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Paint Windows 7 icon

Paint (formerly Paintbrush for Windows) is a simple computer graphics program that has been included with all versions of Microsoft Windows. It is often referred to as MS Paint or Microsoft Paint. The program mainly opens and saves files as Windows bitmap (24-bit, 256 color, 16 color, and monochrome, all with the .bmp extension), JPEG, GIF (without animation or transparency, although the Windows 98 version, a Windows 95 upgrade, and the Windows NT4 version did support the latter), PNG (without alpha channel), and single-page TIFF. The program can be in color mode or two-color black-and-white, but there is no grayscale mode. For its simplicity, it rapidly became one of the most used applications in the early versions of Windows—introducing many to painting on a computer for the first time—and is still widely used for very simple image manipulation tasks.

History Edit

Microsoft Paint screenshot

Paint on Windows 8

Initial versions Edit

The first version of Paint was introduced with the first version of Windows, Windows 1.0, in November 1985. It was a licensed version of ZSoft Corporation's PC Paintbrush, and supported only 1-bit monochrome graphics under a proprietary "MSP" format. This version was later superseded by Paintbrush in Windows 3.0, with a redesigned user interface, color support and support for the BMP and PCX file formats.

Windows 9x, NT and 2000 Edit

Microsoft shipped an updated version of Paint with Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0, which allowed saving and loading a custom set of color wells as color palette files (*.pal) using Save colors and Get colors functions from the Colors menu.This functionality worked correctly only if the color depth of images was 16-bits per pixel (bpp) or higher (65,536 (64k) colors [High Color]) and was removed from later versions.

The Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Windows Me versions of Paint can save images in JPEG, GIF and PNG formats if the necessary Microsoft graphics filters are installed, usually by another Microsoft application such as Microsoft Office or Microsoft PhotoDraw. This also allows Paint to use transparent backgrounds. Support for .pcx files was dropped starting with Windows 98.

From Windows ME onwards (excluding Windows 2000), the canvas size expands automatically when larger images are opened or pasted, instead of asking.

Windows XP Edit

In Windows XP and later versions, Paint (mspaint.exe) uses GDI+ and therefore can natively save images as JPEG, GIF, TIFF and PNG (in addition to BMP) without requiring additional graphics filters. However, alpha channel transparency is still not supported because the GDI+ version of Paint can only process images with a bit depth of 24 or lower. Support for acquiring images from a scanner or a digital camera was also added to Paint.

Windows Vista Edit

Paint Vista

Paint on Windows Vista

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.

Windows 7 and later Edit

The version of Paint in Windows 7 and Windows 8 makes use of the Ribbon GUI. 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 paint brush has run out of paint). The Paint application 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. There is now an option to make any shape bigger or smaller after drawing it. 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.

The Windows 8 version of Paint mostly corrects a long-standing defect from previous versions involving an 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 (scrollbars are disabled).

See also Edit