Paint is a program used to draw, color, and edit pictures. You can use Paint like a digital sketchpad to make simple pictures and creative projects or to add text and designs to other pictures, such as those taken with your digital camera.

The parts of Paint

To open Paint, click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click All Programs, click Accessories, and then click Paint.

When you start Paint, you see a window that is mostly blank, with just a few tools for drawing and painting. The following illustration shows the different parts of the Paint window:

Picture of the Paint window
The Paint window

Working with tools

Paint includes a handy collection of drawing tools in the toolbox. You can use these tools to create freehand drawings and add a variety of shapes to your pictures.

This section describes some common tasks. For information on how to use each tool in the Paint toolbox, see Paint tools.

Draw a line

Some tools, like the pencil, brush, line, and curve, let you make a variety of straight, curved, and wiggly lines. What you draw is determined by how you move the mouse as you draw. You can use the line tool to draw a straight line, for example.

  1. In the toolbox, click the Line  tool Picture of the Line tool .
  2. In the Color box, click the color you want to use.

  3. To draw, drag the pointer across the drawing area.

Draw a squiggly line

Your drawings don't have to be composed of just straight lines. You can use the Curve tool to create smooth curves, for example. The Pencil and Brush can be used to make completely random, free-form shapes.

  1. In the toolbox, click the Pencil tool   Picture of the Pencil tool .
  2. In the Color box, click the color you want to use.

  3. To draw, drag the pointer across the drawing area.

Tip

  • If you want to make a wider line, use the Brush instead. The Brush can be customized with a variety of thicknesses.

Draw a shape

Some tools, like the Rectangle and ellipse, let you add shapes to your drawing. The technique is the same regardless of which shape you choose. For example, you can use the Polygon tool to draw a polygon, which is a shape that can have any number of sides.

  1. In the toolbox, click the Polygon tool   Picture of the Polygon tool.
  2. In the Options box, click a fill style:

    Picture of the fill options
    Fill options
    • Outline. Your shape will be just an outline, with a transparent interior.

    • Outline with fill. Your shape will be filled with the current background color. (To set a background color, in the Color box, right-click a color.)

    • Solid. Your shape will be filled with the current background color, but it will not have any outline.

  3. To add a polygon, drag the pointer across the drawing area, and then click to end the first side.

  4. Drag the pointer to create the next side, and then click to end the side. Repeat this as needed for additional sides.

  5. To create the final side and close the polygon, double-click.

Erase part of your picture

If you make a mistake or simply need to change part of a picture, use the eraser. By default, the eraser changes any area you erase to white, but you can change the eraser color. For example, if you set the eraser color to yellow, anything you erase turns to yellow.

  1. In the toolbox, click the Eraser tool Picture of the Eraser tool .
  2. In the Color box, right-click the color that you want to erase with. If you want to erase with white, you don't have to select a color.

  3. Drag the pointer over the area you want to erase.

Changing the effect of the drawing tools

The Options box, located below the toolbox, is where you can change how a tool draws. You can set the thickness of the tool's brush (which affects the weight of what you draw on the screen) and whether the shapes you draw are outlined or solid.

Change the brush stroke of the Brush

  1. In the toolbox, click the Brush tool Picture of the Brush tool.
  2. In the Options box, click the brush shape you want to paint with.

    Picture of brush options
    Picture of brush options
  3. To paint, drag the pointer across the drawing area.

Saving a picture

Save your picture frequently to ensure that you don't accidentally lose your work. To do that, on the File menu, click Save. This saves all of the changes you made to the picture since the last time you saved.

The very first time that you save a new picture, however, you will need to give your picture a file name. Follow these steps:

  1. On the File menu, click Save.

  2. In the Save as type box, select the file format you want.

  3. In the File name box, type a name.

  4. Click Save.