Paint is a feature in Windows 7 that you can use to create drawings on a blank drawing area or in existing pictures. Many of the tools you use in Paint are found in the ribbon, which is near the top of the Paint window. The following illustration shows the ribbon and other parts of Paint.

Picture of the Paint window
The Paint window

Drawing lines

  • Open Paint by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Paint.

You can use several different tools to draw in Paint. The tool you use and the options you select determine how the line appears in your drawing. These are the tools you can use to draw lines in Paint.

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Pencil tool

Use the Pencil tool Picture of the Pencil tool to draw thin, free-form lines or curves.
  1. On the Home tab, in the Tools group, click the Pencil tool Picture of the Pencil tool.
  2. In the Colors group, click Color 1, click a color, and then drag the pointer in the picture to draw.

    To draw using the Color 2 (background) color, right-click while you drag the pointer.

Brushes

Use the Brushes tool Picture of the Brushes tool to draw lines that have a different appearance and texture—it's like using different artistic brushes. By using different brushes, you can draw free-form and curving lines that have different effects.
  1. On the Home tab, click the down arrow under Brushes.

  2. Click the artistic brush that you want to use.

  3. Click Size, and then click a line size, which determines the thickness of the brush stroke.

  4. In the Colors group, click Color 1, click a color, and then drag the pointer to paint.

    To paint using the Color 2 (background) color, right-click while you drag the pointer.

Line tool

Use the Line tool Picture of the Line tool to draw a straight line. When using this tool, you can choose the thickness of the line, as well as the appearance of it.
  1. On the Home tab, in the Shapes group, click the Line tool Picture of the Line tool.
  2. Click Size, and then click a line size, which determines the thickness of the line.

  3. In the Colors group, click Color 1, click a color, and then drag the pointer to draw the line.

    To draw a line that uses the Color 2 (background) color, right-click while you drag the pointer.

  4. (Optional) To change the line style, in the Shapes group, click Outline, and then click a line style.

Tip

  • To draw a horizontal line, press and hold the Shift key as you draw from one side to the other.

  • To draw a vertical line, press and hold the Shift key and draw up or down.

Curve tool

Use the Curve tool Picture of the Curve tool to draw a smooth, curved line.
  1. On the Home tab, in the Shapes group, click the Curve tool Picture of the Curve tool.
  2. Click Size, and then click a line size, which determine the thickness of the line.

  3. In the Colors group, click Color 1, click a color, and then drag the pointer to draw the line.

    To draw a line that uses the Color 2 (background) color, right-click while you drag the pointer.

  4. After you have created the line, click the area in the picture where you want the arc of the curve to be, and then drag the pointer to adjust the curve.

Drawing different shapes

You can use Paint to add different shapes in a picture. The ready-made shapes range from traditional shapes—rectangles, ellipses, triangles, and arrows—to fun and unusual shapes, such as a heart, lightning bolt, or callouts (to name a few). If you want to make your own custom shape, you can use to the Polygon tool Picture of the Polygon tool to do this.
Picture of the Shapes gallery
Shapes in Paint
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Ready-made shapes

You can use Paint to draw different types of ready-made shapes. Here's a list of them:

  • Line

  • Curve

  • Oval

  • Rectangle and Rounded rectangle

  • Triangle and Right triangle

  • Diamond

  • Pentagon

  • Hexagon

  • Arrows (Right arrow, Left arrow, Up arrow, Down arrow)

  • Stars (Four-point star, Five-point star, Six-point star)

  • Callouts (Rounded rectangular callout, Oval callout, Cloud callout)

  • Heart

  • Lightning bolt

  1. On the Home tab, in the Shapes group, click a ready-made shape.

  2. To draw the shape, drag the pointer.

    To draw a shape with equal sides, press and hold the Shift key as you drag the mouse. For example, to draw a square, click the Rectangle Picture of the Rectangle, and then press and hold the Shift key and drag the mouse.
  3. With the shape still selected, you can do one or more of the following to change its appearance:

    • To change the line style, in the Shapes group, click Outline, and then click a line style.

      If you don't want your shape to have an outline, click Outline, and then click No outline.

    • To change the outline size, click Size, and then click a line size (thickness).

    • In the Colors group, click Color 1, and then click a color for the outline.

    • In the Colors group, click Color 2, and then click a color to fill the shape.

    • To change the fill style, in the Shapes group, click Fill, and then click a fill style.

      If you don't want your shape to be filled, click Fill, and then click No fill.

