MS Paint comes with every standard Windows installation. Most users just use it to play around with, or to create pixel art.
Over the years, I’ve collected a few tips and tricks for Paint. This tutorial by Messenjah covers most of them.
Note that the grid was introduced in Windows 7 .
The ribbon was added to the Windows 7 version of Paint. I dislike the ribbon interface immensely, and for whatever reason, Microsoft is slowly converting their applications to use it. It is way too complicated for something as simple as Paint. Luckily, I have a copy of the Windows XP version, so I just use that instead.
It may seem like the Win7 Paint has more functionality, namely better zoom, more brushes, shapes, and perhaps the best improvement, the addition of rulers
and a grid. Unfortunately, even with all these improvements, I would still prefer to use the previous version. This is, again, a matter of Microsoft removing very useful features that they think no one uses.
One of these features is the ability to choose a tertiary colour. Everyone knows that you can left-click to select the foreground colour, and many people know that a right-click selects the background colour, but not too many people know that
Ctrl+click allows one to select a tertiary colour. While painting, the tertiary colour can be accessed by holding
In previous versions of Paint, there was a hidden 1000% (10x) zoom. That was achieved by clicking the area just underneath the 8x zoom. Of course, the current version has more sophisticated zooming.
Paint also has a black-and-white mode (true black-and-white, not greyscale) that is surprisingly still present in the current version. The switch is in the Properties dialog, which can be easily accessed using
Ctrl+E. When enabled, the current image will lose its colour information and the palette will change accordingly.
One more thing: by holding
Shift, you can restrict drawing straight lines to 45° angles and constrain the proportions of shapes.
OK, so I’m not skilled enough to make an image in Paint like the one at the beginning of the post. But I did make this, which is almost as impressive:
Would you believe that there are only three colours in that image (the full image, not the preview)? Zoom in far enough and you’ll see how it works. It was created using the monochrome mode, brush size, and colour erase tricks.
There are a lot more functions that I didn’t cover here. Explore for yourself! The Wikipedia article gives a good overview of the functions. Some of this is actually documented in the help file, it’s just that no one bothers to read the help file for such a seemingly simple program.
If you want a copy of the old Paint, VG has made the Vista version available for download (direct download). If you want to really experiment, you can try the version from Windows 1 and 2. Nathan Lineback from ToastyTech has converted them to run in modern Windows and made them available for download (direct download: Win1, Win2). The catch is that since these are 16-bit applications, you need a 32-bit OS to run it (64-bit Windows does not run 16-bit applications). No, DOSBox won’t work, but I think Wine will, and Paint works fairly well under Wine.
Now you can go show off to your friends who say that Paint isn’t good for much.