Component of Microsoft Windows
Paint 2020 alt.svg
Paint in Windows 11
TypeDrawing program
Included inWindows 1.0 and later

Paint (or Paintbrush in Windows 3.x and Windows NT 3.x) is a simple bitmap graphics editor included with Microsoft Windows.

History[edit | edit source]

Paint was introduced in Windows 1.0 Alpha Release as PAINT.EXE, although it is absent from the currently available Alpha Release disk set for unknown reasons. At the time, it only supported monochrome graphics in a custom MSP format. In Windows 2.x, the MSP format was changed, and while the new version of Paint supported both formats, images in the new format had to be converted to the old one using the new CVTPAINT.EXE conversion tool if they were to be used in Windows 1.0 applications.

For Windows 3.0, Microsoft decided to license ZSoft's PC Paintbrush product, which supported true color graphics as opposed to the existing Paint tool, as a base for its Paintbrush (PBRUSH.EXE). This version introduced support for the BMP and PCX format. With the release of Windows NT 3.1, Paintbrush was also ported to Win32.

The application, now renamed to Paint (MSPAINT.EXE) received a major redesign with Windows 95 in order to fit in the aesthetic of the new user interface. It further received minor usability updates in later versions of Windows, such as the ability to select a third color by holding Ctrl and selecting a color being introduced in Windows 98.

Windows XP included an improved version of Paint using the then-new GDI+ interface, which allowed it to support a wider range of formats. It also added the option to acquire images from a digital camera or a scanner. Windows Vista later refined it with a new zoom slider, default palette and icon set.

Paint got a major overhaul in Windows 7, with a new Ribbon user interface being introduced. New, more realistic tools were added, as well as more preset shapes. A new zoom lever with finer zoom levels was introduced, as well as the ability to display rulers or a grid. The application itself has been relatively unchanged for several years since then, although it has received a new icon along with its move to the Store.

Deprecation[edit | edit source]

Microsoft has vowed to remove Paint from Windows on several occasions. In Windows 10 Creators Update build 14971.1000, Paint was hidden in the base Windows install in order to try to encourage users to use the new Paint 3D application. Paint shortcuts were removed from the Start menu, and logic to bootstrap the new app based on a registry value was added to mspaint.exe. The classic Paint was still usable by downloading it from the Store, or by using mspaint.exe with certain workarounds.

This change was soon reverted in build 14997, however, a year later, starting with Windows 10 April 2018 Update build 17063, a Product Alert button was added to Paint, which displayed a message about the application being soon replaced by Paint 3D and informed users that it would still be available from the Store. The button and message box were present for two feature updates until getting removed in Windows 10 May 2019 Update build 18334, with Microsoft confirming that Paint would be included with Windows 10 "for now".[1]

Starting with build 21354, Paint was migrated to the Store, which allows it to be updated independently from the rest of the operating system. The app itself remains a part of a clean Windows copy and a fully functional executable is included in the base install, although it checks for the presence of the Store version on start and merely launches it if it's present, similarly to Notepad.[2]

Windows 11[edit | edit source]

The company has teased a visual refresh for Paint multiple times since the Windows 11 introduction event.[3] The new version of the app, which was first released for users in the Dev Channel on 28 September 2021, features a new XAML-based user interface for the main window as well as slight changes to the controls. The Ribbon tabs have been replaced by menus and a toolbar, with the contents of the Home tab directly underneath the menu bar. The initial release of the redesigned Paint app only supports light mode and still uses some old dialogs dating back to Windows 95, although Microsoft plans to focus on adding dark mode and centered canvas support, as well as updating the remaining parts of the app.[4]

On 1 June 2023, Microsoft started to release a Dark Mode redesign of Paint to Insiders.

On September 2023, Microsoft released an update to insiders which removed the paste button in the corner and made the canvas be shown in the middle instead of the left corner of the app.

On October 2023, Microsoft added layers and transparency support to Paint.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]