Polygon tool

Use the Polygon tool Picture of the Polygon tool to make a custom shape with any number of sides.
  1. On the Home tab, in the Shapes group, click the Polygon tool Picture of the Polygon tool .
  2. To draw a polygon, drag the pointer to draw a straight line. Then, click each point where you want additional sides to appear.

    To create sides with 45- or 90-degree angles, press and hold the Shift key as you create each sides.

  3. Connect the last line to the first line to finish drawing the polygon and to close the shape.

  4. With the shape still selected, you can do one or more of the following if you want to change the appearance of it:

    • To change the line style, in the Shapes group, click Outline, and then click a line style.

      If you don't want your shape to have an outline, click Outline, and then click No outline.

    • To change the outline size, click Size, and then click a line size (thickness).

    • In the Colors group, click Color 1, and then click a color for the outline.

    • In the Colors group, click Color 2, and then click a color to fill the shape.

    • To change the fill style, in the Shapes group, click Fill, and then click a fill style.

      If you don't want your shape to be filled, click Fill, and then click No fill.

Adding text

In Paint, you can also add your own text or message in your picture.

Text tool

Use the Text tool Picture of the Text tool to enter text in the picture.
  1. On the Home tab, in the Tools group, click the Text tool Picture of the Text tool .
  2. Drag the pointer in the drawing area where you want to add text.

  3. Under Text Tools, on the Text tab, in the Font group, click the font face, size, and style.

    Picture of the Font group
    The Font group
  4. In the Colors group, click Color 1, and then click a color for the text.

  5. Type the text that you want to add.

  6. (Optional) If you want the background of the text area to be filled, in the Background group, click Opaque. In the Colors group, click Color 2, and then click a background color for the text area.

  7. (Optional) If you want to change the appearance of some of the text in the text box, select the text you want to change, and then choose a new font face, size, style, or color for the selected text.

Selecting and editing objects

In Paint, you might want to make a change to part of a picture or an object. To do this, you need to select the part of the picture that you want to change, and then make the edit. Some changes you can make include the following: resizing an object, moving or copying an object, rotating it, or cropping the picture to only show the selected item.

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Select tool

Use the Select tool Picture of the Select tool to select part of the picture that you want to change.
  1. On the Home tab, in the Image group, click the down arrow under Select.

  2. Do one of the following, depending on what you want to select.

    • To select any square or rectangular part of the picture, click Rectangular selection, and then drag the pointer to select the part of the picture you want to work with.

    • To select any irregularly shaped part of the picture, click Free-form selection, and then drag the pointer to select the part of the picture you want to work with.

    • To select the whole picture, click Select all.

    • To select everything in the picture except for the currently selected area, click Invert selection.

    • To delete the selected object, click Delete.

  3. Determine if the Color 2 (background) color is included in your selection by doing the following:

    • To include the background color with your selection, clear Transparent selection. When you paste the selection, the background color is included and will appear in the pasted item.

    • To make the selection transparent so no background color is in the selection, click Transparent selection. When you paste the selection, any areas using the current background color will be transparent, which will allow the rest of the picture to appear in its place.

Crop

Use CropPicture of the Crop tool to crop a picture so only the part you selected appears in your picture. Cropping lets you change the picture so only the selected object or person is visible.
  1. On the Home tab, in the Image group, click the arrow under Select, and then click the kind of selection you want to make.

  2. Drag the pointer to select the part of the picture you want to show.

  3. In the Image group, click Crop.

  4. To save the cropped picture as a new file, click the Paint button Picture of the Paint button, point to Save as, and then click the file type for the current picture.
  5. In the File name box, type a new file name, and then click Save.

    Saving the cropped image as a new picture file prevents overwriting the original picture file.

Rotate

Use Rotate Picture of Rotate to rotate the whole picture or a selected part of it.
  • Depending on what you want to rotate, do one of the following:

    • To rotate the whole picture, on the Home tab, in the Image group, click Rotate, and then click the rotation direction.

    • To rotate an object or part of a picture, on the Home tab, in the Image group, click Select. Drag the pointer to select the area or object, click Rotate, and then click the rotation direction.

Erasing part of a picture

Use the Eraser tool Picture of the Eraser tool to erase areas of your picture.
  1. On the Home tab, in the Tools group, click the Eraser Picture of the Eraser tool.
  2. Click Size, click an eraser size, and then drag the eraser over the area of the picture that you want to erase. Any areas that you erase will reveal the background color (Color 2).

Resizing a picture or part of it

Use ResizePicture of the Resize button to resize the whole image or to resize an object or part of a picture. You can also skew an object in the picture so that it appears slanted.
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Resize the whole picture

  1. On the Home tab, in the Image group, click Resize.

  2. In the Resize and Skew dialog box, select the Maintain aspect ratio check box so that the resized picture will have the same aspect ratio as the original.

