Paint is a very powerful drawing program that allows you to explore your artistic creativity. With Paint, you can create graphic files that can be used as wallpaper as we discussed earlier. I'm no artist, but I've managed to create some neat stuff with Paint.
Let's explore the Paint window and then see how to produce the image I've got above.
Before we go to the individual menus, notice something about the menu bar itself. Hold down the <Alt> key. See the underlined letters in each of the menu items (File, Edit, View, etc.)? These are meaningful. If you hold down the <Alt> key and press these letters, you will select that menu. Obviously you can select each menu with the mouse, but this gives you an alternative way of getting into them. So, you can get into the File menu by pressing <Alt>F.
Most of what is on the
File menu is the same as what you learn with Notepad and WordPad. This should make it much easier for you to pick up the new stuff here.
Notice the "..." at the end of several selections. This indicates that selecting these items will take you to a dialog box that will allow you to carry out that operation. Notice that some of the items in the
File menu have a key combination on the right (Ctrl+N, etc.). These are hot keys that can be used from within the document without having to go to the
File menu. For example, you can start a new document from within a document by holding down the
New - This will start a new bitmap document. If you are currently working on a graphic file that you haven't saved, the system will prompt you to save the old one before starting a new one.
Open... - This allows you to bring an existing graphic file into Paint to view and/or edit it. You'll see the following dialog box when you make this selection:
Save - If you are making modifications to an existing file, Save will put the changes back into the file after confirming that you really want to make the changes. If the graphic you are working on is a new file, Save works the same as Save As....
Save As... - Save As... brings up a dialog box similar to the Open dialog box above. By default, Paint will save a new file in the My Pictures folder of the My Documents folder. It's easy enough to change folders and save a file anywhere on the system you want though.
Print Preview - Paint offers a neat feature of allowing you to view your graphic as it will look when you print it without actually having to print it. You won't actually be able to see the graphic, but will be able to see the layout. The Print Preview will look something like this:
Page Setup... - The Page Setup... dialog box allows you to customize some of the things you see when you print your bitmap. For example, you can change the size of your paper as well as the margin at the top, bottom and either edge of the paper. The Page Setup... dialog box looks like this:
Print - This is a standard print operation sending the information to the default printer. As is the case with Notepad, Paint allows you to change printers via the following dialog box:
Send... - This brings up a dialog box that allows you to send the file you're working on to someone via your default E-Mail system.
Set As Wallpaper (Tiled) - This function saves you the hassle of saving the graphic and then setting it as the wallpaper on your desktop. This does it all in one operation. In this case, the graphic is tiled meaning that it is repeated to cover the entire desktop.
Set As Wallpaper (Centered) - This function saves you the hassle of saving the graphic and then setting it as the wallpaper on your desktop. This does it all in one operation. In this case, the graphic is centered rather than tiled as is the case in the previous item.
Paint provides quick access to the most recently edited graphics simply by clicking on the name of the file you want or by typing the number corresponding to it.
Exit - This shuts down Paint. If the graphic you've been working on has not been saved, you will be prompted to save it before Paint exits.
The Edit menu contains those functions that allow you to manipulate the information you have on the screen. In this case, there are several items that appear dim in the menu. The reason for this is that these items are not available at the present time. Windows does a pretty good job of communicating with you to tell you what you can and cannot do. Again, take note of the hot keys available with the Edit menu.
Undo - Paint has a rather neat feature called the Undo. In essence, this is your Oops button. If you make a mistake and suddenly say "Oops", you can select the Undo and reverse whatever it was you just did. The Undo item will only work on the three most recent changes you've made to your bitmap.
Repeat - Since the Undo item is your Oops button, the Repeat could probably be referred to as the Double Oops button. Essentially what it does is to reverse what the Undo did. If you made a change and suddenly decided you didn't want that change and pressed the Undo button only to realize that you really did want the change, you can use the Repeat function.
