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Microsoft Paint to be killed off after 32 years (theguardian.com)
399 points by barking 12 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 383 comments

All the comments that "you can just use X to do Y" is missing the point that Paint just works, for almost every value of Y. No argument, Paint.net is great, snipping tool solves the grab and crop, but for most anything else you need to do in a hurry, you need a quick paint program. It's like removing Notepad: we all know hundreds of editors we would replace it with, from Notepad++ to vim/emacs... but isn't nice that when you aren't on your box, you know the core set of tools that are always there? (In other news, Fedora announces dropping grep, lc, and ls from the distro, in favor of python: "most users are devs, let them write their own tools" they stated in a press release).

Paint3D takes longer to load, and has made the simple... much less simple. While we can all say "Yes, that's the way of tech", it's just not necessary.

And yes, I still miss my 1/8" jack on my iphone. Every single day. And stay off my lawn, you whippersnappers.

Absolutely. Paint is by a long shot, Microsoft's best product. It's easy to build since it's codebase is pretty small and they haven't changed it much since it was introduced. So it's rock solid. IDK why they're fixing what ain't broke.

Worse; Paint is part of a lot of troubleshooting 'screenshot' processes; precisely because it IS easy to use and is /already included/.

Quickly taking a look at the most used products where I work...

MS Office Installer https://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?sClass=version&iI...

MS Word (I stopped here) https://appdb.winehq.org/objectManager.php?sClass=version&iI...

Darn, it would be nice if MS was forced to break up in to different product divisions so that their Office product would be released on various platforms.

Except... it is released on various platforms. That 'Linux desktop' isn't part of it doesn't mean that Office isn't on pretty much every other relevant platform (Windows desktop, macOS, Android, iOS, web, ...).

They clearly nailed it, this video from the dev team shows how the understood their users and stuck to the requirements instead of the typical MS feature creep product


You know that's a parody right?

"Opens in a matter of...minutes!"

There's so many little details like the pretentious double barreled names and the fact that every scene has a either a mac mouse or keyboard in it (o;

I still sometimes miss the old Paint with dither-pattern floodfills. The current Paint still supports lower bit depth bitmaps but not dithering.

I have feeling that dithered fills have nothing to do with Paint itself but were feature of GDI, even one pixel wide lines and such things were dithered when drawn with dithered color.

It probably got removed in Windows 2000, when GDI gained alpha channel support, as the dithering mode was specified in upper byte of 32b COLORREF, which probably got at least internally repurposed as alpha (also, alphablending dithered surfaces is not exactly sane thing to do).

I remember dithered fills being in Paintbrush itself, using Windows 3.1. My memory is you had 16 colors to work with, and to get more than that it supported dithered colors. You could have, say, a red/yellow checkerboard. The UI let you treat these like other colors: you could save them, and draw with them. When you did that, each pixel in your BMP would be set to of the 16 allowed, but the overall impression would be of more than 16 colors.

To see this, go to https://classicreload.com/windows-31.html and then open Accessories > Paintbrush.

I've actually used Windows 3.1.

In Paintbrush you had palette of 20-ish colors, which were or were not dithered depending on whether they were displayable by your graphics adapter. (The default palette consisted of 16 default EGA/VGA colors and few dithered ones, with particularly notable burgundy-ish color that almost didn't look dithered). In the control panel you could set arbitrary 24b RGB colors for user interface elements which were dithered in exactly the same way.

Interesting thing related to this is that Windows 3.1 had significantly different default color scheme depending on what graphics driver you selected during installation. The really default color scheme was similar to OS/2 2.x (pastel colors, active window title with black text on light blue background, different background color for MDI master and slave windows) and significantly different one was used for graphics drivers with 16 or less colors (ie. the one that everybody remembers, with white text on dark blue or black background for active window title bar). Obviously the reason for this was to eliminate dithering in default color scheme.

On the other hand, this was not applied consistently. Windows 3.1 post installation tutorial essentially introduced the pastel yellow (also used in the default color scheme for MDI window background) as the "help popup color", even thought this color was dithered on VGA. Another inconsistency was that Windows 3.1 shipped with CTRL3D.DLL and some (2 or so) applications that used it. (Until Windows 10's consistent Metro-ish style I regarded CTRL3D as the most consistent UI that Windows ever had, because most applications consistently used this same UI style. The Windows 95 HIG mandated style is also nice, but it was never used consistently used by anyone, not even Microsoft itself).

"I've actually used Windows 3.1"

God I feel old. Please tell me I'm not the only one who uses dosshell, or hacked gorilla.bas

I learned programming in Qbasic. My parent's computer had some "menu" launcher, which let you choose between Win 3.1 and DOS. Most games (Doom / Lemmings / Commander Keen) were DOS based. So yeah, do I need to feel old now?

Agreed! Paint was the only Microsoft product that I actually loved.

They did the same thing with the calculator, turning what is probably the simplest app on the entire computer into a Metro-ified flat-design-meme store-dependent mess for absolutely no benefit.

I went to open my calculator this morning and it told me it was in the middle of an update and to try again later. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes later it still wasn't done. I ended up using Google to calculate some basic math! How does Microsoft screw up such a simple application?

I've opened up the calculator a couple of times and gotten a prompt to rate/review it on the Windows Store... What is the purpose of doing that with built-in apps? It's just annoying.

Any app that prompts m for a review is an automatic one star.

Welcome to windows. They have finally started bringing out great laptops, but I can just never go back to Windows.

But now the UI is made with XML. XML is cool. The execs read that in a magazine.

A Metro-ified flat-design-meme store-dependent mess which takes a noticeable delay to load.

I've taken to firing up an instance of IDLE instead - which is actually a little nicer in the end

You need to give ipython a go.

I have one deployed on Digital Ocean (http://blog.mclemon.io/fedora-jupyter-on-a-linux-remote-usin...) but it's just not as convenient or quick as a local python repl for quick calcs and sums.

Cool post! But I run ipython / jupyter console locally for such use cases. It's nicer than plain python IMHO. Tab completion, coloring etc.

The new calculator is more useful to me than what came before. It does conversions too, which I use heavily. I like it.

The calc from Windows 7 also did conversions while being really quick to load and have tons of keyboard shortcuts.

