How to Edit & Enhance Screenshots in MS Paint

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mspaint tutorialThere’s a thousand and one screen capture utilities around the web, including quite a few commercial applications. Windows’ built-in Microsoft Paint can actually be used as a decent screenshot utility that you can start using without having to download extra software or spend money, particularly if you know a few tricks.

This MS Paint tutorial includes old tricks (some of which you may not be aware of because they’re so hidden!) adapted for use to make MS Paint a good station for your post-screencapture needs.

Basics

  1. Press Print Screen to capture a screenshot of the full desktop (i.e. in a dual-monitor setup, both windows) or ALT + Print Screen for just the active window.
  2. Open MS Paint and press Ctrl + V to paste the image in.

Adjusting The Canvas: Cropping & Expanding

To crop further, press the Select tool again and create a rectangle around the desired area. Instead of creating a new image and pasting the selection in, go to Image in the menu bar and select Crop.

mspaint tutorial

If you’re looking to do the opposite and increase the work canvas area in white, instead of using the resizers to expand a few times manually, press Ctrl + E. Alternatively, you can go up to Image in the menu bar and head to Attributes.

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You’ll get a dialog box that you can use to expand the work area and select whether you want it to be black and white or in color.

ms paint tutorials

Adding Arrows

ms paint tutorialsTo create arrows, you could draw one yourself, but you could also use some pre-made ones from the Wingdings 3 font.

Select the Text tool and start the text where you want the arrow to be. Make sure it’s on the foreground (click the bottom icon), which would be also what you need to do to insert images with transparent parts.

Next, if you don’t see the Text Toolbar, you can select it by going to ViewText Toolbar.

how to use ms paint

In the toolbar, select Wingdings 3, adjust the font size.

how to use ms paint

You can use the following guide to display your preferred arrows.

how to use ms paint

You can also find out by typing Character Map in the Start search box and pasting special characters from there.

how to use ms paint

Bonus: You can find extra characters to paste if you use Wingdings or the other symbol-based fonts.

Adding A ‘Blur Effect’

There are two ways (which aren’t quite as sophisticated as blurring tools in GIMP) to give a sort of blurring effect to a part of an image for censoring purposes.

Select the part of the image you want to blur with the rectangular Select tool. Now hit Control and on the number pad (laptop users might need to press the function key) twice (or more for bigger to-be-blurred portions), then hit Control and + in the same manner (i.e. twice or thrice on the number pad until you get the image in the original resolution).

Here’s how you go about doing it.

The result is a pretty blurred, unrecognizable image of the original.

Note:  This is also used to increase or decrease the size of the selected portion pretty much proportionally. If you do it the other way around (i.e. Control and +, then Control and -), the image isn’t blurred. It pretty much stays the same if you go back to the original resolution.

Going back to blurring stuff up, blurring technique number 2 involves taking the same rectangular Select tool and pick a portion of the part to blur, e.g. a letter in the word (not the whole word yet) to censor. Now press and hold Shift while you drag the rectangle across the rest of the portion to blur.

Here’s how to do it.

mspaint tutorial

MS Paint isn’t only a good imaging app that you can use to create amazing pieces of art, but it can also help you beautify screenshots and create PDF newsletters.

Do you use MS Paint or another screencapture program? Give your favorite app a shout out in the comments!

Image credit: Wendell Fernandes

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