How to Select in Microsoft Paint

By Filonia LeChat

Included with every installation of the Windows operating system is a basic sketching and drawing program called Paint. Use Paint to edit electronic photos, add text to graphics, draw logos or create digital doodles. While working in Paint, grabbing part or all of an image is called selecting, and you'll find the "Select" tool similar to many others on a variety of computer programs.

Step 1

Open Paint. Click the Paint button in the top-left corner of the screen and select "Open." Browse to an image to use to experiment with the selection tools. Double-click the file name and the image opens in the Paint workspace.

Step 2

Click the "Select" button, located on the ribbon/toolbar at the top of the screen. Click "Select All." The picture is surrounded by dotted lines with a small square in each corner. Press the "Ctrl" and "C" keys together to copy the image or drag it around to a new place on the document.

Step 3

Click anywhere on the Paint gray workspace to release the dotted lines and remove the selection. Click the "Select" button again and select "Rectangular selection." The cursor turns into a crosshair.

Step 4

Press and hold down the left mouse button, click the picture and draw a rectangle around the part of the image to select. Dotted lines appear in a frame around the selected area. Press "Ctrl" and "C" to copy it into memory.

Step 5

Click anywhere on the Paint gray workspace to release the dotted lines and remove the selection. Click the "Select" button again and select "Free-form selection." The cursor turns into a crosshair.

Step 6

Draw an outline around the area of the object to select, such as tracing a person's body. Note that this outline will still turn into a rectangle; Paint does not have the functionality to select shapes other than squares and rectangles, but it gives you slightly more precision than the "Rectangular selection" tool. A dotted rectangle appears around the selected area. Press "Ctrl" and "C" to copy it into memory.

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