Cut - This item is only available if you have something selected in your graphic. Otherwise you have nothing to Cut. You can select some piece of your graphic by clicking on either of the first two items on the Toolbar and drawing a box around whatever you want to select. Your selection will have a dotted box around it. Now you will be able to Cut this selection. Cut removes the selected area from your document and puts it on the Clipboard. The information is not totally deleted, but is being held in case you want to put it somewhere else.
Copy - Copy is very similar to Cut. The only difference is that with Copy, your selected area is not removed from the graphic. Instead, a copy of your selected area is placed on the Clipboard for you to use later.
Paste - Once you have something on the Clipboard (using either Cut or Copy above), you can move to wherever you would like to put it and Paste it back into your bitmap. In other words, the combination of Cut and Paste allows you to move an area around within your bitmap while the combination of Copy and Paste allows you to duplicate it.
Clear Selection - This function removes whatever you have selected from your graphic. It does not place the selected area on the Clipboard. If you do this by accident, you can use the Undo function to bring it back, but otherwise it is gone.
Select All - If there is something you want to do with your entire graphic at the same time, all you have to do is select the Select All function and your entire graphic will be selected. Now you can either Cut or Copy everything to your Clipboard.
Copy To... - The Copy To... function takes whatever part of your graphic you have selected and makes a copy of it and allows you to store that copy into a file.
Paste From... - The Paste From... function allows you to bring another graphic image file into the graphic on which you are currently working.
Paint provides you with several tools to help you create your graphic. These tools are user controllable through the View menu.
Tool Box - This is a toggle that allows you to display the Tool Bar normally down the left side of Paint. When the command has a check mark next to it, the Tool Bar is on.
Color Box - This is a toggle that allows you to display the Color Bar at the bottom of the Paint window. A check mark appears when the Color Bar is visible.
Status Bar - This is a toggle that allows you to display the Status Bar at the bottom edge of the Paint window. When the command has a check mark next to it, the Status Bar is on.
Zoom - Notice the wedge to the right of the Zoom item. This indicates that there is more to this menu item and that just pausing your mouse on it will show the next level of it. You can control the amount of zoom along with a couple of additional things while you're in zoom mode.
View Bitmap - This will allow you to view your bitmap as a full screen. This is a neat function, but doesn't give you any indication on how to get out of the function and back to Paint. The secret is to click the left mouse button anywhere on the screen and you're immediately back into Paint.
Flip/Rotate... - This function allows you to flip your graphic or a portion of your graphic either horizontally or vertically or rotate your image 90 º, 180 º or 270 º. The dialog box you'll see will look something like this:
Stretch/Skew... - This function allows you to stretch your graphic or a portion of your graphic horizontally or vertically by some percentage. It also allows you to skew you image horizontally or vertically by so many degrees. This dialog box will look like this:
Invert Colors - When you select this function, each color is replaced by its color complement. For example, white becomes black, and red becomes blue.
Attributes... - This function allows you to specify the size and color of your overall image. The size controls the white area of the image screen. This allows you to specify very precise sizes for your images. You cannot use this function for an existing image. When you change the attributes, you will start a new image. The dialog box will look like this:
Clear Image - This function will erase everything in the current image and allow you to start over.
Edit Colors... - This function allows you to create custom colors. For example,
Most programs in Windows have a Help menu that provides information about using that particular program. The Help menu may not answer all your questions about a program, but I would encourage you to explore what is there before you look elsewhere. Most companies marketing software today are providing more Help and less hardcopy documentation.
Help Topics - Paint contains a few more bells and whistles than Notepad, but is still simple to use. The Help Topics is a little longer than in Notepad. It'll take you a little longer to explore all of Help Topics, but I would encourage you to do so anyway. First, you'll know nearly everything there is to know about Paint. Second, you'll become familiar with the format of the Help facility Microsoft uses so you'll know what to expect in other Microsoft products.
About Paint - The function of the About for any program is simply to let you know what version of the program you are running. From time to time, the programmer might include some additional information about your system, but don't expect this.
