How to Open PNG Files

By Aaron Parson

Alongside JPEG (or JPG), PNG is one of the most common image formats on the Internet. All Windows 7 and 8 computers include two programs that can open Portable Network Graphics files. Windows Photo Viewer is best for looking at a picture or printing a copy. To edit an image or save it in another image format, use Paint.

Step 1

**Double-click a PNG image to open it in the default image viewing or editing program.** Out of the box, Windows 7 and 8 use Windows Photo Viewer as the default. Even if you change the default program later, you can always open a PNG in Windows Photo Viewer by right-clicking the image and selecting **Preview**.

Step 2

**Use the buttons along the bottom of Windows Photo Viewer to work with the image.** The left two buttons adjust the zoom. The middle panel moves back and forth through images in the same folder, and the center button starts a slideshow. On the right, the circular arrows rotate the image and the "X" icon deletes the image.Other than rotating the image, Windows Photo Viewer can't permanently edit an image -- zooming in and out does not actually shrink or expand the image file.

Step 3

Use the menu at the top for file operations, such as to make a copy of the image, print it, email it, burn it to a disc or open it in another program.

Step 4

Open a PNG directly in an image editing program from Windows by right-clicking the image and choosing **Open With**. Unless you have another editor installed, pick **Paint** to open the image editor included with Windows.To change the default editor for PNG files, click **Choose Default Program** and choose a program. The program you pick opens instead of Windows Photo Viewer when you double-click any PNG.

Step 5

[Work with the image in Paint](, resizing, cropping and editing as needed. When you're done, open the **File** menu (a menu icon on Windows 7) and choose **Save**. To change to another image format, point to **Save As** and pick the new format. When you use *Save As*, you create a new copy of the file with your changes, leaving the original untouched.

Tips & Warnings

  • Unlike Windows Photo Viewer in older versions of Windows, the program in Windows 7 and 8 does not display scroll bars when you open large images. To scroll an image, click and drag anywhere on the picture.
  • In Windows Photo Viewer, the left and right arrow keys move between images in the current folder. The mouse wheel zooms in and out.
  • You can edit and save a PNG as many times as you want without losing image quality, but saving a file as a JPEG causes compression artifacts, lowering quality. PNG files also support transparent backgrounds, unlike JPEG files, so if you change to JPEG, any transparent backgrounds turn solid white.