  3. In the Resize area, click Pixels, and then enter a new width in the Horizontal box or new height in the Vertical box. Click OK.

    If the Maintain aspect ratio check box is selected, you only need to enter the horizontal value (width) or vertical value (height). The other box in the Resize area is updated automatically.

    For example, if a picture is 320 x 240 pixels and you want to make it half that size with the same aspect ratio, in the Resize area, with the Maintain aspect ratio check box selected, enter 160 in the Horizontal box. The new picture size will be half the original size at 160 x 120 pixels.

Resize part of the picture

  1. On the Home tab, click Select, and then drag the pointer to select the area or object.

  2. On the Home tab, in the Image group, click Resize.

  3. In the Resize and Skew dialog box, select the Maintain aspect ratio check box so that the resized part will have the same aspect ratio as the original.

  4. In the Resize area, click Pixels, and then enter a new width in the Horizontal box or new height in the Vertical box. Click OK.

    If the Maintain aspect ratio check box is selected, you only need to enter the horizontal value (width) or vertical value (height). The other box in the Resize area is updated automatically.

    For example, if the part you selected is 320 x 240 pixels and you want to make it half that size with the same aspect ratio, in the Resize area, with the Maintain aspect ratio check box selected, enter 160 in the Horizontal box. The part will be half the original size at 160 x 120 pixels.

Change the drawing area size

  • Do one of the following, depending on how you want to resize the drawing area:

    • To resize the drawing area and make it larger, drag one of the small white boxes on the edge of the drawing area to the desired size.

    • To resize the drawing area by entering a specific size, click the Paint button Picture of the Paint button, and then click Properties. In the Width and Height boxes, enter the new width and height, and then click OK.

Skew an object

  1. On the Home tab, click Select, and then drag the pointer to select the area or object.

  2. Click Resize.

  3. In the Resize and Skew dialog box, type the amount to skew the selected area (in degrees) in the Horizontal and Vertical boxes in the Skew (Degrees) area, and then click OK.

Moving and copying objects

After you select an object, you can cut or copy the selected item. This lets you use one object many times in your picture if you want, or move an object (when it's selected) to a new part of your picture.

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Cut and paste

Use Cut Picture of the Cut button to cut a selected object and paste it in another part of your picture. When you cut a selected area, the area that is cut is replaced with the background color. Therefore, if your picture has a solid background color, you might want to change the Color 2 color to match the background color before cutting the object.
  1. On the Home tab, in the Image group, click Select, and then drag the pointer to select the area or object you want to cut.

  2. In the Clipboard group, click Cut.

  3. In the Clipboard group, click Paste.

  4. With the object still selected, move it to a new place in your picture where you want it to appear.

Copy and paste

Use Copy Picture of the Copy button to copy a selected object in Paint. This is useful if you have lines, shapes, or text that you want to appear multiple times in your picture.
  1. On the Home tab, in the Image group, click Select, and then drag the pointer to select the area or object you want to copy.

  2. In the Clipboard group, click Copy.

  3. In the Clipboard group, click Paste.

  4. With the object still selected, move it to a new place in your picture where you want the copy to appear.

Paste a picture into Paint

Use Paste from to paste an existing picture file into Paint. After you paste the picture file, you can edit it without changing the original (as long as you save the edited picture with a different file name than the original).

  1. In the Clipboard group, click the arrow under Paste, and then click Paste from.

  2. Find the picture file that you want to paste into Paint, click it, and then click Open.

Working with color

There are a number of tools to help you work specifically with color in Paint. They let you use the colors you want when you're drawing and editing in Paint.

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Color boxes

The Color boxes indicate the current Color 1 (foreground color) and Color 2 (background color) colors. How they're used depends on what you're doing in Paint.

Picture of the Color boxes
The Color boxes
  • When using the color boxes, you can do one or more of the following:

    • To change the selected foreground color, on the Home tab, in the Colors group, click Color 1, and then click a color square.

    • To change the selected background color, on the Home tab, in the Colors group, click Color 2, and then click a color square.

    • To paint with the selected foreground color, drag the pointer.

    • To paint with the selected background color, right-click while you drag the pointer.

Color picker

Use the Color picker tool Picture of the Color picker tool to set the current foreground or background color. By picking a color from the picture, you can make sure that you're using the color you want when drawing in Paint, so your colors match.
  1. On the Home tab, in the Tools group, click Color picker Picture of the Color picker tool.
  2. Click the color in your picture that you want to set as the foreground color, or right-click the color in your picture that you want to set as the background color.

