How Do I Use Microsoft Paint?

Paint is a native application in all versions of Windows 7 and 8.1.
Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Although its tools and features are limited compared to those in Adobe Photoshop, GIMP or Fresh Paint, Microsoft Paint still has its uses in Windows 7 and 8.1. You can use it to resize, rotate or crop your images, as well as to add various new elements such as text boxes or shapes. Paint can also convert images between popular image formats such as GIF, JPEG, BMP and PNG. Paint cannot work with layers.

Step 1

Recently opened images are displayed in the right pane of the File menu.
Credit: Image courtesy of Microsoft

Launch Microsoft Paint and open an image by clicking File and selecting Open from the menu. Select an image and click Open. To create a new image in Paint, click New instead of Open.

Step 2

Click Cancel if you don't want to apply the changes.
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Click the Resize and Skew button in the Image group on the Home tab to display the Resize and Skew dialog.

Enter different values into the Horizontal and Vertical fields in the appropriate sections. To maintain the aspect ratio and avoid distorting the image when you resize it, check the Maintain Aspect Ratio box. You can enter the new values in pixels, or as percentages.

Click OK to close the dialog and transform the image .

Step 3

You can only use one of the five rotation settings.
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Rotate or flip the image by clicking the Rotate or Flip button in the Image group and then selecting one of the available options.

Step 4

Remove everything except the selection by clicking the Crop button in the Image group.
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Select a part of the image by clicking the Select button, selecting one of the options and then clicking and dragging on the image. The Rectangular Selection option enables you to create rectangular selections. The Free-form Selection option enables you to create custom selections.

Click the Cut button in the Clipboard group to cut the selection, removing it from the picture and moving it to the clipboard. To copy the selection without removing it from the image, click the Copy button in the same group. You can paste the selection somewhere else by pressing Ctrl-V.

Step 5

To resize the text box, use the resize handles.
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Add a text box to the image by clicking the Text button in the Tools group and then dragging with the mouse over the image to define the size of the box. You can change the text attributes -- such as font, style and color -- from the Text tab.

Step 6

You can change the color of most elements from the Color group.
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Draw free-form lines using the Pencil tool. Select the type of line you wish to use to draw on the image by clicking the Brushes button and selecting one of the options. Change the color of the brush by selecting a different color from the Colors section. To change the size of the brush, select a different option from the Size box.

To select a custom color, click the Edit Colors button. You can input values for RGB colors into the Red, Green and Blue fields.

Step 7

Microsoft Paint
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Use the Fill With Color tool in the Tools group to fill a part of the image with color. You can erase parts of the image using the Eraser tool. Use specific colors from the image by selecting the Color Picker tool and clicking on the color you wish to use. The Magnifier tool changes the magnification of a part of the image.

Step 8

To undo changes or remove recently-placed shapes, press Ctrl-Z.
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Place a shape on the canvas by selecting it from the Shapes box and then clicking and dragging on the canvas to define its size and position. You can resize the shape after you insert it by clicking and dragging any of the six sizing handles -- small white rectangles -- on the dotted blue line around it. To reposition the shape, mouse over it -- the cursor changes to a four-headed arrow -- and then click and drag it on the canvas.

Change the color of the shape by choosing from the Colors group. Select other shape options from the Fill or Outline drop-down boxes. Select a different line thickness from the Size drop-down box.

Step 9

Display the status bar at the bottom of the window by enabling the "Status Bar" option.
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Switch to the View tab to view gridlines or rulers in Paint. Increase or decrease the magnification by clicking the Zoom In or Zoom Out buttons in the Zoom group, or reset by clicking the 100% button. To view the image in full screen mode, click Full Screen in the Display group.

Step 10

Paint 2013
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Click File and then click the Save As. Choose a File Name and select a file format for the Save As Type drop-down menu at the bottom of the Save As dialog.

Step 11

Paint 2013
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To use the image as a desktop background, click File, hover over Set As Desktop Background and then select one of the background settings in the right-side pane.

To view the properties of the image -- last saved time, size on disk, resolution and size -- select Properties from the File menu.


The Fresh Paint app is free from the Windows 8 app store and provides more tools than Microsoft Paint. It enables you to be more creative and its brushes and palettes are better than Paint's. However, Fresh Paint is best suited for touchscreen devices.

To change the type of an image file -- for example to convert a PNG file to a JPEG file -- open the image, click File and select a different file format from the Save As menu.