Microsoft Designer was first announced back in August of 2022 and has been available in a limited preview to since January this year to gain early feedback from users.
This week however, Microsoft announced that (whilst still in preview), the AI driven social media content creation platform would be available for anyone to try. Microsoft also announced plans to include the tools into their Edge browser in much the same way they have provided the ability to use the new Bing AI search.
Introducing Microsoft Designer
Microsoft Designer is a “Canva-like” designer tool aims to provide a simple, sleek and AI infused tool to help business and consumers quickly produce high quality online content such as social media posts, greeting cards, banners, branding, alerts, promotions etc.
Powered by DALL·E and built as a progressive web app, Microsoft Designer is the latest AI powered tool now in ‘preview-mode, which joins Bing Chat and Bing Image Creator along with many other tools which can be accessed on their own or from within the sidebar of their Chromium powered Edge browser.
Available from https://designer.microsoft.com or from the Edge side bar, users can use Designer to manage and create animations, impressive visuals, text, and design templates specifically for sharing on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, TickTok and Instagram, or of course on enterprise social tools within an organisation like Viva Engage [aka Yammer].
Here’s some of the great things you can do today in Designer.
- Easily create designs with >20 different social media layout sizes across Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
- Automatic (manual override) of elements such as text, video and images to best accommodate your chosen layout, reducing time needed to manually format you posts.
- Wide range of animation features including auto text transitions and animated backgrounds.
- Save or share directly with social media your finished creations.
Being in preview there is still more to come and the app will continue to evolved based on user feedback and their development lifecycle. Here’s more AI powered tools that Mcirosoft are working on which will be coming “soon”.
- New Fill tool that allows users to select an area of a design and quickly place an object in that location
- Simple erase function which will allow the user to brush over a person/object in the design and have Designer remove the object, generate and replace it with another image
- Expand Background tool, which will be able to quickly fill any gaps within the foreground of your design, and
- Replace Background which will be able to switch the background to a new one preserving the rest of your design.
Why integrate into Edge?
Microsoft say that by integrating Designer into Edge, they are bringing these capabilities straight into where people work. Since it will be accessible directly via the edge sidebar, users can access it by simply clicking on the Designer icon. Microsoft say this makes the tools accessible and “in the flow of creativity“, meaning users can quickly create unique designs instantly by simply describing the graphic you want without needing to leave the page they are, switch windows, load apps, or download custom extensions to the browser.
The aim is to improve the workflow and “keep you in the moment” – since whilst creating a social media post, Designer in Edge will provide AI-powered design suggestions to include in the post, which can then be customised and published without needing to leave the browser of switch apps.
As with any preview, Microsoft encourage users to feedback on their experience of using designer – both as a dedicated service and as a Edge browser integrated experience.
Competing with the Design giants
Designer is still in preview and there is lots Microsoft need to do to get it to the level of comparison with other apps like Canva and Adobe, both of whom have recently released their own AI-powered features. Microsoft have done a great job so far and by opening the preview up to the masses and with their recent investment in OpenAI, I expect a plethora of enhancements and new features to keep coming.