Using Windows Paint (with images)

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Using Windows Paint (with images)
Using Windows Paint (with images)

Windows comes with Microsoft Paint, the successor to Paintbrush. A simple, easy to use image editing program. With this program, you can draw, paint, and do basic image editing without using expensive, sophisticated software like Photoshop. Although MS Paint is not known as a particularly powerful program, it is surprisingly rich in features if you know where to find them.


Part 1 of 3: Getting to know the program

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Step 1. Launch Paint

Opening Paint, like other functions, is slightly different in every version of Windows.

  • Windows 10: Click the Start button, then the Magnifying Glass. type


    , and select 'Paint' when it appears as the search result.
  • Windows 8: Swipe in from the right side of the screen and select "Search." type


    . Select 'Paint' when it appears as the search result.
  • Windows Vista and 7: Click the Start button, and open the 'All Programs' group. Open the 'Accessories' menu and select 'Paint'.
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Step 2. Open an image file

Paint can handle many different image types, including *.bmp,.gif,.jpg/.jpg,.tif/.tiff,.ico, and.png. To open a file in Paint, click 'File', then 'Open'. Navigate to the folder where your image file is stored and click 'Open'.

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Step 3. Understand the canvas

When Paint starts, you will see a white window appear on the screen. Imagine this white window as paper you can draw or paint on. You can adjust the size of the canvas or canvas before starting your masterpiece.

  • Windows 7 and later: In the Home tab, click on 'Resize'. Select 'Pixels' and type in the desired size of the 'horizontal' and 'vertical' boxes. Or if you prefer to resize as a percentage, select 'Percentage' and enter the percentage by which you want to enlarge or reduce the current image. For example, if you want to make the image 50% smaller, type 50 in each box. To double the current size, type 200 in each box.
  • Vista: Click on 'Image' and select 'Attributes'. Enter the desired canvas size (in pixels), in the width and height fields.
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Step 4. Crop an image

Open an image in Paint, and click the 'Selection' tool in the main menu. Left-click once in the top corner of that part of the image you want to save, and drag the mouse down, to the right, until the dotted square surrounds exactly that part. Release the mouse button and click 'Crop'.

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Step 5. Resize an image

Click 'Image' and select 'Resize/Slant' (in Windows 7 or later, click 'Resize' in the main menu). You can also do this with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+W to bring up the Resize/Slant dialog. Type in a new size (in pixels or as a percentage, as when creating the canvas) to resize the image.

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Step 6. Rotate an image

To rotate an image (in either direction), use Flip and Rotate.

  • Windows 7 and later: In the toolbar, click "Rotate" and choose a direction from the menu.
  • Vista: In the 'Image' menu, click 'Flip & Rotate', and select a direction to rotate or flip the image.
  • You can also press Ctrl+R to display the Rotate tool (any version).
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Step 7. Zoom in and out

Click on the magnifying glass to activate Zoom. To zoom in, click anywhere in the image with the left mouse button. To zoom out, right click. You can also use the keyboard for this, so Ctrl+⇞ PgUp to zoom in and Ctrl+⇟ PgDn to zoom out.

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Step 8. Learn to undo your mistakes

If you made a mistake while using one of these tools, you can 'undo' your action by pressing Ctrl+Z.

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Step 9. Save your work

Click 'File' and then 'Save As' to choose a file name and save location. You will also be presented with the option to choose a file format. This depends on what you plan to do with the image..jpg" />

You can always convert your images to another file format later. Read Convert images to.jpg" />

Part 2 of 3: Drawing and painting

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Step 1. Get to know the color palette

The assortment of colored squares at the top of the screen is the color palette. Clicking on a color selects that color as the foreground color (main color) for any tool in Paint. You can also set a background color for when you start working with shapes.

  • Windows 7 and later: The foreground is called "Color 1", the background "Color 2". To choose a foreground color, click on 'Color 1' and select a color from the palette. For the background color, click on 'Color 2' and then on a color.
  • Windows Vista or earlier: Locate the two overlapping colored boxes on the left side of the palette. The front box is the foreground color, the back box is the background. Set the background color by right clicking on the color of your preference.
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Step 2. Draw a straight or curved line

Depending on your version of Windows, you'll see the two line tools (Line and Round Line) to the left or right of the main menu.

  • Draw a straight line by clicking the straight line tool, then choose a color from the palette. Click anywhere in the canvas. Hold down the mouse button and drag the mouse away from that first click in one direction. Release the button when the line is long enough to your liking.
  • For a curved line, click on the rounded line symbol (a squiggly line). Draw a line as you did with the straight line tool. When you release the mouse button, click anywhere on the line and drag it in a direction that will cause the straight line to curve in that direction.
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Step 3. Draw a free line with the Pencil

The pencil is a freehand drawing tool, just like an actual pencil. The width of the line can be adjusted by clicking the Size menu and choosing a different line width. To draw, press the mouse button while moving the mouse over the canvas.

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Step 4. Paint with the Brush Tool

The Brush is more versatile than the Pencil because you can choose different brush tips for more unique lines.

  • In Windows 7 and later, click the down arrow under Brushes and choose one of the brush tips. You can adjust the size of each brush by clicking the 'Size' icon.
  • In Windows Vista and earlier, click the Brush icon, then choose a brush shape from the menu that appears below the main menu. Select a color from the palette and drag the mouse to draw a design on the canvas.
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Step 5. Use the Aerosol

This tool works the same way as the Paintbrush, but is more like a Spray Can of paint.

