Windows 10 is getting a new touch keyboard with GIFs, emoji, and better voice typing

Microsoft is planning to release some significant changes to its built-in touch keyboard for Windows 10. The updated touch keyboard design builds on the company’s work with Windows 10X, bringing new key press animations, sounds, and all the all-important ability to search for and insert animated GIFs.

Microsoft called this the WonderBar for Windows 10X, and the new design in Windows 10 also includes better layouts that are optimized for typing, and the ability to move the cursor in through the space bar on the touch keyboard. This is very similar to how iOS lets you operate the cursor, by placing a finger on the space bar and sliding left, right, up, and down to navigate around.

The new cursor support with the spacebar.

Windows 10’s new GIF picker for the touch keyboard.

Microsoft is also updating its emoji picker in Windows 10. The emoji picker, which activates when you press winkey + period, will soon include an improved design based on Microsoft’s Fluent Design system. There’s emoji search, animated GIF support, and the convergence of clipboard history and emoji input into a single interface.

Alongside the keyboard and emoji improvements, Microsoft is also announcing a new form of Windows dictation today. Dubbed Voice Typing, the voice to text interface built into Windows has been overhauled. It includes a more modern design, auto-punctuation, and an updated backend that Microsoft promises will make it “the most reliable voice typing experience ever on Windows.”

New Windows voice typing feature.

All of these new Windows 10 changes are being tested with Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel this week, and might not all show up for all testers. They’re part of a bigger update Microsoft is planning for Windows 10 in the first half of 2021.

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