Paint.NET is an image editing software for Microsoft Windows, developed by Washington State University and Microsoft.

Originally conceived as a simple, free alternative to Microsoft Paint software now offers even "professional " functions, such as working with layers. The operation of Paint.NET is based on market leader Adobe Photoshop.

Paint.NET was published in 2004 as open source software under the MIT license. Since version 3.5 Paint.NET is not open source, but freeware.

  • 3.1 Awards
  • 3.2 Criticism


Originally Paint.NET was planned as a small student project for spring 2004. Rick Brewster, one of the main developer writes in his blog that version 1.0 was written within four months from approximately 36,000 lines of C # code.

In the fall semester of 2004, the versions were released 1.1 and 2.0. The development is today continued by three programmers, who now work for Microsoft. Two of them are Rick Brewster and Tom Jackson, who have already worked as a student at Washington State University in Paint.NET.

The Paint.NET version 2.72, which was released on 31 August 2006, as well as earlier versions, can also be run under Windows 2000.

On 26 January 2007, Version 3.0 was released, this supports both the German and English, which were already in version 2.72 available, Chinese, French, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish. A month later, on February 26, version 3.01 was released, in which some bugs have been fixed in version 3.0.

On March 29, a new version was released after on the 25th March, the beta of this version was available before. With version 3.05, two new features were introduced: In Windows Vista Improve the look of the program change and there is a new effect called " pencil sketch ". Version 3.07 was released on 8 May 2007 and offers new features in terms of lines, thus creating simple arrows or the like has been simplified. On August 23, 2007 version 3.10 was released.

Version 3.20 was released on 12 December 2007. It summarizes the " effects " in the program together better and easier, making Paint.NET very similar to Adobe Photoshop. In addition, there are also some new effects and functions to highlight certain areas / locations have been extended.

On February 29, 2008 - Paint.NET version 3.30 Beta 1 has been released. It includes some new features. Files in PNG format can now be either in the 8 -, 24 - or 32 -bit mode to save. Even with files of type BMP, you can now between the 8 - and select 24-bit mode. The file formats PNG, BMP and TGA also have the option of automatic selection. Thus, the program automatically selects the best option to store the files. The effect of "Polar Inversion " has been improved. There are also Paint.NET now in Italian. The final version was from 10 April to download. Up to version 3.36 minor bug fixes from version 3.30 and some features have been changed or improved.

On 30 December 2008, first without further explanation, announced that the source code is no longer available. In a blog entry was the reason given on 6 November 2009, that the source code often copied and the program was marketed under a new name, often commercially.

On 7 November 2009, the unplanned version 3.5 was published as a transition to version 4.0. In addition to improved performance This provides an improved updater, as well as some new effects. In addition, the optics for Windows Vista and Windows 7 has been optimized. NET Framework is the first time. 3.5 SP1 mandatory for the installation.

As of version 3.5.5 at least Windows XP SP3 is required, at least as of version 4.0 Windows 7 SP1 and. NET Framework 4.5.1.


Paint.NET dominated layer editing and also offers an "infinite History" ( undo ), which allows all operations at any time to undo, and other special effects.

Plug -ins & Tutorials

There are a number of plug-ins that have been provided. They can be downloaded from the official forum (part of the site ). These add new effects or the ability to use new file formats added. For example, users have the option of Adobe Photoshop (PSD) files to use (edit) and to save after installing a plug-in.

There are a number of tutorials that will be provided in the forum of users or developers.

File Format

Paint.NET saves images by default in PDN ( paintdotnet ) format. This is a proprietary file format with no compression and data loss, get the scale levels of a Paint.NET graphics remain. The PDN format is not supported by other image processing programs, it is primarily intended for further processing of the diagrams and pictures. The image viewer IrfanView can display images in PDN format (Show composite image and individual levels).

The software also supports the following image formats: BMP, JPG, GIF, TIF, PNG, and TGA. Since version 3.10 the format DirectDraw Surface (DDS ) is supported. Using plug -ins other file formats can still be read and written (eg PSD).



Paint.NET got from the British web magazine " webuser " the " Webuser Gold Award 2006". In all parts of the evaluation, the software received five out of five stars. A quote from the review are:

" ... An absolute joy to use. "

" ... To use an absolute treat it [ the program ]. "

Paint.NET finished in 19th place among the top 100 products in 2007 in the computer magazine PC World.

"Impressive. "

" Impressive. "


A minor criticism of Paint.NET is that no offline help is available. The help there is only online and only in English. The program also has no specific function for printing the documents, but uses the print using Windows. Paint.NET also "forgets" any color information for pixels that were painted supporting transparency in formats with full transparency. The color channels are set in the case of ( 0, 0, 0) ( black). One sees in the normal image editing no difference, however, can be at textures in 3D graphics, which use the transparency (for example, font glyphs ), see black borders due to the rapid interpolation of modern hardware.

As an alternative to the Paint.NET software Pinta has been developed since 2007.

Minimum technical requirements

  • Windows XP ( SP3 ), Windows Vista ( SP1 or later ), Windows Server 2003 ( SP1 or later ), Windows 7
  • . NET Framework 3.5 SP1 or 4.0
  • 500 MHz processor with SSE (Recommended: 800 MHz or faster)
  • 256 MB RAM ( Recommended: 512 MB ​​or more)
  • 1024 × 768 pixels screen resolution
  • At least 200 MB free storage

Note:. Built on the NET Framework software runs only on Windows. The Paint mono initiative therefore aims at compatibility for free. NET implementation Mono, which can be run on other operating systems like Linux and Mac OS in addition to Windows. Since March 2009, however, any updates for Paint Mono were more published.