I read that as conversations and thought Microsoft invented some bizarre calculator based messaging app hybrid.

Doesn't Windows include both the old calculator and the new calculator? I'm on Windows 8 and I have both.

10 yanks away calc.exe and replaces it with the metro version. You have to grab an old copy if you want the original back.

cmd.exe and calc.exe from ReactOS can be used since ReactOS aims to be fully binary compatible. They look a bit bad though.

Or this is a good opportunity to use tools not built into the OS or write own replacements. It's a bit silly to have calc program dictated by the OS version.

I wonder if you could get into legal trouble if you start to re-distribute calc.exe from older Windows version, as a free download. Probably yes, but it would look so ridiculous if MS lawyers would go after a random person doing that.

The thing is that your Windows 8/7/Vista/XP versions of calc don't even run on Windows 10. The only thing you can run is the Calculator Plus that was released for XP. Of course Microsoft did remove the download for that one.

>>I'm on Windows 8

Genuinely curious, why?

Not him, but I would have stayed on 8.1 too if it weren't for processor support. The only annoying thing about it is the start menu, which i only use for maybe 10sec/month. It's faster than win7 and has a bunch of features I would miss, and compared to 10 it's not as bloated with non-win32 apps with less functionality for everything, tracking that you can turn off, and all the other win10 stuff you've heard already.

I am also on Win8 (some of the time) and those are the reasons.

What is the processor support issue?

Kaby lake and zen are only supported on win10.

I forgot to update to 10 during the free period and I don't feel like paying $100 since windows 8 still works fine.

It really I've was already using Launchy instead of Cortana. So, when I saw what a mess Calculator had become in 10, Launcy ended up replacing that too for simple calculations.

It's sad, because by themselves programs like Paint and Calculator are simple. But, when done well, they come together to improve the quality of life while using Windows.

Some time ago someone recommended SpeedCrunch to me for calculator stuff and I use it all the time now. It's a little bit less intuitive since it takes a syntax instead of presenting buttons, but it does a ton more.

The programming mode is invaluable to me. I do a lot of embedded stuff and it is an absolute godsend.

If any knows any other good simple programs for bitwise operations and binary conversion then I'm all ears.

I sometimes use a python REPL instead of a calculator. Python has `bin()` for binary representations. Plus imaginary numbers are built in. For more complicated stuff I reach for Wolfram alpha.


You don't have a Kensington Keyhub? Calculator built-in, awesome for laptops and desktops.

> IDK why they're fixing what ain't broke

No telemetry.

It will come back as a windows store app.

Like the sad joke that is "minesweeper".

What's minesweeper like now? I'm still on Windows 8.

> And yes, I still miss my 1/8" jack on my iphone. Every single day.

Agree. I bought an iPhone 7 and now I never listen to music or podcasts with it, a very unexpected side effect of not having a headphone jack.

I'm curious about this - why do you no longer listen to music or podcasts? The phone comes with headphones that plug directly into the lightning port, and an 1/8" adapter so you can still use your old headphones.

Personally I just keep the adapter permanently attached to my 1/8" headphones. Only downside for me is the inability to charge at the same time, but then the iPhone 7's battery life is pretty great, so that's not a huge deal.

Probably because this person like many has multiple headphones. I have nicer "cans" I use at work. I have the crappy included ones that I use in the gym or when commuting. Noise cancelling buds for travel. And that's not even counting the times I might want to use the aux cord in my car. Having to carry around an adapter is dumb. I have a 6s and will not be upgrading to any phone without a headphone jack

The aux cord in the car was actually a major concern for me too when I was considering upgrading to the 7. And then I found this $15 bluetooth FM transmitter: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KJJP1TG/

The sound quality is fantastic and it's easily way more convenient than using an aux cable: No cord, and it has play/pause and track skip buttons on it!

Also has a microphone for Siri/phone calls though I've never used it to speak to its quality.

There are a bunch of similar ones on Amazon with slightly varying features.

I do understand it would be frustrating to swap the dongle around if you have multiple headphones though. Worth noting that the "crappy included ones" that come with the phone are already lightning though so they don't need an adapter.

"just" by a dongle for each set of headphones you regularly use. For me, that means one dongle, but if I had 'work headphones' I would instantly buy a second dongle so I would never have to worry about this.

Obviously that is objectionable on a $$$ apple tax $$$ level, but pragmatically it's not much of an issue.

I do still miss the mini RCA jack, however, because on occasion I do forget my headphones & adapter and can't use any other normal headphones. (And I hate charging headphones and wearing batteries on my ears)

Do you remember to carry your dongle with you everywhere you go?

Do you carry a spare dongle in your pocket?

Like I said, I just leave my dongle attached to my headphones all the time. I forget the dongle even exists.

My dongle is my business, pal

Why would you buy a phone without an earphone jack? Knock on wood that's something I'd never agree to do :-)

I completely forgot it was 'missing' one until I had the phone for a week or two.

Thankfully all my listening is in the car, over the speaker, via Sonos, via AirPlay or Spotify Connect, or on my Bose QC35 or Jaybirds X3 bluetooth headphones.

It was a mistake. I sometimes think about "upgrading" (downgrading) to a two year old iPhone 6s to get a headphone jack again but it is not available in 256gb.

I'd never get a phone that doesn't have a micro SD card reader.

Something like https://www.fuzecases.com any good?

I bought an SE rather than a 7 last year because of The headphone jack size issue.

Yeah, it's a frequent pain in my behind. I always lose the stupid little dongle things.

I just used Paint3D for the first time last night and was astounded by how terrible it is.

Confirming to scale an image by manually entering a % value requires you to click outside of the value field BUT inside the scale dialog. That's right - there's no Apply or Confirm button, you just have to figure out to click there. Pressing Return or Enter doesn't do it either.

On the second open, there was a "rate this app in the app store if you like it" popup.

Microsoft's ineptitude at UX is mind-boggling.

"And yes, I still miss my 1/8" jack on my iphone. Every single day. And stay off my lawn, you whippersnappers."

Interestingly, my teenage sons use the phrase "pass the aux", meaning let me drive the music we are currently listening to over the party speakers with my phone.

So yes, Apple's attempt to kill the aux jack was definitely premature, even among young tech savvy people.

> So yes, Apple's attempt to kill the aux jack was definitely premature, even among young tech savvy people.

Not sure what you mean by this, it is the best selling iphone.

It would be nearly impossible for Apple to make an iPhone that doesn't sell well. The point is that people still use aux cables.

> And yes, I still miss my 1/8" jack on my iphone. Every single day.

I'm very curious -- anything thoughts on what will be your next phone? Iphone again, or branching out to new 1/8" jack pastures?

your tone suggests one's preferences should be dictated by a corporation's interests; it's perfectly reasonable that the 1/8" jack solves problems for the user that the lightning jack does not solve. Even if they don't even include a 1/8" jack on future products, it could still have been preferable from the individual point of view.

Either you replied to the wrong person or you are majorly projecting your own displeasure. They just asked if the other person was planning on sticking with the iPhone in the future or moving to something that still includes the headphone jack. There was no negative tone to be inferred from that post.

Yes Yes Yes.

If Microsoft is listening 'PLEASE, do not remove Paint. I use it every day for doing very simple tasks, and it JUST WORKS!'

Upvote this one: https://aka.ms/c6od8k

(Yes, that's a terrible feedback/issue, but it's the closest one I've found).

"And yes, I still miss my 1/8" jack on my iphone. Every single day. And stay off my lawn, you whippersnappers."

In my case so that I can use, with appropriate adapters in some cases, reasonably nice over-ear headphones (Beyerdynamic, Grado and Seinheiser). Do I really need several stages of modulation, propogation, reception and demodulation between me and my signal?

Exactly this. It's nice that lightning theoretically gives you more throughput but it's completely pointless if the signal has to get transformed a half dozen times between device and ear.

And all the nicer phones aren't going to lightning cables either because the Pro Audio community (the people primarily buying $3-400 non Beats headphones) would revolt.

I dunno. Decent cans don't generally drive well from phones anyway - so you're stuck with an external amp. Many amps have integrated DACs... why not just feed digital audio to the amp/dac via lightning?

Yes, has anyone looked at the quality of the DAC in the 'dongle'?

Some tests are referenced in this article:


I still use Paint to crop screen shots when I need to send them to people. Quick and gets it done, on any Windows computer.

I still haven't found anything similar on Mac. It's the biggest thing I miss after making the switch. Preview is close, but still not the same. And Gimp, the usual recommendation, is far, far far far too heavyweight to be a valid comparison to Paint.

You can take a look at Pinta[0] I don't recall if it's a clone or a port of Paint.Net, but works for me as a quick tool... the OS integration (open with) needs some work though. It uses Mono as a portable runtime and is decent enough, again for most work. IMHO easier to use than Gimp, though not as feature rich.


You don't need it on a mac. You can take a screenshot of a part of the screen only, and it saves it to an image on your desktop, you can send to anyone.

Anything similar to Paint in general, not just this specific use case. Paint covers a lot of uses that Preview doesn't.

I'm liking Paintbrush: https://paintbrush.sourceforge.io/

You should try Greenshot (free). It also lets you annotate your screenshots in a fashion similar to Skitch.

Checkout ShareX, I was a long time Greenshot user (and it even integrates the nice annotation stuff from Greenshot) but I switched because it has an even nicer UI and a host of additional features while remaining simple to use (still free though.)

But ShareX does not have an image editor, like Greenshot. Which is the whole reason we are discussing alternatives to paint. Or am I wrong and someone implemented one?

It definitely has Greenshot's image editor baked right in.

You can use Window's built-in Snipping Tool to do that more quickly than with paint (still love paint though)

I use microsofts snip ( it's part of office, no idea why they don't make it part of windows )


It's replaced most of my need for ms-paint

Yep, and in the Win10 Creator's update you can even do WIN+SHIFT+S for an ultra quick snip directly to the clipboard.

"Snipping Tool" has been available and built in since Windows 7. Give that a try.

I have used it, and it's ok, but snip feels like the evolution of it.

I don't understand the love for Paint. It's terrible at almost every single thing it does. Cropping is complicated. Resizing is complicated. Text and drawing result in a blocky mess. It's just unfortunate Paint 3D is a slug.


Huh. I thought it was open source.

EDIT: Wikipedia says it used to be open source, but it went to closed source. Still free as in beer, though.

Anyone wondering as to why Paint.NET transitioned to closed source may find this insightful:


Despite what happened to his software, which is clearly unfortunate, it's a shame to see it turn closed source. I would have thought that projects would be hopefully moving toward more free licenses.

What license was it under? If it was something like BSD than it sounds like what people were doing with the program was legal.

MIT, and no. Even the BSD and MIT licenses don't allow you to remove the copyright notice.

I apologize, unfortunately it's too late to delete or modify my comment.

It was put on a list of free/open software that we can't use at work awhile back, apparently for another reason. I should have checked first.

Wait what...Fedora dropped "ls" and "grep"? Why?

Exactly. He was using a hyperbolic situation to point it out.

Ah...missed it, but knew that couldn't be right.

> Paint just works

That's an exaggeration. It's very limited. There are much more capable free image editors:

* Photo Pos Pro

* Krita

* GIMP or CinePaint

There are also many simple Paint-like options:

* Pinta

* Pixelitor

* PaintStar

* PhotoScape

In this case, "more capable" is an anti-feature. Paint "just works" because it's so damn simple and easy. And with the added benefit that it comes pre-installed, so you don't need to comparison shop between four other tools to see if you like them or not.

GIMP is the only one I'm familiar with, and it doesn't "just work". There is a definite and steep learning curve, including why you can't 'just save an image' like you save any other document.

Woh, why would a distribution drop something as common as grep? Saying you can build it yourself sounds crazy when it always exists and cross-platform...

Twas satire

Maybe they want the core experience to not require ancient command line tools? You don't see many Windows users complaining about the lack of grep.

I don't see many Windows users hanging out in the CLI for extended periods of time, either. Even though OP wasn't serious about fedora nixing grep, surely you see the lack of equivalence in that argument.

When Windows users want to hang out in the CLI they virtualise Linux or use cmder[0].

[0] http://cmder.net/

I would argue that they used cygwin, and now they have the option of using WSL- which I have been using for the last two months, and thus far has met my CLI needs.

Windows subsystem for Linux is what I spend most of my time in now.

Pity that they don't open source it. I've gone through multiple image editors on Linux, and none of them have the simplicity of Paint. The layout and functionality is incredibly intuitive. You drop someone into Paint, and even if they've never seen it before, they can start doing stuff within a minute or so. You drop the same person into GIMP, and five minutes later they're still trying to figure out how the hell to select a paintbrush.

I understand that every image editor is trying to compete with Photoshop, but sometimes I don't need Photoshop. I just need to paste my clipboard so that I can crop, circle something, or annotate with some text and a crudely drawn arrow. There really is nothing else comparable that can do that as quickly or as easily as Paint.

Reposting/editing my deeper comment. But if you want to specifically do screenshots, try Greenshot:

http://getgreenshot.org/ https://github.com/greenshot/greenshot/

It's open-source. The built-in image editor is optimized for the things that you need to do with screenshots - it is comparable, but almost in the wrong direction: Things are easier and quicker with Greenshot than Paint! Here's a quick guide I threw together:


Yes, it runs on Windows, but so does Paint. They have a Mac version (never tried it, apparently it was a near-complete rewrite), but not a Linux version: http://getgreenshot.org/faq/will-there-ever-be-a-greenshot-v...

I'd like to also chime in on how great Greenshot is. I started using Greenshot after Skitch got EOL'ed, and while it's not perfect, I find it indispensable for sharing screenshots with coworkers.

I think a few people (some non-KDE users) have an aversion to KDE/Qt tools and avoid them where possible. Certainly it was enough of a pain for me to get consistent look-and-feel across all my applications that I gave up and decided not to use Qt if I could avoid it.

I don't get it. On windows each app has a completely different look and feel and guidelines and people are fine with it.

But on Linux we have 2 and people are complaining.

Btw, GTK+ apps look very close to Qt apps on KDE as KDE's Breeze engine has a GTK+ version.

Additionally, an open source windows paint (that parent comment asked for) will not look consistent go GTK+ apps as well.

well people do complain, but i think the point is that windows has one UI framework (win32/user32) and (most) everyone uses that. It provides all of the primitives and norms that people expect

Do you actually use windows? That's not my experience at all. The difference between even just the stuff windows ships with is staggering. Just compare control panel to settings app, they look like they belong to different OS's, and you have to use both to access all configuration.

IME real users don't care about the app being aesthetically different, but they do care if the common idioms have changed(e.g. position of OK/Cancel). That shouldn't depend on your toolkit, though.

There are like 50 different toolkits...

I exagerate, but: win32 GDI, windows.forms, MFCs, ATL and that is just from microsoft off the top of my head. There are way more when you start looking at all the solutions that a typical user might actually have running on their machine.

MFC, ATL, and the .NET stuff with the exception of XAML all use win32 controls under the hood. XAML still uses user32 albeit not the control toolkit. Because everything shares the same common core things work together better than on Linux.

> MFC, ATL, and the .NET stuff with the exception of XAML all use win32 controls under the hood.

Oh, I wish that were true. I have twice been a test automation engineer and stopped exactly that not being true for all widgets. Some are, but many of them, including some styles of buttons are not. A simple heuristic to tell is that when a UI widget does something the win32 can't, its probably not a win32 widget.

Even using UI inspection tools like Spy++ panels with .Net buttons that aren't backed by win32 buttons just show don't show up as an item is the tree of UI elements. There are also applications that just do silly things like use GDI, DirectX or OpenGL to draw a thing that looks like a button and isn't controlable of adjustable via external calls at all.

I have found kde tools have much more functionality. Gtk based tools generally do a free things and do them well.

> I think a few people (some non-KDE users) have an aversion to KDE/Qt tools and avoid them where possible.

Why would you have an aversion to Kolourpaint but not to a Linux port of MS Paint? That does not make sense in the context of this thread - unless your comment was a non-sequitur.

Edit: After rereading, I have realized the root of the thread can be interpreted in other ways than what I got - I felt AdmiralAsshat's main thrust was they'd have wanted a Linux port of MS Paint.

Thanks, I'll give it a look.

I'm a little hesitant about grabbing a KDE app on my Cinnamon desktop, as it will inevitably result in pulling down like 50 KDE libraries. But we'll see.

perhaps use

    apt-get kolourpaint --no-install-recommends
or similar?

Warning: I have not tried this, but it might cut down the KDE library count (e.g. just why does Krita need a phonon back end dependency?)

An identical open source Paint re-implementation is available on ReactOS, the free open Windows re-implementation: http://www.ReactOS.org

You can download it from the package manager, and use it on Windows or Wine too. (Maybe WineHQ ships it as well)

How stable is ReactOS, and does it have a fairly good set of features for a desktop OS? Had read about it earlier, never tried it out.

ReactOS may have its issues, but the (Ms)Paint implementation in ReactOS that frik is talking about is pretty stable. And open-source: https://svn.reactos.org/svn/reactos/trunk/reactos/base/appli...

Good to know ...

For those who remember the Amiga's Deluxe Paint, there's this one:


I was about to suggest XPaint as being equally simple, but it might be more complex than I thought:

> Recent versions have support for advanced image manipulations (image zooming and resizing, filters, color modifications, separation of RGB channels), scripting, layers, edition of alpha channel and of transparent images, vector formats import, truetype fonts and anti-aliasing, geometric transformations of such fonts, etc. …

> The scripting capabilities include programmable filters, batch processing, creation of 2D and 3D images, etc. XPaint also recently acquired a built-in editor which can be used to produce posters containing text and images.


XPaint used to be decent, but at some point it got really buggy. You have to save after every operation in case it crashes. Someone ought to go to town on it with valgrind or whatever.

> I just need to paste my clipboard so that I can crop, circle something, or annotate with some text and a crudely drawn arrow. There really is nothing else comparable that can do that as quickly or as easily as Paint.

I use Greenshot for this use case. It's faster than Paint at everything you mentioned, better at screenshots, has some nice tools like highlight and obfuscate, and one-click export/upload for a bunch of services (eg to Imgur).

> I've gone through multiple image editors on Linux, and none of them have the simplicity of Paint

Have you tried mypaint?

I loved MyPaint on the Nokia N900, with the pressure sensitive screen and the built in stylus

Yeah, ugly as hell.

These basic image highlighting features are so useful that Apple made them available in the Mail app (https://support.apple.com/en-us/ht204093).

If you've gone through so many image editors on Linux, why would you choose GIMP to compare it to? That's the prime example of an image editor that aims to be like Photoshop. Just about any other image editor on Linux is easier to use.

Pinta is pretty close to paint on linux but yeah, "it's not paint"

You may also try Krita - I think it's pretty well done.

What you're saying you use mspaint for i use greenshot and it is much better, while still being tiny and lightweight.

Pinta has always been my simple go to image editor on linux. Similar to Paint.NET

I just wanted to add that Pinta 1.6 (which is the current stable version in the official Arch repos, for example) has awfully slow rectangle/selection tools on larger images. In my case, selecting something in a 2000x2000 image would freeze the whole program for a couple of seconds. Same with resizing or dragging a selection. It was pretty much useless.

But 1.7 fixes this issue. It's a development version and not considered "stable" yet (though I haven't experienced any issues so far).

There is a tool called windows ink that lets you do pretty much that

It doesn't though, it takes a screengrab of your current window and let's you annotate, but only if it's a win32 app or UWP not the win8 apps. I just ran into this issue last night (to be fair snipping also doesn't work).

MS hasn't said they're going to remove it:

[“Deprecated” Apps] ...are not in active development and might be removed in future releases [1]

Its clearly not being actively developed, but there's no indication its going anywhere just yet.

[1] https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4034825/features-th...

Perhaps similar to Notepad, which has been more or less feature-complete since Windows 2000 or so. I guess it is also internally "deprecated", but will continue to be shipped for quite a while. Microsoft doesn't tend to break such things. In Paint's case, I'd guess the most that will happen is that it will vanish from the Start menu, but the executable will still be there.

Notepad needs support for unix style line endings to be able to function as a basic text editor. As it stands I always install notepad++.

Notepad++ is pretty good, I've used it, both for programming and general text editing.

See my comment about Metapad in this thread:


It supports both Unix and DOS/Windows line endings (LF and CR+LF). Also a few other options.

"Find" in Notepad does not wrap around to the start of the document, and has no option to do so, so in order to search the whole document you have to put the cursor at the start. That's bone-headed behavior and should've been fixed a decade ago.

Hmmm... I had no idea. I think I've run into that bug many times without knowing. I would still rather they don't touch it than start adding features, because we know the first thing they'd add is the ribbon which has no business being on a text editor with 4 options.

Hahaha! That was funny. True Indeed that's the first thing they want to add.

"in order to search the whole document you have to put the cursor at the start" Yep, but we all know to do this. Better to keep it with this quirk, than remove this indispensable software. Notepad and Paint are so simple and work fine, long may they remain.

Also no drag-and-drop

Feature, not a bug, imho. I don't know about other folks, but I've used drag-and-drop accidentally and had to undo it many many more times than I've used it deliberately.

if we're going to pick on a standard UI thing that it fails at, I'd say multiple undo.

Actually I think Notepad got updated recently: https://www.reddit.com/r/Windows10/comments/6lpj7j/weve_rele...

> This update should not require you to have to reboot unless you happen to have Notepad.exe open. This update only revs the version of the OS and includes a updated binary version of Notepad.exe and nothing else.

Will Paint live as long as edlin?

In other words, mature. So let's mark it for removal.

This is a click-bait title. They are adding a new Paint product called Paint3D. Which is probably there to accompany the Surface products which they are trying to sell as designer and drawing products. Either way this headline is very misleading.

Then why would they make a public announcement about it? Not like it's seen frequent updates at any point in its lifetime.

I’m surprised no one has mentioned Hal Lasko (The Pixel Painter). Hal started using Microsoft Paint when he got a computer on his 85th birthday until his death at 99 in 2014. He made some great looking art bit by bit.

https://vimeo.com/70748579 - The Pixel Painter


Ooo I'm so happy that you mentioned this! I own two Hal Lasko's :) That story is amazing. It really shows the value that tech can add to anyone's life.

This is silliness. I Win+R, mspaint at least 10 times a day. I paste in screenshots and quickly cut out just a portion of them. Or leave the screenshot there for later review. Why don't they just remove the file browser? Or how about mouse support?

On Windows 10 try: WIN+SHIFT+S to get instant screen clipping and paste it to e.g. Twitter or whatever.

This is the OneNote screen clipping tool. If you don't have Office, Win+Shift+S doesn't do anything.

This is a super useful tool, but most often I paste into mspaint and mark up from there.

Since the creators update this is a system wide shortcut afaik. So it should work without OneNote.

Doesn't do anything for me. Running the creator's update without OneNote or Office installed.

It is just Win + S

This works without Office, I just tried it.

Win + Print screen saves a screenshot to Pictures/screenshots.

Printscreen copies the screen to the clipboard, and is then pasteable. (I just tried the Twitter example and it worked.)

Select a window and Alt + Print Screen captures just that window.

It's not capturing the screen that people are going to miss. It's making changes to those that people are going to miss. Paint just works, and is really quick.

That does nothing for me. I'm running Windows 10 Pro.

Why is this downvoted? On my Windows 10, Win+Shift+S does nothing whatsoever, either. Updater says Windows is up-to-date, too.

Works fine on mine too, no office installed.

I believe this is a One Note shortcut. If you don't have One Note, this likely won't work.

But if you do have One Note, this is much easier than using Paint.

That is amazing, thank you.

You could also use Win+W if you want to draw on it

That's a OneNote shortcut. Not everyone uses OneNote, though, and thus not everyone can use that. It's not a part of Windows 10.

Like I mentioned above. This has been added with the creators update since build 15002 and is now built in. See here for reference: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/01/09/annou...

And it only took them what? 30 years?

They had an issue with abusing monopoly power, once upon a time. It's only recently that people stopped coming at them with torches and pitchforks every time they added a feature found in third-party apps.

The cynic would say their Windows 10 behavior is a continuing abuse - including the unwarranted setting of Edge and other Microsoft apps as defaults (overriding the user's settings) after an update, the forced upgrades, and so on.

Except now they have a "but it's about keeping the users safe" pretext, so they don't catch as much hate for it.

> Except now they have a "but it's about keeping the users safe" pretext, so they don't catch as much hate for it.

They're not catching much flack for it, because they're no longer feared as they were in the late 1990s, due to the devaluation of the desktop PC. It's no longer regarded as the center of the tech universe, nor is it regarded as the future economic gateway through which everything will flow (as was commonly believed 20 years ago). Back then, Microsoft stood practically alone as the gorilla of the technology industry, today that's not even remotely the case.

They could have implemented something like that since they first saw shift-command-4 in action and they'd have a couple years before the first investigations.

Works fine on Windows 10.0.16241.0

I did the same until I discovered that windows has built in snippet tool. Try it out.

You can't draw circles and arrows, etc in that tool though. I need to point out the obvious sometimes. Well, actually most times.

You're being completely disingenuous, that's absolutely terrible.

My use case for Paint is highlighting one off screenshots for clients and the like. Nobody is going to send your sort of screenshot in a professional environment, it looks like it was marked up by a kindergartner.

My workflow: I open up snipping tool, take a screenshot, copy it, paste it in Paint, mark it up quickly (arrow tool or circle/rounded corners tool usually), and either save it or (usually) copy it and paste it into an email or Word Doc. Super easy and quick, I can do this in the time it takes GIMP to load or another program to download, its also always there. I do this on a monthly basis at least.

I've never had to do anything more advanced.

It sounds like you could really take advantage of Greenshot. http://getgreenshot.org

Why though? Paint is already perfect. It's ubiquitous, doesn't require a download and install (there's locked down machines), loads instantly, and the UI is incredibly simple and intuitive.

Though if I ever need "advanced" screenshotting I'll keep this in mind.

I too find greenshot to be very useful, its just that bit quicker than paint for easy snippeting

How is it different from the built-in snippingtool.exe?

Snipping tool doesn't have shapes or text input, all the tools are freehand. I don't want to email a client with chicken scratch that looks like a child's doodle, that's unprofessional.

The top 'arrow' looks like a sideways J, I assume it's an arrow based on context, but it's not that clear. Which is why it's nice to have a good tool for the job.

PS: If you actually do the same thing in paint they have a lot of useful shapes and you get a preview of how they look. Which is nice if you don't want the chicken scratch look.

Well, for anything serious, paint is not good enough. You can't rotate your arrows, for example.

If i need to do something well, then I use Paint.net (which is best parts of Paint and Photoshop combined in a free and super fast package).

If I need something quick, then I can use the snipping tool.

I literally have not turned on paint ever since I discovered windows snipping tool and paint.net (which is couple of years now).

You can rotate them 90 degrees which is good enough for what I need.

Workflow is generally Screenshot, crop, highlight with text / arrow / circle past into email. Paint.net is useful, but not on every windows box and often not worth the download when I 90% of the time I just want to send something to a coworker who might email it to a customer.

There's a huge middle ground between "serious image editing" and "quick one-off screenshot that looks professional."

It's too sloppy even if I could draw that well with my mouse or highlight in a somewhat straight line. Nevermind the regular employee, sometimes I'm sending it to Directors and C-levels, etc.

That is true. Personally the thing I miss the most is simple text insert. Writing with mouse is horrendous, but the ease of use beats functionality for me.

There is no built in circles or arrows but there is a pen and an highligher tool.

Yes you can. It has a pen tool built into the Snippet app.

It's being replaced, they're removing the program, not the functionality.

They know this. It has been deprecated, not removed. That sounds like it's likely to remain for now.

Agreed. In fact, I also use OSX a lot, and would love to have 'Paint' there too.

It's not paint but Preview.app can crop, edit and annotate screenshots.

A handy tip is to include control in the Mac screenshot keyboard command (e.g. ⌘⇧⌃3) to have the output piped to the clipboard instead of a file. Then in Preview.app, File > New opens the contents of the clipboard in a new window.

While I'm at it, ⌘⇧4 (and ⌘⇧⌃4) lets you interactively select an arbitrary region.

Also ⌘⇧4–Space (and ⌘⇧⌃4–Space) let you grab a single window directly from the compositor. Which means you always get the full window, including its alpha channel. Even if the window is obstructed or partially off-screen, you still get the whole thing including its transparent drop-shadow.

Preview.app fucking sucks. There are a handful of truly obnoxious sins that OS X commits, and not providing a graphics editing application with full access to the pixel raster is one of them.

Other sins include no trivial click path to instantiating an empty file on the desktop. One must open an application and either issue a command (touch or similar) or save an empty file with the application used (TextEdit.app for example). This is inconsistent with the fact that you can create folders in the context menu, but not files.

OS X discourages thinking in terms of the file system in general, by dumbing down the interface with "shortcuts" like All My Files, and buries the root hard disk partition many layers deep, in the default interface, forcing users to surface the usual affordances through several settings in multiple preferences menus. This creates a natural bias against proper command of one's data, among novice users, and promotes sloppy, confused organizational skills and inefficient usage patterns that eat the fuck out of hard drive space, leading inexperienced users to purchase unnecessary upgrades, in order to solve behavioral problems in hardware.

OS X also pushes users away from non-binary file formats, defaulting most formats to favor non-plain-text and targets closed formats that leave the user unable to look at file contents in a common universal manner. This leaves non-technical and less-technical users in a world where only "apps" can inform you of mere parts of your data. Again, users are not thinking in terms of files on disk, or discrete packets of information. Data lives in indescribale places at locations they often can only describe by "way finding" through pointing and clicking or tapping. There is no path, or tree, or name, or directory, or disk to these people, and thus no file or disk space to think of. Text resides is fields, images in albums or galleries, on and on.

Have you met or spoken with younger non-technical people lately. They are lost and beyond clueless about a lot of important things. This is in many ways due to Android and iOS (which in turn influences OS X). Linux is hardly a presence in the desktop world. And now Windows is going the same way. Dark days ahead.

What you describe as the "dumbing down" of the file system is the inherent consequence of multi-user operating systems, i.e. a bias towards the user's home folders; clearly done to help users better organise their documents.

Meanwhile, power users are not even momentarily impeded, with key locations (such as the file system root) readily accessible from the Go menu. Or keyboard shortcuts. Or the terminal. Or from the dock, the sidebar, the desktop, the toolbar or anywhere else you wish, just by dragging it there. You only have to set this shit up once and it's there forever.

Pixel editing graphic applications are free and plentiful on all major desktop operating systems. MacOS doesn't ship with one that suits your needs, but consider that Windows doesn't ship with one that suits my needs. Q.E.D.

Your complaint that many end-users don't use computers the way you use computers is pure get off my lawn. Those young whippersnappers don't understand the motion of electrons or the byte endianness of various processor architectures? Back in my day, we had to punch holes into cards...

Power users not being impeded is precisely my point, and you've made it for me. That these features are considered "advanced" and thus buried is my argument.

These kinds of features are not surfaced readily (existing many interactions deep, and not single gesture or action operations) or they are completely absent from the bundled operating system distribution, despite comprising essential utilities.

> That these features are considered "advanced" and thus buried is my argument.

You're making the assumption that people, general users, even care about these features. What evidence do you have that this is the case?

Everything I've seen indicates most people have other things that are much more important to them than open text-based file formats or hierarchical directory structures for locally storing files.

Okay a very simple way to add context to my claims, to prove that these are intrisic features of any operating environment that must function without network access, as a standalone system, is to look at how internet-based entities replicate similar bahaviors to enable web based collaboration.

Proving my point is the existence of URL shorteners (as analagous to file names and paths on a local machine) and plain text snippet sharing sites such as pastebin (as analogous to users passing plain text snippets on a shared standalone system).

So too with pixel editing. This is a fundamental aspect of an operating environment, and one that Preview.app performs inadequately at, and the likes of which OS X does not otherwise support natively.

Does my flimsy opinion hold water yet?

> a very simple way to add context to my claims

I didn't ask for context. I asked for evidence.

> Does my flimsy opinion hold water yet?

Personally, I agree or understand with a lot of what you're saying. Where I differ is your statement that there is or should be lots of interest in these things by the 'mass market'.

That makes about as much sense to me in 2017 as it would be to go back to 1983 and suggest people really need to toggle switch in a boot loader to understand how a personal computer works.

Asserting that pixel editing is "fundamental aspect of an operating environment" is not just flimsy, it's highly subjective at best and entirely without substance.

Windows doesn't have a bash shell, an NFS client, a PDF annotation tool, or instant file previews; I'd consider these far more serious omissions.

Asserting that full access to the file system is 'buried' in MacOS is flat-out wrong, and borderline insulting. It's all there in the Go menu which is visible on screen.

If MacOS doesn't ship with your obscure checklist of "essential utilities" then go cry in the corner quietly. Meanwhile Windows 10 doesn't even ship with a real bash shell, which I consider essential.

  flat-out wrong, and borderline insulting

Go buy a new mac and unbox it fresh, and try out the experience which speaks for itself. I'm not talking out my ass. You sound pretty mad. Watch your emotional tenor, lest you slip into personal attacks, or has that already happened?

Also abstracting away the local storage device makes a cloud transition a lot easier.

  a cloud transition
I disagree that this is a "good" thing. Cloud being parlance for someone else's computer.

This is not pure "get off my lawn" garbage. Try communicating how to save and transfer a protected zip file with sensitive data to pretty much any non-developer. These are essential tasks, and if you only socialize with technical folks, sure, everybody will be on the same page, but that leaves 90% (or more) of the rest of the world nearly clueless and left out in the cold. Whoops!

EDIT: To elaborate, consider the palpable difference in technical confidence between Ed Snowden and Laura Poitras. Technical people often gasp at the things Snowden had to carefully explain. Realities that are painfully obvious to power users.

This sort of skill differential is extremely common, and the amount of babying and hand-holding ordinary users often require is painful to behold. My claim is that the obscurity of essential activities is the root of this sort of thing. Editing raw pixels with precision, taken as a simple example.

> Have you met or spoken with younger non-technical people lately. They are lost and beyond clueless about a lot of important things.

They just have different ideas about what's important. Back in the early 1990's, I volunteered in the medical education office of a Houston area hospital. This is the office that ran the residency program responsible for training doctors. Important and life saving stuff.

Anyway, one of the admins there was a DOS Wordperfect user with something like 10,000 files in a single directory on her hard disk. It wasn't the most efficient way of organizing files, but it worked for her and let her focus on the business of getting doctors trained.

Research on the 'ecology' of end user computing would be quite interesting and might inform future products.

Personal anecdote: I put the date in yyyymmdd format in many of my file names for teaching documents so I can order by time easily. Gnome Shell when it first came out had an 'activity journal' feature (like Win XP I recollect) based on the zeitgeist functionality[1] which I found really handy. You could view your history, click a bar (like on wayback machine) and get the docs. A versioning system based on that would be wicked. Alas, this initiative seems to have died.

[1] https://saravananthirumuruganathan.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/...

What do you need empty files for?

At the CMD prompt, creating an empty file is as easy as:


        1 file(s) copied.

07/25/2017 12:12 AM 0 a

               1 File(s)              0 bytes

I'm pretty sure that date could be 1982 and your example would work equally well. :-)

Checks... Yup: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/20031022-00/?p=...

Ha ha, good one. Yes, it wasn't meant to show anything new, just put it because I've seen many people don't know this sort of stuff - basic command line usage.

Edit: Actually, I had originally meant to write "At the DOS/CMD prompt", but left out the DOS part because who knows how many people even know what DOS is these days ... :)

Because Windows doesn't have drag and drop save, so you can't just drag an icon from your program to a folder you already have open.

The other workaround I use is to copy and paste the path from the explorer window

I think he said they save you from having to surface the usual affordances through several settings in multiple preferences menus. Or something.

I don't quite understand why you'd ever want to create a new file in this way, and I remember being baffled by it as a child when Win95 came out.

Isn't it always going to be faster to open whatever application you want to create your file in (bonus: win+r on Windows, cmd-space on Mac) and just save the new file there? Creating the file first and then invoking the program by opening it with the GUI seems like a pathological workflow.

I think it's to not have to relocate a folder in a Save As dialog. Sometimes I already have a folder open, and just want to create a new file then drag it into my editor because I know the Save As dialog is pointed elsewhere.

