How to Change the Microsoft Paint Defaults

By Megan Mattingly-Arthur

Microsoft Paint is a simple drawing tool that can be used to create drawings or edit pictures in .jpg, .gif, or .bmp file formats. Projects created in Microsoft Paint can then be saved as the background on your computer, pasted into other documents or printed. Microsoft Paint comes programmed with default options that may be beneficial for the beginning Paint user, but can get in the way of more advanced artists. Luckily, learning how to change the default settings in Microsoft Paint is simple and can be done in just minutes.

Step 1

Change the default page margins in Microsoft Paint. Select "File," "Page Setup" from the top, left-hand corner of your screen. Wait for the dialog box to appear and then locate the "Margins" section on the right-hand side of the dialog box. Increase or decrease number values in the individual fields to set custom top, bottom, left and right margins for your Microsoft Paint project.

Step 2

Change the orientation of your Microsoft Paint project. Select "File," followed by "Page Setup." Locate the "Orientation" section in the middle of the dialog box when it appears. Select "Portrait" or "Landscape" to orient the page as desired. Selecting "Portrait" will cause the page to be oriented vertically, while selecting "Landscape" will orient the page horizontally.

Step 3

Select a different Microsoft Paint tool. When Microsoft Paint starts, the Pencil is selected as the default tool. Click on any tool in the vertical toolbar on the left side of the screen to select it.

Step 4

Choose Microsoft Paint colors for your project. The default colors for Microsoft Paint are black on a white background. Change the default colors by selecting "Colors" from the toolbar at the top of the screen, followed by "Edit Colors." To change the color of your background, select the paint bucket tool from the vertical toolbar on the left-hand side of the screen and then click the color of your choice.

Step 5

Use custom paint colors in Microsoft Paint. To choose from outside of the program's default colors, select "Colors," followed by "Edit Colors." Choose the "Define Custom Colors" option, located at the bottom of the dialog box. When the color panel appears, drag your cursor around until you find the desired color shade and then select "Add to Custom Colors." If you know the exact properties of your custom color, enter it in the appropriate fields on the right-hand side of the dialog box.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make Microsoft Paint easier to access in Windows Vista. Right-click the "Start" button at the bottom of the screen and select "Properties." Choose "Classic Start-Up Menu" from the presented options. Access Microsoft Paint by selecting "Start," "Programs," "Accessories" and finally, "Paint."
  • Microsoft Paint is a very simple program and may not be suitable for more complex projects.