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Microsoft Paint

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(Redirected from Paint (software))

Other namesPaintbrush (1985–1995)
Stable release
11.2401.20.0 / March 15, 2024; 2 months ago (2024-03-15)
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows
PlatformIA-32, x86-64, and ARM (historically Itanium, DEC Alpha, MIPS, and PowerPC)
Included withAll Microsoft Windows versions
TypeRaster graphics editor
Websitemicrosoft.com/windows/paint Edit this on Wikidata

Microsoft Paint (commonly known as MS Paint or Paint for short) is a simple raster graphics editor that has been included with all versions of Microsoft Windows. The program opens, modifies and saves image files in Windows bitmap (BMP), JPEG, GIF, PNG, and single-page TIFF formats. The program can be in color mode or two-color black-and-white, but there is no grayscale mode. For its simplicity and wide availability, it rapidly became one of the most used Windows applications, introducing many to painting on a computer for the first time.

In July 2017, Microsoft added Paint to the list of deprecated features of Windows 10 and announced that it had become a free standalone application in Microsoft Store, with Paint 3D as its replacement. However, as a result of public demand Paint was restored for inclusion with Windows 10, and an updated version was included in Windows 11, with Paint 3D being deprecated.[1]


The first versions of Paint, then called “PC Paintbrush,” were programmed by Dan McCabe and introduced with the Microsoft Mouse DOS drivers from version 4, circa. 1985, running under DOS. It was a licensed version of ZSoft Corporation's PC Paintbrush. PC Paintbrush replaced the previously included Microsoft bitmap color editing application “Doodle,” released in 1983 with the first version of the Microsoft Mouse drivers. With improved functionality over Doodle, it was intended to compete with as a competitor to Macintosh's 1984 MacPaint. A re-worked version was included with the first version of Windows, Windows 1.0, in November 1985. It had 24 tools and can read and write files in the proprietary "MSP" format drawn in monochrome graphics. Aside from "pencil" and "shape" tools and a brush that draws in 24 "brush shapes and patterns", the toolset also contained two features unique for the time: one the ability to draw Bézier curves and the other that forces lines to be drawn on three angles to create an isometric three-quarter perspective.[2] This version was later superseded by Paintbrush in Windows 3.0, with a redesigned user interface, true color support, and support for the BMP and PCX file formats. Microsoft had deprecated the MSP format, and Paintbrush could only read MSP files.[3]

Windows 9x[edit]

Microsoft shipped an updated version of Paint with Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0, which allows saving and loading a custom set of color wells as color palette (.pal) files.[4] This functionality only works correctly if the color depth of images is 16-bits per pixel (bpp) or higher. Later versions of Paint do not support this feature.

In Windows 95–98, Windows 2000 and Windows Me, Paint can open JPEG, GIF and 48-bit (16-bpp) TIF images and save images in JPEG and GIF formats when appropriate graphics filters are installed. Such plug-ins are included with Microsoft Office and Microsoft PhotoDraw. This also allows Paint to use transparent backgrounds.[5][6] Support for PCX files was dropped.[7] Starting with Windows Me, the canvas size expands automatically when larger images are opened or pasted, instead of asking.

Windows XP and Vista[edit]

In Windows XP and later, Paint uses GDI+ and therefore can natively save images as BMP, JPEG, GIF, TIFF and PNG without requiring additional graphics filters.[8]

In Windows Vista, the toolbar icons and default color palette were changed. Paint in Windows Vista can undo a change up to 10 times, compared to 3 in previous versions; it also includes a slider for image magnification and a crop function. This version saves in JPEG format by default.[9]

Windows 7 and 8.x[edit]

Artistic brushes in Paint for Windows 7

The version of Paint in Windows 7 and later features a ribbon in its user interface.[10] It also features "artistic" brushes composed of varying shades of gray and some degree of transparency that give a more realistic result. To add to the realism, the oil and watercolor brushes can only paint for a small distance before the user must re-click (this gives the illusion that the paintbrush has run out of paint). In addition, Paint can now undo up to 50 subsequent changes. It also has anti-aliased shapes, which can be resized freely until they are rasterized when another tool is selected. This version supports viewing (but not saving) transparent PNG and ICO file formats and saves files in the .png file format by default.