Fill with color

Use the Fill with color tool Picture of the Fill with color tool to fill the entire picture or an enclosed shape with color.
  1. On the Home tab, in the Tools group, click Fill with color Picture of the Fill with color tool.
  2. In the Colors group, click Color 1, click a color, and then click inside the area to fill it.

  3. To remove the color and replace it with the background color instead, click Color 2, click a color, and then right-click the area to fill it.

Editing colors

Use Edit colors Picture of the Edit colors to pick a new color. Mixing colors in Paint lets you choose the exact color that you want to use.
  1. On the Home tab, in the Colors group, click Edit colors.

  2. In the Edit Colors dialog box, click a color in the color pallette, and then click OK.

    The color will appear in one of the color boxes, so you can use that color in Paint.

Viewing your picture

Changing the view in Paint lets you choose how you want to work with the picture. You can zoom in on a certain part of the picture or the whole picture if you want. Conversely, you can zoom out if the picture is too large. In addition, you can show rulers and gridlines as you work in Paint, which can help you work better in Paint.

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Magnifier

Use the Magnifier tool Picture of the Magnifier tool to zoom in on a part of your picture.
  1. On the Home tab, in the Tools group, click the Magnifier Picture of the Magnifier tool, move the magnifier, and then click to zoom in on the part of the image shown in the square.

    Drag the horizontal and vertical scroll bars on the bottom and right side of the window to move around the picture.

  2. To reduce the zoom level, right-click the Magnifier again.

Zoom in and out

Use Zoom in and Zoom out to see a larger or smaller view of your image. For example, you might be editing a small part of it and need to zoom in to see it. Or the opposite might be true; your picture might be too large to fit on the screen, so you need to zoom out to view all of it.

In Paint, there are few different ways to zoom in or out, depending on what you want to do.

  1. To increase the zoom level, on the View tab, in the Zoom group, click Zoom in.

  2. To reduce the zoom level, on the View tab, in the Zoom group, click Zoom out.

  3. To view the picture in the Paint window at its actual size, on the View tab, in the Zoom group, click 100%.

Tip

  • To zoom in and out on a picture, you can also click the Zoom in Picture of the Zoom in button or Zoom out Picture of the Zoom out button buttons on the Zoom slider at the bottom of the Paint window to increase or decrease the zoom level.
    Picture of the Zoom slider
    The Zoom slider

Rulers

Use the Rulers to view a horizontal ruler at the top of the drawing area and a vertical ruler on the left side of the drawing area. The rulers let you view the dimensions of your picture, which can be helpful when resizing pictures.

  1. To show rulers, on the View tab, in the Show or hide group, select the Rulers check box.

  2. To hide rulers, clear the Rulers check box.

Gridlines

Use the Gridlines to align shapes and lines when you're drawing in Paint. Gridlines are useful because they can help provide a visual reference for the sizes of objects as you draw, and they can help you align objects.

  1. To show gridlines, on the View tab, in the Show or hide group, select the Gridlines check box.

  2. To hide gridlines, clear the Gridlines check box.

Full screen

Use Full screen Picture of the Full screen button to view your picture full screen.
  1. To view the picture on the entire screen, on the View tab, in the Display group, click Full screen.

  2. To exit full screen and go back to the Paint window, click the picture.

Saving and using your picture

When editing in Paint, you should save your work frequently so you don't accidentally lose it. After you save your picture, you can use it on your computer or share it with others in e‑mail.

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Save a picture for the first time

When you save a new picture for the first time, you'll need to give it a file name.

  1. Click the Paint button Picture of the Paint button, and then click Save.
  2. In the Save as type box, select the file format you want.

  3. In the File name box, type a name, and then click Save.

Open a picture

Instead of starting with a new picture, you might want to open an existing picture and edit in Paint.

  1. Click the Paint button Picture of the Paint button, and then click Open.
  2. Find the picture you want to open in Paint, click it, and then click Open.

Set your picture as your desktop background

You can also set the picture, so it's used as the desktop background on your computer.

  1. Click the Paint button Picture of the Paint button, and then click Save.
  2. Click the Paint button Picture of the Paint button, point to Set as desktop background, and then click one of the desktop background settings.

Send your picture by e‑mail

If you have an e‑mail program installed and configured on your computer, you can attach your picture to an e‑mail message, and then share it with others through e‑mail.

  1. Click the Paint button Picture of the Paint button, and then click Save.
  2. Click the Paint button Picture of the Paint button, and then click Send in e‑mail.
  3. In the e‑mail message, enter the person's e‑mail address, type a short message, and then send the e‑mail message that has the picture attached.