- This icon allows you to select an irregularly shaped object from your picture in order to cut/copy it somewhere else either within your picture or to another application.
- This icon allows you to select a rectangular section of your picture in order to cut/copy it somewhere else either within your picture or to another application.
- This icon will turn your cursor into a little square. By holding down the left mouse button and dragging the mouse across sections of your picture, you'll reset the image to the background color. You can control the size of the eraser with the selection box that appears at the bottom of the ToolBar.
- As this icon implies, you can use it to dump color into your picture. The color you put into your picture can be selected from the Color Bar normally at the bottom of the window.
- This icon looks like an eyedropper that can be used to pick up a color from one place in your picture and put it somewhere else. Once you have used the eyedropper to pick up a color, you will be automatically switched to the paint icon above to dump this color into another part of your picture.
- This icon allows you to magnify the picture you are working on. You can increase the size of the picture two times, six times or eight times. This can be very useful if you are doing some very fine work and need precise control. This only changes the view of the picture and not the actual size of the picture.
- This icon allows you to draw freehand. Essentially you get a pencil and by holding down the left mouse button, you can draw whatever you want in your picture.
- This icon acts as a paintbrush allowing you to paint the color select on the Color Bar onto your picture in a number of different patterns.
- This icon looks like a paint spray can and works pretty much the same way. As you hold down the left mouse button, you will spray the color selected onto your picture. The longer you hold the mouse button down over the same place, the darker the color becomes.
- This icon allows you to add text to your picture. Once activated, your mouse will turn to crosshairs allowing you to create a rectangular section of your picture where you want to put some text. You should then get a font toolbar that allows you to adjust the font, size, etc of the text you want to use. You can then simply type in the text you want. It's not always that easy to get just the right effect in your picture so you might want to save a copy of your picture in case it doesn't turn out the way you want.
- This icon allows you to draw a straight line in Paint. To choose the width the line will be, click a line width from the bottom of the ToolBar. To choose the color the line will be, click a color. Simply click at the beginning of a line and release at the end of the line. Paint does the rest. Use the left mouse button to draw with the foreground color or the right mouse button to draw with the background color. To draw a perfectly horizontal, vertical, or 45-degree diagonal line, press and hold down the
- This icon is tricky. To choose the width the curve will be, click a line width at the bottom of the ToolBar. To choose the color the curve will be, click a color. First draw a straight line as above. Click where you want one arc of the curve to be, and then drag the mouse pointer to adjust the curve. Each curve must have at least one arc but no more than two. Repeat this step for a second arc. Use the left mouse button to draw with the foreground color or the right mouse button to draw with the background color. To undo a change, click Edit and then click Undo. You can undo up to three changes.
- This icon allows you to draw a rectangle. Click a color from the color box for the shape's outline. To fill the shape with color, click a color by using the right mouse button, and then click a fill style from the bottom of the ToolBar. To draw a rectangle, drag the mouse pointer diagonally in the direction you want. As you do, Paint will draw a rectangle for you. To draw a square, press and hold down the
- This icon allows you to draw a series of connecting line. To create a colored fill, click a color by using the right mouse button, and then click a fill style from the bottom of the tool box. To draw the polygon, drag the mouse pointer and click at each corner. Double-click when you're done. To use only 45- and 90-degree angles, press and hold down the
- This icon allows you to draw an ellipse or circle. Click a color from the color box for the shape's outline. To fill the shape, click a color by using the right mouse button, and then click a fill style from the bottom of the ToolBar. To draw an ellipse, drag the mouse pointer diagonally. To draw a perfect circle, press and hold down the
- This icon works just like the icon above except that the rectangles produced have rounded corners.
- The Color Bar can be used to select both foreground and background color for whatever you are working on. The foreground color can be selected simply by using the left mouse button to select a color. The background color is selected using the right mouse button.
Last Revised: 03/09/2005
The PC Help Desk