Many of you know that Paint is a drawing tool that can be used for simple drawings and basic image editing. Paint has been included in every version of Microsoft Windows, starting with Windows 1.0 which was released in 1985. After more than 20 years of development, Paint reached version number 6.1 in Windows 7 and 6.2 in Windows 8. Even though the version number is different between Windows 7 and Windows 8, the application is the same in both operating systems. But, compared to earlier versions of Windows, Paint has been changed and improved dramatically, after years of stagnation. It finally feels like a basic image editing tool worth taking into consideration.
In this article we will show you where to find Paint, how to work with the new interface and which are the most important options and improvements.
Where To Find Paint in Windows 7 & Windows 8
You can find Paint by typing the word 'paint' in the search box of the Start Menu, in Windows 7, and directly on the Start screen, in Windows 8.
Alternatively, you can find it following this path: Start Menu -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Paint.
For those of you using the command line, you can find it at
The Ribbon Is Present in Paint
After you open Paint you will see that the interface is completely modified compared to older versions. Now all the items are on the top side of the window. The new design uses the same concepts as the 'flow interface' from Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010. Therefore this group of users should be familiar with it and find their way very easily. For those of you who are not familiar with it, I will explain the most important elements.
The version of Paint in Windows 8 is almost identical to the version in Windows 7. The only difference is the fact that the interface looks flat and doesn’t have any transparency. All the options, features and menus are the same though. Therefore, I will be using the Windows 7 version in all my screenshots and explanations.
At the top of the window, on the titlebar, there is a Quick Access Toolbar with some of the most important buttons: Save, Undo and Redo.
If you click on the small arrow right next to the Redo button, a menu will open up which will allow you to customize the Quick Access Toolbar. You can add buttons like New (image), Open, Print or remove any of the existing ones. All you have to do is to click on the buttons you want to add or remove.
Under the title bar there is the main toolbar. The first button on the left side opens up the main menu of Paint, which is similar in options to the File menu from previous versions.
In this menu you can: "Open a new or existing image", Save an image, Print, "Acquire an image from a scanner or camera", "Send an image in e-mail", "Set as desktop background" the current image, see the Properties of the image and Exit Paint.
As in Microsoft Office, some menu items have extended options. For example, if you click on Save as, in the right pane of the menu you will see the most used formats for images: Bitmap, JPEG, GIF, and PNG.
Next, we have the Home tab with all the main image editing items that you would expect to see in Paint.
One of the things you can do is to add any of the tools from the Home tab to the "Quick Access Toolbar". Just right-click on the tool that you want to add and select "Add to Quick Access Toolbar" from the right-click menu.
In the next section of this article we will come back to this tab and explain the main options.
Next to the Home tab there is the View tab. Here you can Zoom In/Out or see an image in Full Screen mode. Also you can select to show Rulers and Gridlines on an image which can help you align elements in an image.
Finally, under the tabbed menu, there is the Drawing area and below it the Status bar where you can see general information about the current image.
The Home Tab - New Options & Features
Let’s get back to the Home tab. Here you will find most of the new options and features introduced by Paint. In this section I will try to walk you through them.
The first section of the Home tab contains the Clipboard tools: Paste from, Copy and Cut. Then you have the Image section, with the Crop, Resize, Rotate and Select tools.
The selecting and resizing tools have been improved with two new options: now you can resize the picture by percentage or by pixels.
Also the selections have new options. When selecting parts of an image, you can decide if you want the background color to be included in the selection or not. Simply check or uncheck the "Transparent selection" option. If you want the background included, uncheck the option and vice-versa.
Finally, there are the Brushes and Shapes tools which also gained new options, shown in the screenshot below.
We know that in some cases a video tutorial can show things better than one with pictures, that's why we decided to share with you this short video tutorial from Youtube, where most of the tools in Paint are presented.
Even if the new Paint doesn't have lots of new features and tools, the redesigned interface greatly improves usability. Now, every important tool is very easy to find and use. For the first time since I first opened Paint in Windows 3.1, I believe that this application is finally going to be used by users more than once per year and probably it's not going to be replaced with other software for basic image editing.