• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint

A rudimentary image editor, used to create and modify .bmp, .jpg, .gif, .tif, and .png image files.

To Open

Start Programs Accessories Paint

Command Prompt mspaint


Paint is a basic image editor (often called a "paint program") capable of creating and modifying mostWindows Bitmap (.bmp), Joint Photographic Experts Group (.jpg), Compuserve Graphics Interchange Format (.gif), Tagged Image File Format (.tif), and Portable Network Graphics (.png) image files. In essence, Paint is to image files as Notepad is to text files (see Figure 4-67).

Figure 4-67. The Paint utility provides a few rudimentary tools for working with image files

The first time you start Paint, you'll get a blank (white) image, 400 x 300 pixels in size. Depending on the size of the Paint window, you may see the entire canvas, surrounded by a gray border. To change the size of the image, go to Image Attributes, and type new values. The default units are pixels, but if you choose inches or centimeters, the size of the image will be calculated using the resolution displayed at the top of the window. For example, if you specify an image size of 8" x 11" at 64 dots per inch (1 dot = 1 pixel), the resulting image dimensions will be 8*64 x 11*64, or 512 x 640 pixels. The pixels are the only thing that is important if the image is to be displayed on the screen or in a web page; the dimensions in inches or centimeters are only important if you're printing the image.

At the bottom of the window, you'll see a color palette; the leftmost box shows the currently selected foreground and background colors. Choose a new foreground color by left-clicking on any color in the palette; choose a new background color by right-clicking. The roles of the foreground and background colors depend on the currently selected tool (see below). For example, if you draw a filled-in ellipse (choose the ellipse tool and then select the second variation), the foreground color will appear as the border and the background color will be used to fill the ellipse. You can mix your own colors by going to Colors Edit Colors.

To the left of the document area is a simple toolbox. Each tool has a different function used to manipulate the image in some way. The first two tools are used to select portions of the image: the star selects an irregular shape and the rectangle selects a rectangle. The eraser tool works like a paintbrush, except that it paints with the background color. The paint bucket is used to fill a bounded area with a solid color. The eyedropper is used to set the foreground or background colors to an area in the image. The magnifying glass zooms in and out; left-click to zoom and right-click to zoom out. The pencil icon draws single-pixel-width lines, and the paintbrush draws with a variety of brush sizes, chosen in the brush palette beneath the toolbox; the left mouse button draws with the foreground color, and the right mouse button draws with the background color. The spray can draws by splattering random dots. The A tool is used to add text to an image, although once text has been applied, it becomes part of the image and can't be changed. The line tool is used to draw a straight line between two points; choose the squiggly line tool to first draw a straight line, and then distort the line with a third click. The last four tools are shapes; choose the shape, and then choose whether or not it will be filled or have a border by using the brush palette below.

In addition to these basic tools, there are some other goodies. Go to File Set as Background (Tiled or Centered) sets the current image as the Windows Desktop wallpaper (it only works if the file has been first saved as a .bmp file). Use View View Bitmap to temporarily fill the screen with the image; click or press any key to go back. Entries in the Image menu let you perform some extra functions, such as flipping, rotating, and stretching the image.


  • If you're creating an image file to be used on a web page, that file must be saved using the .jpg or .gif format, a selection that is made in the File Save As box. .bmp files, while visible in some versions of Internet Explorer, are not a suitable file format for web pages, mostly because most web browsers will not be able to read them. Note that it is not enough to simply rename a file to a different format; you must open it and save it as the new format.

  • If you paste an image into MSPaint that is larger than the bitmap you currently have open, you are prompted and can choose to have the bitmap enlarged.

  • If you'd like the Explorer to show miniature previews (icons) of .bmp files in Explorer and on your Desktop, make the following changes to your Registry:

    1. Open the Registry Editor (see Chapter 7 for details).

    2. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Paint.Picture\DefaultIcon .

    3. Double-click the Default value and change the value data to '%1' (with the quotes).

    4. Close the Registry Editor when you're done.

  • To change the icon to its default, repeat the above steps, instead typing mspaint.exe,1 for the value data in Step 3.

  • For a more advanced image editing and image format conversion tool, download the shareware version of Paint Shop Pro from http://www.jasc.com/.

See Also

Windows Picture and Fax Viewer

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint