10 Uses for MS Paint You Didn’t Think of!

The featured image was NOT created in MS Paint (Photoshop, of course!), although, with enough patience it could have been. MS Paint. Seriously?! Well, sometimes you don’t have your fancy Mac with all your downloaded versions of Photoshop and the like handy. In fact, you might be in one of those rare situations where you have to use a PC (gasp!). What ever shall you do?!

Well, fortunately for you, the dear folks at Microsoft have a built in bitmap editor that is absolutely terrible and almost useless. But, there is hope and a couple ‘o tricks are available to you if you find yourself in a pinch.

1. Image Resizer

Need to quickly resize an image? MS Paint can do that, sort of. Actually MS Paint does this really well with the latest version available. Just open, click the Resize button and tweak. This can save you if you need to create a quick thumbnail or need to send one of your 4 gig images to grandma.

2. Precision Editing with Grids

There’s an infinitely UNtweakable grid feature under View -> Gridlines. No, you can’t adjust the scale or size (psh! who needs THAT?!), but it does help when you need to align elements.

3. Clone Tool? In MS Paint?!

Not really. But you CAN copy sections of an image, paste, and move the pasted portion around until committing changes. This can work as a clone tool if you need to clean up portions of an image in a hurry.

4. Detailed Editing

Need to fix a red-eye issue? What about removing the background from an image? No problem. Just zoom in really, really far and use the Pencil Tool in MS Paint to clean up your image. No, it’s not as easy to use as the Photoshop version, but you shouldn’t leave your Mac at home, now, should you?

5. Image Rotation

You know how it goes. You take a shot with your iPhone and it insists your image is 90 degrees off. Just drop it into MS Paint and use the image Rotation Tool. Even better, it now has the ability to flip an image on its vertical or horizontal axis. Not too shabby.

6. Basic Shapes

You ever try to draw a circle in MS Paint? Don’t. It’s a waste of time. Here’s my best effort to date:

You’re welcome. But you don’t have to stress and strain like I did. Just use the new, built in shapes. You have circles, squares, stars, and other basic shapes. Not to get snooty, but most high-end designs only use these basic shapes, so in theory you could pull off some really great work using this set of tools…just saying.

7. Image Reformatting

Find yourself with a GIF and you really need a JPG? No problem. You can throw that GIF into MS Paint and save as any of the common formats, including PNG. This can come in especially handy when you just need a quick switcheroo.

8. Color Replacement

Believe it or not, you can actually use the Eraser Tool as a color replacer. With the Eraser Tool selected, choose the color you want to replace. Then click-and-hold the right mouse button (yes, Mac users, there’s more than one mouse button). This let’s you only erase the color you selected as your primary color (Color 1). Pretty slick…for MS Paint, I mean.

9. Custom Brushes

Well, not really. But you can use the Selection Tool’s advanced feature to make a custom brush-like experience. Draw the shape you want on a blank part of your canvas. Use the Select Tool to select your little drawing. Click the option drop-down menu and select “Transparent selection.” Now just copy and paste the design.

Do I need to remind you that this isn’t Photoshop, but who left what you know where?

10. Better Brush Sizes

MS Paint only has about three brush sizes micro, xxxx-small, and xxx-small. Useless. But you CAN resize the brushes incrementally using the CTRL and +/- symbols. This lets you get the size much closer to what could be considered reasonable.


While not a fan, I do realize that MS Paint actually has some basic features that can save the day in a pinch. To their credit, MS has to develop software that anybody can use, so they have to strip the features down to their bare-bones. They succeeded! And with a few tricks and use of some advanced features, you can make it work for you when necessary.