Four Ways Photographers Can Use Microsoft Paint

Microsoft Paint tutorial: Four Ways Photographers Can Use MS Paint

I've met two kinds of photographers in my travels. There's the Frugal Photographer who eagerly tries all the cheap and free photo tools. These folks scour the Web for freebies like Windows Live Photo Gallery and Google's Picasa. They use programs like Paint.NET as a free alternative to commercial programs like Adobe Photoshop. And they like hearing about one-trick photo tools that do interesting things—for free.

Then there's the Snobby Photographer. These folks won't consider using a program that doesn't have a three-digit price tag. Sure, the can justify that decision by claiming that cheap software doesn't have the highest quality JPEG rendering algorithm or it's missing some high-end color management feature. But let's be honest: We don't always need the Space Shuttle; sometimes a hot air balloon is more than enough to get the job done. It's in that spirit that I wanted to remind you about a perfectly cromulent photo tool that comes in every edition of Windows: Microsoft Paint.

Take Microsoft Paint to a New Level

Just about everyone has fiddled with Paint, if for no other reason than it comes for free with Windows and it gives you something to do when you're learning your way around the operating system. Some people, though, have taken Paint to a whole new level. Check out this stunning picture on Deviantart.com, for example: Believe it or not, it was created entirely from scratch in Paint.

You can find Paint in the Accessories folder in the Start menu; in Windows 7, just type Paint in the Start menu's search box. Let's take a quick look at four tools in Paint that let you make make quick edits to your photos. I'll use the Windows 7 version of Paint, which has gotten a massive facelift thanks to the ribbon. Crop a Photo

Four_Ways_Photographers_Can_Use_Microsoft_Paint

Perhaps the single most common task in all of digital photography is cropping—and you can do it easily right from Paint. Just click the Select button, make sure Rectangular Selection is turned on, and then draw a box on the photo. When you've selected the region you want to crop, click the Crop button. That's it. (There are no crop size presets, though, so you can't crop a photo to a 4-by-6 or 8-by-10 aspect ratio.)

Resize a Photo

206108-paint-resize_original

Need to make a photo smaller? I do it all the time—for e-mail, for publishing images on the Web, and for including in documents. It's a snap to do this in Paint. Click the Resize button and enter the new size you want. You've got some options: You can size the photo to a specific number of pixels or just specify what percentage you want to resize by. And while you'll generally want to keep the aspect ratio of the photo intact, you can clear the check box for "Maintain aspect ratio" and distort the photo by setting different values for Horizontal and Vertical.

Rotate a Photo

Of course, Paint lets you spin the photo around as well—something you might need to do if someone sends you a photo lying on its side, or your camera doesn't automatically rotate photos when they're copied to the PC. Just click the Rotate button and choose the direction and amount of the rotation.

Increase the Size of the Canvas

206108-paint-properties_original

You already know how to make the photo bigger or smaller, but what if you want to add some white space around the photo—in other words, make the canvas bigger without enlarging the photo itself? To do that, click the menu button to the left of the Home tab and then click Properties. At the bottom of the Image Properties dialog box, you'll see the current size of the photo in pixels. Need a border? Enter larger numbers in the Width and Height fields and click OK. Paint will add those extra pixels added as a plain white background to the right and below the photo. Want to center the photo in the new canvas? Select it (using the Select button and the Rectangular Selection tool) and drag the photo to a central location on the canvas.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dave Johnson

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?