Microsoft is revamping Windows 10’s touch keyboard with better voice typing, GIFs, and emojis
In an attempt to improve the input experience for Windows 10 users with touch screen devices, Microsoft is rolling out a significant update for Windows Insiders in the dev channel. The latest Windows Insider update brings improvements to the platform’s touch keyboard, a new voice typing experience, an enhanced emoji picker, and much more. Here’s everything new in the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 20206:
Improved touch keyboard design
Microsoft is rolling out a new touch keyboard design for some Windows Insiders in the latest update. The improved design offers a fresh aesthetic and brings a bunch of small tweaks, including updated key sizes and layouts for better typing comfort and accuracy.
The new design also includes refinements like new keypress animations and sounds, optimization for Child keys for quicker entry, a new button to undock the keyboard, improvements for all entries in the settings menu, emoji, and GIF search support, and a new voice typing button. The touch keyboard can now also be invoked on any PC from the touch keyboard button on the taskbar. However, users may need to enable the button from the settings first.
The keyboard update also includes a new feature that will allow users to control cursor movement using the spacebar. Users will now be able to control the cursor position by placing their finger on the spacebar and sliding it in any direction to move the cursor.
New Windows Voice Typing
The update brings a new and improved version of Windows dictation called Windows voice typing, which will allow users to type effortlessly with just their voice. The enhanced Voice Typing experience includes a modern design optimized for touch keyboards, auto-punctuation support, and an updated back end for a more reliable voice typing experience.
Users will be able to start voice typing by using the Win+H keyboard shortcut or by tapping on the new microphone button on the touch keyboard. Microsoft has also shared a list of supported voice commands (see image below) that you can use to try out the new Voice Typing experience.
Voice Typing in the latest Insider Preview build is available in 14 languages/locales, and the feature will automatically select the language based on the language you’re using on your keyboard. While all the features mentioned above are available for all supported languages/locales, auto-punctuation is not available for Japanese in the current release. Much like the updated keyboard, Voice Typing is rolling out to a small subset of Windows Insiders in the dev channel at first and will be rolled out to everyone in the dev channel gradually.
Updated Emoji Picker
The Emoji Picker in Windows 10 is also getting a refresh in the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview, which brings support for more languages, kaomoji, and symbols. The Emoji Picker has received an updated design that is more aligned with Microsoft’s Fluid Design principles, improvements to the Emoji search feature in supported languages with an inline search box, and animated GIF support.
With the latest Insider build, users will be able to quickly input GIFs by using the Win+[.] and Win+[;] keyboard shortcuts. The new GIF support has quite a few animated GIFs on offer (powered by Tenor), and Microsoft plans to expand the library based on current trends and hashtags in the future. It’s worth noting that in order to insert a GIF while typing, the selected text field will need to support GIF input.
Additionally, Microsoft is also bringing input and clipboard history into a single experience, and users will now be able to access the clipboard category after pressing Win+[.] or Win+[;]. Users will still be able to access the clipboard history using the Win+V shortcut. The updated emoji picker is also rolling out to a small number of Insiders with the latest update and should reach more users in the following days.
Along with the features mentioned above, the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build includes a bunch of other changes and improvements for the software that can be found in the blog post linked below. The build has a couple of known issues that you may also want to check out before updating your device.
Source: Windows Insider Blog