Microsoft makes its AI-powered Designer tool available in preview

Microsoft Designer, Microsoft’s AI-powered design tool, launched today in public preview with an expanded set of features.

Announced in October, Designer is a Canva-like web app that can generate designs for presentations, posters, digital postcards, invitations, graphics, and more to share on social media and other channels. Take advantage of user-created content and DALL-E 2, OpenAI’s text-to-image AI, to devise layouts, with drop-down menus and text boxes for further customization.

“Since October, AI models have been steadily improving, and we’ve worked to weave these powerful capabilities across the Designer canvas in even more pleasing ways while keeping you in control,” wrote Bryan Rognier, general manager of the 365 Consumer division of Microsoft, in a blog post published today.

Designer can now generate relevant written captions and hashtags for social media posts, offering various suggestions for users to choose from. You can also create animated images, complete with backgrounds and text transitions, powered by AI.

microsoft designer

New features coming to Microsoft’s AI-powered Designer tool.

In the future, Designer will gain additional editing features, Microsoft says, including the ability to place an object in a specific place on a graphic and automatically fill in the rest of an image. In the meantime, upcoming “erase” and “replace background” options will allow users to brush over objects, people, or backgrounds they didn’t intend to be on a graphic.

Designer will remain free during the preview period, Microsoft says: It’s available via the Designer website and in Microsoft’s Edge browser via the sidebar. Once the Designer app is generally available, it will be included in Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions and will have “some” features that are free to use for non-subscribers, though Microsoft did not provide further details.

Addressing some of the legal issues that have arisen recently around AI-powered imaging systems, Microsoft says that users will have “full” use rights to commercialize the images they create with Designer and Image Creator. It’s unclear if that could change in the future, given ongoing court battles involving OpenAI and other startups marketing generative AI tools.

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