed Apps”, and “Advanced app settings”.
  • Microsoft has added the ability to view installed apps under Settings > Apps > Installed apps by list, tiles, or grid.
  • Microsoft has added ability to view snap groups in ALT + TAB and Task View when you hover open apps on the taskbar, and you see them there.
  • Microsoft has adjusted the names of the sort by options under Settings > Apps > Installed apps to help make them clearer and added a new option to sort from smallest to largest size.
  • Apps will now launch maximized by default when in the tablet posture on small devices (11-inch screens diagonal and under).
  • Microsoft has adjusted the context menu highlight color in places like Task Manager and File Explorer’s “Show more options” to now align with your selected mode (light or dark).
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