Windows 11’s Photos app has been getting some impressive upgrades recently, and it looks like another one is on the way. The app is getting Designer web app integration, which is Microsoft’s tool that enables people to make professional-looking graphics, but there’s one little catch – it’ll prompt Designer to open in Edge (Microsoft’s web browser that comes installed with Windows 11). 

The new Designer integration joins a line-up of other features that have been added in the last two years, including the background blur feature, an AI magic eraser, and more. The new feature is  accessible via an 'Edit in Microsoft Designer' option within the Photos app, represented by an icon that will appear in the middle of the Preview window. 

It’s not the most subtle position for it, and I think it’s fair to assume Microsoft is doing that because it wants users to click it. Doing so will take users to the Microsoft Designer website which opens in an Edge window – and due to Edge not being the most popular of web browsers, this could irritate people who have set their default browser to a different app, such as Chrome

This development is still in the testing stages, according to Windows Latest, making its way through the Windows Insider Program. The feature can be found in Photos app version 2024.11040.16001.0, which is a part of the Windows 11 24H2 preview build in the Canary channel. The feature should also be available in the Windows 11 Insider Dev channel build, but the Photos app version has to be version 2024.11040.16001.0.

Apparently, you can also prompt the Designer web app to open by right-clicking the image while in Preview in the Photos app, and clicking ‘Edit in Designer online’ in the menu that appears.

Woman relaxing on a sofa, holding a laptop in her lap and using it

(Image credit: Shutterstock/fizkes)

The apparent state of the new feature

When it tried to activate the new feature, Windows Latest hit a wall as it was presented with a blank canvas in Designer, rather than the image that was going to be edited. Hopefully, this is an anomaly or an error, and it presumably will result in the image you’re looking at in Preview in the Photos app opening up in Designer when the feature is fully rolled out in a Windows update. 

Windows Latest made several attempts at making the feature function as intended, but it wasn’t to be, and I would hope that Microsoft takes this feedback on board, especially if it’s a widespread issue. You can import the image manually while having the Designer web app already open, but this will defeat the purpose of having an easily accessible option in the Photos app. 

Users can edit their image in Designer, but only if they’ve signed into their Microsoft account. Microsoft wrote about the feature in an official Windows Blogs post, explaining that it’s currently being tested in the US, UK, Australia, Ireland, India, and New Zealand.

Having various image editing tools scattered across the Photos app, the Designer web app, and the Paint app doesn’t make things easy for Windows users. People like accessing all the relevant tools from whatever app they’re currently using instead of having to memorize which app has what exclusive feature. 

The approach has been called ‘inconsistent’ by Windows Latest, and I would bet that it’s not alone in that opinion. While it’s clear that Microsoft wants to get people using its new AI-powered tools, the company would be much better served if made them easier to access through one powerful program, rather than being scattered around Windows 11.


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