Posted by: Junahu | April 25, 2011

So, it’s come to this… HOW TO USE PAINT

6_6 Sometimes, I lose faith in humanity. The number of people who still don’t know how to operate the world’s simplest graphic editing software is appalling. So, here, have a tutorial;

Tip#1 If your MSPaint screen looks like it was DRAWN in MSPaint, then you have a problem

So, first things first, open Paint. Unless you’re using Microsoft7, your MSPaint will look something like this. You’ve got a toolbox on the left, and a colourbin at the bottom. The white area is your canvas, which is the drawable area of your picture. Speaking of which..


You can resize the canvas by clicking and dragging any of the blue squares. The canvas will also resize automatically, if you paste in anything that’s bigger than the canvas. You can also use the Image Properties dialog to more accurately denote the canvas size(it’s somewhere in the toolbar menus, go look for it)

The Color Box shows which two colors you currently have assigned to the right and left mouse buttons. Basically, when you left click on the canvas while using most tools, you use the top color, and when you right click, it’s the bottom color that is used instead. The bottom color is occasionally referred to as the “Background Color” because its default setting is white, which is the same as the canvas’ default color. The bottom color is actually useful for a number of things, so you usually want to keep it white.

Right next to the Color Box, is the Color Bin; a set of 28 colors. Clicking on one sets your top color on the Color Box, to that color. If you right click instead, you can set the bottom color to something other than white. If none of these preset colors are to your liking, double click one to open the Custom Color dialog box. With this, you can choose slightly less offensive colors to paint with.

Look for this tool on the toolbar, it’s very useful. When using the eyedrop tool, you can set the top and bottom colors of your Color Box, by left/right clicking on a color you like, on the canvas. One very notable use of this, is if your image has a background color that ISN’T white. Just grab the eyedrop tool, right click on that background, and there! Now your bottom color is the same as the background.

Super helpful tip right there, because NO sprite sheet EVER, has a white background.

Pencil and Brush are the main two tools for actually drawing on your canvas. Left click/drag to draw with the top color, Right click/drag to draw with the bottom color. The Pencil tool draws very thin lines, only one pixel thick, while the brush tool’s thickness/shape can be modified, using the additional options that appear below the other tools.

If you need to fill in big chunks of canvas with a single color, use the Bucket tool. Think of it like you’re dumping a whole pot of paint on your canvas. The color is going to run everywhere it can, only stopping when it reaches a color other than the one it was dumped onto. Again, you use the top color with left click, and bottom color with right click

The Eraser, despite sounding so simple, can be actually kind of complicated.  If you left click/drag, it “erases” the area the eraser touches. In reality, it just replaces everything the eraser touches with the bottom color from your Color Box. So if your bottom color is purple, using the eraser will just feel like you’re using a purple brush. Left clicking with the eraser, basically has the same effect as right clicking with the brush.

Right click/drag with the eraser tool achieves something completely different. It replaces anything touching the eraser that is the same color as the top color from your Color Box, with the bottom color, while leaving everything else alone. This allows you to replace one color in an image, with another, without having to manually take the pencil tool to every last pixel.

The Box Select tool is the one I see most people fumbling on, but it’s not all too hard, assuming you’ve kept up with the tutorial so far. Left click and drag over the area you want selected. Then left click and drag to move the selected area. You’ll notice as you move the area, that the spot you leave behind is filled with the bottom color from your Color Box. If you hold CTRL down when you click and drag the area, the spot you leave behind will still have the original image on it, so you’ll be dragging around a copy.

Now, here’s probably the most important tip in using Paint;

These two icons appear underneath the other tools, whenever you use either a select tool, or the font tool. The top one is the default, but the bottom option tends to be the more useful. It’s called Transparant select, and what it does is assume that any part of the selected area that is the same color as the bottom color from your Color Box, does not exist at all. So, when you move the selected area over something else, anything on the selected area that is the same as your bottom color, will be invisible, allowing you to see the image underneath. It sounds complicated, but it really, truly isn’t. Just play around with the option, next time you open Paint.

One last tip before we stop; When saving, save your image as a PNG file. The default is BMP, which uses too much space. And Paint uses a limited palette when saving images as GIF files. But, if your image is a photograph, or any other sufficiently detailed image, save it as a JPG file.

Aaaand, that’s more or less it. There are other tools of course, but once you grasp how Paint works, they aren’t hard to figure out



  1. Really? 6_6

  2. lulz 9_9

  3. Or use Photoshop and knock it out in half the time with half the effort (Y)


  5. Replace “half” with “double”, and you’d be right… not that this article was all too serious to begin with.

    … maybe I played this a bit too straight.

  6. MS paint is for fags

  7. I never did know about the Transparent Select option. Then again, I use GIMP.

  8. People use Paint?

  9. I use a Mac (HIPPO)

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