  • Windows 7 and newer: This tool can be found in the 'Brushes' menu.
  • Vista and earlier: Click on the symbol that looks like a spray can. Draw with it as you would with the Pencil or the other brushes.
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Step 6. Use the Eraser

To erase something you've drawn, click the Eraser Tool and swipe the mouse over the area you want to erase. As with the other tools, you can adjust the Eraser width in the Size menu.

Note that the background color ("Color 2" in Windows 7 and later) will appear when you use the Eraser Tool. If you delete a red line on a white background, for example, make sure that the background color is also set to white

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Step 7. Make shapes

Select a shape from the toolbar that you want to draw to create that shape. Once you've chosen a shape, you'll see a number of options for the shape's appearance.

  • In Windows 7 or higher, click on the 'Outline' and 'Fill' menus to view the (slightly more extensive) options. If you have Windows Vista or an earlier version, you will see the outline of a shape, an outline of a shape around a fill color, and a solid colored shape.
  • Select your preferred outline and fill, then click on the canvas where you want the shape to go. Hold down the mouse button while dragging the cursor to enlarge the shape. Release the mouse button when the shape is the desired size.
  • If you have chosen a shape and outline, the color of the outline will become the current foreground color. If your color is solid, the fill color becomes the background color.
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Step 8. Fill an area with the color

The fill tool, also known as the Bucket, paints a specified area with a single color.

  • Click on the symbol that looks like an overflowing bucket, and choose a color from the palette. Now click on the canvas to fill it with the color you selected.
  • The fill tool will fill the space between all closed lines. Create a square or circle with the shape tool in a color, then use the fill tool to change the color of just that shape.

Part 3 of 3: Learning to master additional functions

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Step 1. Get to know the different selection tools

There are several tools you can use to make a selection in your image: free-form selection (a dotted outline of an oval) and rectangular selection (a dotted outline of a rectangle). Freeform allows you to hand-draw a selection around an image, while the Rectangular Selection Tool lets you draw a rectangle.

  • In Windows 7 and later, click the arrow under Select, then choose Rectangular or Freeform. In Windows Vista and earlier, you'll see both in the toolbar.
  • To use one of these tools, first click in the top left corner of the image, then hold down the mouse button while drawing a line around it. The rectangular selection is fast, but the free-form selection allows you to specify exactly what you want selected. Release the mouse button when you are done selecting.
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Step 2. Copy and paste your selections

Copy the selected area by pressing Ctrl+C. Now paste it elsewhere (in Paint or in other compatible programs, such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint) by pressing Ctrl+V in a new location.

  • If you don't want the background color to be part of your selection:

    • Windows 7 and later: Check 'Transparent selection' in the selection menu.
    • Windows Vista or earlier: Locate the two icons with multicolored shapes and a "selection" rectangle on top. Click on the selected bottom (transparent) of the two icons. To turn this off again later, click on the top selected icon again.
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Step #3. Add text

Select the Text tool, indicated by the letter 'A', then double-click anywhere in the canvas to type text.

  • A dotted text field with square boxes appears in each corner. Make sure the text in the text field is exactly right before you choose another tool (after closing the text field you can no longer change the text.
  • To make the text field larger (so you have more room for your text), hover the mouse over one of the square boxes in a corner until the cursor becomes an arrow, then drag the field larger.
  • Choose a Font and Size from the main menu and start typing. To change the color, size, or font of the text after typing, select the text, then choose a new color, size, etc. When you're done, type anywhere outside the text box to close the tool.
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Step 4. Stretch or warp an image

You can distort an image with the 'Inclination' function. Click on 'Image', and select 'Resize/Slant' (in Windows 7 or later, click on 'Resize' in the toolbar). To stretch or distort the image by a certain degree, type a value (in degrees) in the "horizontal" and "vertical" fields.

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Step 5. Use the color picker

The little eyedropper icon is the Color Picker. Click on this tool and then anywhere in your image. The area where you click now becomes the foreground color for the next tool you choose.

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Step 6. Create your own colors

You can edit any of the colors by changing its hue, brightness, and other properties using Paint's color mixer. Click "Edit Colors" or "Define Custom Colors" to open the color mixer. Once you have chosen a color you like, click on 'Add to custom colors'.

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Step 7. Use a ruler or grid

It's not easy to draw symmetrically with a mouse, so you can help yourself with guides. Click the 'View' tab, and put a checkmark next to 'Ruler' for horizontal and vertical rulers around your canvas. Place a check next to "Gridlines" for a grid on your canvas. You can disable both items at any time by unchecking the boxes.

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Step 8. Learn key combinations

Keyboard shortcuts can greatly improve your productivity. Here are some of the best known:

  • Rotate: Ctrl+R
  • New canvas: Ctrl+N
  • Cut: Ctrl+X
  • Paste: Ctrl+V
  • Copy: Ctrl+C
  • Save: Ctrl+S
  • Delete: Del
  • Print: Ctrl+P
  • Undo: Ctrl+Z
  • Select all: Ctrl+A
  • Open: Ctrl+O
  • Again: Ctrl+Y
  • Hide toolbar: Ctrl+T
  • Open Attributes: Ctrl+E
  • Stretch and Tilt: Ctrl+W
  • Hide color bar: Ctrl+L


  • To make thicker lines with a tool, select a tool and press Ctrl++. To make a tool's line thinner, use Ctrl+-.
  • To limit straight lines to 45-degree angles, hold down the ⇧ Shift key while drawing a line. If you want the Shape tool shapes to be exactly the same size on all sides, hold down the ⇧ Shift key while creating the shape to get this effect.

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