Text can now be pasted into text boxes that don't have enough room to display the text. A text box can then be enlarged or reshaped appropriately to fit the text if desired. Previous versions of Paint would display an error message if a user tried to paste more text than there was room for.[citation needed]

The Windows 8 version of Paint mostly corrects a long-standing defect from previous versions involving the inability to scroll the window when editing in Zoom view over 100%. However, when inserting text in Zoom view, the user cannot move the text beyond the zoomed viewport while the text window is in edit mode with either the mouse or keyboard.

Windows 10[edit]

In the April 2017 "Creators Update" for Windows 10, Microsoft released Paint 3D alongside Paint. In addition to the traditional two-dimensional drawing tools, Paint 3D can import and manipulate three-dimensional models.[11][12] Three months later, on July 23, 2017, Microsoft added Paint to the list of deprecated Windows features.[13] The next day, in the wake of "an incredible outpouring of support and nostalgia", Microsoft clarified that Paint would become a free app on Microsoft Store, even though Paint 3D offers the same functionality.[14][15]

Paint, however, remained a part of all versions of Windows 10. The closest Microsoft ever got to enacting said decision was adding a removal notice to Paint's user interface in Windows 10 versions 1803 and 1809.[16]

In March 2021, with the release of Windows 10 Insider build 21332 to the Dev Channel, Microsoft removed Paint 3D from clean installations of the build, in addition to the 3D Objects app.[17]

In April 2021, Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider build 21354, which made Paint (along with Snipping Tool) updatable from the Microsoft Store. It had also been moved from the Windows Accessories folder of the Start menu to its own section.[18][19]

Windows 11[edit]

In August 2021, Microsoft teased an updated version of Paint for Windows 11, featuring a refreshed user interface (UI), improved font picker, and a dark theme.[1]

In 2023, Microsoft released an update that added layers, support for transparent PNG files, AI art generator and announced other AI tools and a background removal tool.[20] The updates are scheduled for late-2023.[needs update][21][22]


Paint has a few functions not mentioned in the help file: a stamp mode, trail mode, regular shapes, and moving pictures.[23] For the stamp mode, the user can select a part of the image, hold the Ctrl key, and move it to another part of the canvas. This, instead of cutting the piece out, creates a copy of it. The process can be repeated as many times as desired, as long as the Ctrl key is held down. The trail mode works exactly the same, but it uses the Shift instead of the Ctrl key.

It is also possible to thicken or thin a line either before or simultaneously while it is being drawn via Ctrl++ (NumPad only) or Ctrl+- (NumPad only).

To crop whitespace or eliminate parts of a graphic, the blue handle in the lower right corner can be dragged to increase canvas size or crop a graphic. Users can also draw perfect shapes (which have a width equal to the height) using any shape tool by holding down the ⇧ Shift while dragging.

Older versions of Paint, such as the one bundled with Windows 3.1, feature a color-replace brush, which replaced a single color underneath the brush with another without affecting the rest of the image. In later versions of Paint, the color erase brush may be simulated by selecting the color to be replaced as the primary color, and the one it is replaced with as the secondary color, and then right-click dragging the erase tool.

Support for indexed palettes[edit]

By default, almost all versions of Paint are generally unable to properly downgrade created images to indexed palettes using fewer than 24 bits per pixel. When saving an image in a format that uses indexed palettes with fewer than 24 bits per pixel, a warning message appears about the loss of quality. Paint does not utilize binary, color or grayscale dithering or palette optimization, and the image will be saved with usually irreversibly scrambled colors.

