[Windows] Paint.NET is a free, feature-filled image editor

When it comes down to cutting, cropping, or editing one of your favorite images, the default Windows Paint software isn’t enough to get these basic tasks done. This is where Paint.NET comes in, a software that saves you from installing large programs like GIMP or buying Photoshop.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

Paint.NET is all about making it easy for users to edit their photos with basic and advance tools that are mainly found in expensive or overly complicated photo editing programs. Above everything, ease of use is the main reason you will use this. Experience disappointment, you will not.


  • Easy to use
  • Basic to advance special effects
  • Lots of powerful tools
  • Unlimited history


  • Slows down with heavy use
  • Unable to open PSD files
  • Does not support RAW images
  • Forces the user to install plugins for GIMP and Photoshop like functionality.
  • Requires .NET Framework


If you are out searching for a high quality free photo editing tool to use to bring your amateur graphic design skills to life, you may want to give Paint.NET a run. The software is not intended to tickle the fancy of those who are highly skilled in graphic designing but rather the average persons, and it does the job pretty well. One of the thing that would have you returning to Paint.NET is the simplistic user interface. Many users fear advance photo editing programs because they get totally lost in the UI, but not so with Paint.NET.

Paint.NET supports common image file formats such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, GIF, and many more. However, the program does not support high definition RAW and PSD images files, which is a real shame. Not everyone uses RAW images, but for the folks that do, they will find a problem with it being missing from the feature set. PSD, obviously, is very commonly used.

It is clear the developers thought of everything when it came down to installation. The program manages to install the latest version of Microsoft .Net Framework if needed, along with the latest version of Windows Installer. This is quite handy, as it doesn’t force the user to seek out these needed prerequisites that are vital for the program to work.

Users can extend the features of Paint.NET with its robust plugin system. While the reasoning for the plugins is obviously to keep the core software less bloated, it gives the user extra work to seek and find relevant plugins to download. It can be hassle, one that could have been avoided.

Conclusion and download link

There’s no denying it — Paint.NET is great to use, but the inability to open PSD files allows the program to fall short of true greatness. If you are an amateur, at graphic designing, this will be right up your street. However, if you are advanced, it is best you spend the money and purchase Photoshop.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 3.5.10

Supported OS: Windows  XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8

Download size: 3.56MB

Paint.NET homepage

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  • yvesmpicard

    [@Previous Member]

    Very Well put ..Don
    The posts , from Mukhi , all “stink” (ALL) of arrogance , why do we have to tolerate that //!!!
    Go back to your “cave” …Muhki / Janet …and return the PC , that I believe you have STOLEN >>>!!!!!!

  • willyneu

    I already have ver. 3.3 installed. I downloaded ver. 3.5 but get an error message saying I do not have authorization to install the program.
    I am using a desktop with WinXP Pro SP 3.0

  • mukhi

    @Previous Member: wow, so you wrote so many lines just because i requested a short guideline? and, you still did not provide an iota of info? eat the crow dude, nobody else seems to be more offensive and arrogant than you are.

    please come to the point, lemme show you what GIMP can do for transparency:


    1. open the image.
    2. select the area you want to make transparent by using the appropriate selection tool from the Toolbox window or Tools > Selection Tools > Fuzzy Select (or By Color Select). click in the region you want selected. use Shift+Click to add more regions/colors. it’s easier if you zoom in (View > Zoom) to see finer details.
    3. select Layer > Transparency > Add Alpha Channel. if this is blanked out then it’s already done. this makes sure your image can store transparency data.
    4. select Edit > Clear. this makes the selection transparent.
    5. save the file.
    if you save it as a PNG file, select ‘Save color values from transparent pixels’ in ‘Save as PNG’ dialog box.
    when saving your image as a GIF, it will prompt you to export it; you can select either Indexed or Greyscale; however, on the next screen (Save as GIF), check ‘Interlace’ option.

    it is easier to shout on someone rather than to give a helping hand. :)

    thanks Janet.

  • Janet

    @Previous Member:

    I have always found all the regulars here at dottech to be very helpful and respectful–including this thread…:-)….Sometimes things get misread on a post—especially when English is not the person’s native language….I believe Mukhi was simply asking how easy/difficult it is to do transparency and animation in this app, letting us know that he is interested in comparing it to his present app (Gimp), which he tells us requires 5 steps. If it’s longer in Paint.net, then he will know there is no point in his downloading. Seems a perfectly reasonable question–just the sort of thing that dottechians help each other with…:-)….

    Also, sometimes people mistakenly think the “@xxx” is the poster because it is so pronounced, while the poster’s identity is so small. I thought that might be what happened here because I can’t find anything offensive in what Mukhi wrote…:-)…

  • Previous Member

    @mukhi: Why such rudeness that you’ve shown to more than one? You seem to think you are better or smarter than others. Here’s a little wake up call… there will always be someone better and smarter than you, many in fact.

    Just as easy as others can copy/paste you can search google yourself and find the answers to your own questions.

    You do know how to use search, right? Or do you need a step by step for that too?

    Sad that this site has declined so much. This used to be one of the sites I would visit daily, however due to such things like your attitude – and many others’ – I rarely visit any longer. Quite frankly found very quickly not to participate within the community here due to such things like you show. I’ve also seen and noticed the same attitude given to visitors on the forums on numerous occasions. Running people off seems to be a past time game here. Many many people have been run off from here and made to feel unwelcome.

  • mukhi

    @DonFG: again, if transparency/animation is that simple with paint.net, why don’t you please write down here? you can copy/paste, right?

  • DonFG


    Yes it does transparency and animation and RAW. Google those terms and there are hundreds of examples. Yes it might require a plugin for your specific use, doesn’t mean the program cannot do what you want though.

    Remember not every program is a do all wonder. The Author is only reviewing a specific product, not a comparison.

  • mukhi

    @Vana: if it does transparency, would you please mind to tell us steps to do it? for GIMP, it is 5 steps only.
    the same goes for basic animation. can you please share how-to-do animation in paint.net?

  • Ashraf

    @Vana: I don’t know about RAW images but I know it doesn’t work with PSD unless you download a specific plugin.

  • Vana

    It does work with PSD files and RAW files. I’ve used it many many times to work within PSD files.

    It does transparency and GIFs. Animation is possible using either an included plugin or one you can download. The animation extent I’m unsure of but I do know you CAN make animated GIF files with it.

    It uses layers, has transparency, Blending, Effects, Adjustments, Custom Brushes, Tools, etc…which I will point out that it also has a line/curve tool that Photoshop Elements doesn’t even have nor is it possible to download anything to make it possible. So yes… It is VERY much comparable to GIMP and other advanced paint programs. It may not be Photoshop…but neither is GIMP. It is however a powerful program when fully utilized.

    I’d also like to point out that even with Photoshop and GIMP… users need to download further Filters, Plugins, Actions, Styles, Brushes, etc. many times. So to say it isn’t comparable to at least GIMP is not correct.

    Both of those (GIMP and Photoshop) also become slow at times due to the amount of resources needed when the program is used.

  • mukhi

    does it do transparency or animated GIFs? if not, FAIL compared to GIMP.