Aha. That makes a bit more sense. For what it's worth, you can just drag the folder into the location bar and get roughly the same effect. If the window's already open, the small folder icon on the top works as well.

Windows has had a mechanism for creating empty documents via the shell since Windows 95. I don't think I've ever found it useful. (Much like the ability to drag and drop text from WordPad to the desktop to make a clipping file.)

Coming from Windows all my life to OS X was a bit bumpy. I will say not being able to create a quick text document is so very mildly annoying. But I've learned to use Notes.app in place of my usual purposes for *.txt files unless I'm wanting to move some chunk of text data somewhere quickly outside of the walled garden of my Apple ecosystem.

Is there a Preview.app equivalent for Windows these days? It was one of my favorite new tools when I switched to Mac back in the day, because for windows I had to download special 'see all types of files + basic editing' programs.

For simply displaying PDF (and a few other formats), I like SumatraPDF. It is pretty lightweight (compared to the crawling horror that is Adobe Reader), and when you re-open a PDF, opens it at the position you were last time(!!!). The latter feature makes it perfect for viewing reference manuals etc.

EDIT: https://www.sumatrapdfreader.org/free-pdf-reader.html

EDIT²: IrfanView can display many graphic formats and quite a few that are not strictly speaking graphics. Plus, it has some basic image editing capabilities (resize, rotate, ...).

Interesting, have you tried Foxit PDF Reader, and if so, how does it compare to SumatraPDF? I haven't used the latter but have used the former.

I know Foxit Reader.

SumatraPDF is fairly minimalistic, it is a single executable file that runs without installation. Foxit has far more features than SumatraPDF, it is more like the slim sibling of Acrobat (no insult intended!). (SumtraPDF.exe is something like 3.5 MB, Foxit's msi package is something like 70 MB, IIRC)

But Foxit never has given me any reason to complain. I have across a few tricky PDF files that took forever to open in Acrobat, and Foxit (and SumatraPDF) handled those without trouble. Plus, it installs a PDF printer, which is convenient on pre-Windows 10 machines.

Thanks for the inputs. My experience with Foxit is mostly good, like yours has been. Will still check out SumatraPDF too.

Ah yes, IrfanView was what I always used!

Is there any particular reason why Microsoft hasn't included a built-in IrfanView/Preview.app at this point?

Not really, no, but Chrome supports some files: pdf, txt, images... View mode only, obviously.

Thanks.... all this is great stuff. (Particularly the bit about going straight to the clipboard.)

As dumb as it may sound, the lack of a real spiritual successor to MacPaint is something that differentiates Windows from OSX in a small way for me.

It's not the end of the world, but it's annoying. Like copying a transparent PNG in Windows only to paste something with a black background and no alpha.

OSX's lack of a Paint equivalent makes me think, "Windows does it better."

Hopefully not for same purpose as OP, since you can just do cmd+shift+4 and draw the region you want. Maybe Microsoft should implement something like this, so maybe shift+screen shot or something like that would let the user just draw rectangle over what they want captured.

I use Alt-PrtSc to just capture the current window, which is a good start. Specific regions would be even better though (although the Snipping Tool can do this).

No... cmd+shift+4 mostly covers that base for me. It's also a nice way to take quick measurements of screen dimensions. (Once the drag is started, <esc> will stop it without capturing an image.

But for cropping images in general, zooming in, adding quick bits of emphasis, etc. - Paint is pretty useful. (It also has the benefit of working more or less the same way since pre-Windows 3.0, so the consistency is a nice thing.)

> cropping images in general, zooming in, adding quick bits of emphasis

Preview.app can do all of that.

Win > "snip" > <Enter>

Win > snip > wait a bit, now a bit more in case it switches to doing a web search for snip, or finding all files named snip > enter

Is it really that bad? I haven't used Windows since XP, and it seems bizarre that they couldn't emulate macOS's Spotlight yet.

I'm running Windows 10 on a 7 year old desktop. Just typed win+snip+enter as fast as I could, it launched the snipping tool.

You might be interested in switching to Greenshot. The workflows that you described will go much quicker since it pops up a menu of quick actions to take after you press Print Scrn.

For screenshots that you want to review later, you just tell Greenshot to save directly to a file that it automatically names with a timestamp. To do quick edits, you can open your screenshot in the built-in editor. Or, you can open them in Paint.NET or any other editor.

It took me a few minutes to compose the same reply.

Try Greenshot:


It's open-source, no-nonsense, free software. It takes your 9 keystrokes plus multiple clicks to crop down to one key: PrtScn. The built-in image editor is optimized for the things that you need to do with screenshots. Here's a quick guide I threw together:


Yeah, it was a bit of a mind-bender editing a screenshot of the screenshot editor with the screenshot editor...

>Yeah, it was a bit of a mind-bender editing a screenshot of the screenshot editor with the screenshot editor...

Ha ha, I had the same thought just now, after trying out the (plain) PrintScreen command in DanBC's comment here:


Before that, I'd always used just Alt-PrintScreen to take a screenshot of only a specific window, not the whole screen.

So, to try it, I arranged a few app windows in cascaded style (including Paint itself), then did PrintScreen, then pasted the screenshot of Paint (plus other apps) into Paint ...

Who GNU that ...


As much as I 100% agree with your comment, from MSs point of view, you now have the Snipping Tool to do that.

Me too, use Win7 snipping tool and or Paint all the time. Notepad, Paint, Wordpad are all useful. Even though I wished MS would give them some love like add UTF-8 as default save option, or a better search function, etc. The new Win8/10 metro/UWP apps and the Store are crap.

I know it's nice to have built in tools that just work, but if you are looking for a good third-party tool for that functionality, Greenshot is pretty good. It has it's own simple little editor for annotating the image if you want.

Snipping tool on Windows solve your problem. No need for paint.

Use the Snipping Tool.

snipping tool.

that allows you to screenshot, draw, highlight, email, copy to clipboard, and you can snip a snip to crop.

They aren't removing it, they are deprecating it.

alt+printscreen to do window screen shot

if you have one note, one note has a snipping tool win+S to either copy to clipboard or copy to onenote.

Have you looked at greenshot? I love it.

check out greenshot


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