Paint is nonetheless able to correctly load and save indexed palettes in any of the supported formats if an image is opened as an 8-bit or otherwise indexed palette image. In that case, the image's palette is preserved when saving. However, there is no way to see the actual palette; color choices for brushes, text, and erasers as well as user-defined colors will be limited to the closest available color in the indexed palette.[24]

See also[edit]

Bundled Paint equivalents on other OSes



  1. ^ a b Warren, Tom (August 18, 2021). "Microsoft's new Paint redesign for Windows 11 includes a dark mode". The Verge. Vox Media. Archived from the original on August 19, 2021. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  2. ^ Davison, Patrick (December 16, 2014). "Because of the Pixels: On the History, Form, and Influence of MS Paint". Journal of Visual Culture. 13 (3): 280. doi:10.1177/1470412914544539. S2CID 61640546.
  3. ^ Smith, Ernie (November 15, 2021). "10 Image File Formats That Time Forgot". Vice. Archived from the original on March 10, 2022. Retrieved March 10, 2022.
  4. ^ "Problems Using Saved Colors with 256-Color Bitmap". Support. Microsoft. November 15, 2006. Archived from the original on January 12, 2009. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
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  6. ^ "Transparency in MS Paint". 3D Realms. October 9, 2009. Archived from the original on October 27, 2016. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
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  8. ^ "Error message when you use Paint to open a 48-bit TIFF image file on a Windows XP-based computer". Support. Microsoft. May 23, 2006. Archived from the original on October 23, 2007. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  9. ^ "I have windows Vista. Paint by default used to save as a bitmap file, but now after an update by default it saves as a JPEG file". Community. Microsoft. November 24, 2009. Archived from the original on December 9, 2014. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  10. ^ Rivera, Rafael (September 16, 2008). "Short: Ribbon implemented in Windows "7" Paint". Archived from the original on September 21, 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
  11. ^ Warren, Tom (October 7, 2016). "Microsoft's redesigned Paint app for Windows 10 looks awesome". The Verge. Vox Media. Archived from the original on May 24, 2024. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  12. ^ Hardawar, Devindra (March 29, 2017). "Microsoft's Windows 10 Creators Update lives up to its name". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  13. ^ Gartenberg, Chaim (July 24, 2017). "Microsoft Paint is getting killed off in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update". The Verge. Vox Media. Archived from the original on May 24, 2024. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  14. ^ Saunders, Megan (July 24, 2017). "MS Paint is here to stay". Windows Blog. Microsoft. Archived from the original on August 5, 2017. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  15. ^ Warren, Tom (July 25, 2017). "Microsoft Paint isn't dead yet, will live in the Windows Store for free". The Verge. Vox Media. Archived from the original on July 30, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  16. ^ Warren, Tom (April 23, 2019). "Microsoft Paint to remain part of Windows 10 after all". The Verge. Vox Media.
  17. ^ Woods, Rich (March 10, 2021). "Windows 10 build 21332 removes 3D Viewer and Paint 3D on clean installs". Neowin.
  18. ^ Tung, Liam. "Windows 10: Paint and Snipping Tool now update from the Microsoft Store". ZDNet. Archived from the original on April 11, 2021. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  19. ^ Blog, Windows Insider (April 7, 2021). "Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21354". Windows Insider Blog. Archived from the original on April 11, 2021. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  20. ^ "How to Rremove Background from image in Paint". January 21, 2024. Archived from the original on January 21, 2024. Retrieved January 21, 2024.
  21. ^ Benedetto, Antonio G. Di (September 18, 2023). "Microsoft Paint is finally adding some of Photoshop's best features". The Verge. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  22. ^ Mehdi, Yusuf (September 21, 2023). "Announcing Microsoft Copilot, your everyday AI companion". The Official Microsoft Blog. Archived from the original on September 21, 2023. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  23. ^ "MS Paint Tricks". Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved July 30, 2008.
  24. ^ "Windows 7 Paint: How exactly do I create custom colors AND use them". answers.microsoft.com. Archived from the original on February 10, 2021. Retrieved February 3, 2021.