Microsoft is adding themes to the Windows 10 touch keyboard in Sun Valley

Microsoft is adding themes to the Windows 10 touch keyboard in Sun Valley

The touch keyboard has been a feature of Windows since Windows 8, but it’s never been terribly good. The problem is that it tends to respond differently to different kinds of apps, and it’s just not as seamless as modern operating systems like iPadOS and Android. Microsoft is set to change that with this fall’s Sun Valley update, which is the visual overhaul that we’re getting with Windows 10X being dead.

Sun Valley is a big visual overhaul of Windows 10. It’s going to focus on making the touch experience better. This is something that Microsoft really hasn’t done since it went way overboard with Windows 8. When Windows 10 shipped in 2015, the company scaled back a lot of its touch efforts in an effort to win back the faith of customers. Unfortunately, it was to the detriment of people who bought products like the Redmond firm’s own Surface Pro.

As spotted by Windows Latest, it seems that Microsoft is also making some big visual changes with the touch keyboard. You’re going to be able to set a background for the keyboard. In fact, if you look in C:\Windows\Web\touchkeyboard, you’ll find four designs, each with light and dark theme options.

That’s not all. You’ll be able to change the colors of the keyboard, change the size, and more, features that were spotted by Albacore. Unfortunately, while you can find the wallpaper images in File Explorer, you won’t find these new features yet.

If any of that sounds familiar, it should. A lot of this is pretty similar to what you might have seen from SwiftKey, which is a Microsoft-owned keyboard application on Android. SwiftKey has seen over 500 million downloads through the Google Play Store alone. With significant success on the Android end of things, it makes sense that Microsoft would bring some continuity between it and the touch keyboard. In fact, many would argue that the company needs to do that more often, such as with its Outlook apps.

The Windows 10 Sun Valley update is set to arrive later on this year. We should see it as part of the Windows 10 version 21H2 feature update that’s going to arrive in the fall. However, if you’re a Windows Insider, you should get to see it a lot sooner. As we know, new versions of Windows 10 are set to RTM in June and December, and then they head to the Beta channel the month after that for servicing until they’re released.

Sun Valley is more or less ready to go. Microsoft is just holding it back because it wants to show it off at a big event in June. Sadly, Windows still isn’t important enough to take the stage at Build, which takes place this week. After that big event in June, the whole visual refresh should be dumped on Windows Insiders, and then it should go to the Beta channel shortly thereafter.

It would seem that the folder of touch keyboard backgrounds discovered by Windows Latest was left there by Microsoft. As mentioned, Sun Valley is ready to go, but it’s being stripped out of Windows 10 preview builds. It would seem that some things remain.

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Rich Woods
Rich Woods

Managing Editor for XDA Computing. I've been covering tech from smartphones to PCs since 2013. If you see me at a trade show, come say hi and let me ask you weird questions about why you use the tech you use.