Getting Started with Paint.NET

By Andros T. Sturgeon , Shoban Kumar
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About this book

Paint.NET is a free, reliable program that rivals the most expensive photo editing programs currently on the market.Paint.NET supports plugins, which add image adjustments, effects, and support for additional file types. They can be programmed using any .NET programming language, though they are most commonly written in C#.

This book will teach you everything you need to know to edit and manipulate images. Written with very clear walkthroughs, hands-on tutorials,and amazing resources, this book will turn you into a photo wizard with Paint.NET. The book starts with simple tool-based tasks, introduces you to the workpane and then builds up to more complex areas taking a deep dive into the commonly-used features of Paint.NET.

With this book, you will learn how to do everything from making simple adjustments to full artistic rendering with tools not available in any other program. Starting with the very basics of photo editing, you will gain an understanding of the basic principles of manipulating images. From layering to special effects, this book will give you all the knowledge you need to create images that leave a lasting impression.

This book has everything you need to make amazing, artistic photos using completely free software. Filled with fun exercises and valuable information, you will learn how to master every tool and every effect in Paint.NET. Within minutes, you will be able to resize images, make adjustments to brightness and contrast, and apply color correction. By the end of this book, you will be working with layers and effects to create images that rival some of the most advised and expensive pieces of software.

With simple exercises and information, this book will take you from absolute novice to an accomplished photo editor quickly and easily.

Publication date:
December 2013


Chapter 1. Welcome to Paint.NET

Paint.NET is a free, reliable program that rivals the most expensive photo editing programs on the market. Now, let us dive into the basic concepts of this software.

In this chapter will cover a general review of Paint.NET and what you need to do to get it, install it, and prepare it for use.

The topics covered are as follows:

  • System requirements

  • Downloading and installing Paint.NET

Nothing captures the attention more than an interesting image. If you take an amazing picture with any camera, chances are you will have to process it on some level. Whether you add a filter, change the color, or add an effect; a small change can turn an average image into a great one. Paint.NET is a Windows-based image editing program that gives you the ability to manipulate images professionally. It rivals similar software that can cost hundreds of dollars. The best part about Paint.NET is that it is a freeware, meaning it's completely free.


System requirements

The minimum system requirements needed to run Paint.NET are as follows:

  • Windows 7 (recommended) or Windows XP

  • .NET Framework 3.5 SP1

  • A 800 MHz processor

  • 512 MB of RAM

  • More than 200 MB of hard drive space

  • A 64-bit CPU and a 64-bit edition of Windows for 64-bit support (this is optional)

  • A 1024 x 768 screen resolution

At present, there is no Mac version of this product.


Downloading and installing Paint.NET

To download Paint.NET, go to In order for Paint.NET to pay a few bills and keep the servers going, the people who maintain Paint.NET have placed a few ads on the site that sometimes lead to other programs. You will most likely not want to download these programs. If you want to download only the Paint.NET program, make sure you click on the link that looks like the following:

It can be rather confusing, so choose wisely.

Once you hit the correct link, it will take you to one of the Paint.NET mirror download sites. Hit the download link that looks like the following:

A ZIP file should begin downloading onto your computer. Once this is done, open the ZIP file and you will find a file named Paint.NET.3.5.11.Install.exe. Run this file and the installation will begin.

The installer will take you through a series of steps. For simplicity, choose Quick Installation and then hit Next. Read the terms and conditions, and if you agree to them, choose I Agree and hit Next. As the program installs, it will give you an opportunity to donate to the program if you wish. Because Paint.NET is a freeware, it only survives on donations and the time people put into it. So, if you like the program, donating here is one way to help out. When the software has finished installing, click on Finish and Paint.NET will open automatically.

Once the program launches, you will see a screen similar to the following screenshot:

This is the entire Paint.NET work area. If you have used photo editing software like Photoshop, some of what you see in the preceding screenshot may look a bit familiar to you. If you are not used to an image editing program, all of these windows may look a little overwhelming. But don't worry, as in the following chapter, we will go over each of these windows and their functions.



In this chapter, we learned about Paint.NET and went over the minimum requirements of the software and how to install it.

In the next chapter, we will learn about the Paint.NET work area, the various windows associated with it, and how to open an image so you can start working on it.

About the Authors

  • Andros T. Sturgeon

    Andros T. Sturgeon is the founder of Starchild Interactive, a web development and online marketing firm located in Ojai, California. Andros has been helping people with online marketing, videos, and websites for over 20 years. Andros's father was the science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon who wrote for the original Star Trek television series and coined the phrase "Live Long and Prosper." While not working, he likes to spend time with his family.

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  • Shoban Kumar

    Shoban Kumar currently works as a SharePoint consultant. In his free time, he develops open source desktop applications and Windows Phone apps. You can view all of his apps on his site at

    He is an active contributor to the Stack Overflow forums and also runs a SharePoint blog at

    You can follow him on Twitter via @shobankr.

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