Creative Windows

7 Free Microsoft Paint Alternatives

Dan Price 02-08-2017

Microsoft officially deprecated Paint Microsoft Paint Is Dead, Long Live Paint 3D [Updated] Microsoft Paint is officially being killed off, with Microsoft deprecating the program with the release of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Rest In Peace, Microsoft Paint: 1985-2017. Read More in July 2017. Of course, the app hasn’t been updated since Windows 7 anyway, so it’s hardly news.


While it will remain available through the Windows Store, this really spells the end for MS Paint. Microsoft is now squarely focused on the new Paint 3D; there’s only so much time the old version of Paint can remain available until it becomes a liability.

Perhaps it’s time to start looking for free alternatives? Here are seven of the best for you to check out.

1. Paint.NET

Paint.NET started life as a student project back in 2004, but it’s since grown to become one of the best free image editors on the Windows operating system. If you’re only a light user, it’s even a valid alternative to full suites like Photoshop 15 Free Alternatives to Adobe Lightroom, Illustrator, and Photoshop Would you like to get Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, or Illustrator for free? Here are some of the best Creative Cloud alternatives. Read More and GIMP.

If you’re coming from Microsoft Paint, one of the biggest things you’ll want is familiarity, and Paint.NET has it in abundance. The main screen looks very similar to the Microsoft app.


Dig a little deeper, however, and it’s packed with features that make the app shine.

They include Photoshop-esque layers, a vast number of special effects, unlimited undo/redo, an array of tools for drawing shapes, and most importantly for many users, near-endless plugins.

To give you an idea, the community-supported PDF document which lists all the plugins is 95 pages long! If that sounds too daunting, don’t worry. You can download packs of the most popular plugins that center around certain themes (e.g. extra brushes, colors, effects). Some even have installers.

Download: Paint.NET


2. IrfanView

If Paint.NET is too complicated and you’re looking for something more basic, IrfanView could be the tool for you.

Some of the headline features are almost identical to Microsoft Paint. The app has easy-to-draw shapes, tools for rotating, flipping and resizing images, and one-click buttons for converting images to greyscale and other color palettes.


IrfanView also offers some functionality that’s missing in Paint but which makes using the app easier and more enjoyable. For example, it has image previews, support for more file formats, and even the ability to open animated GIFs 3 Best Tools to Make Free Animated GIFs on Windows Keen to start creating your own GIFs? These tools will get you animated in no time. Read More .


Lastly, professionals will still be able to rely on the app for tasks thanks to its support for Photoshop filters A Quick Guide to Photoshop Filters and What They Do Photoshop comes with a few dozen filters of its own and these are more than enough for amateurs and hobbyists. Here's a quick guide to what they do. Read More , batch conversion, and IPTC metadata.

Download: IrfanView

3. Pinta

If you’ve been paying attention, you will notice Pinta looks instantly familiar. Why? Because it’s based on the previously discussed Paint.NET.

The app is not quite as feature-laden as its inspiration, making it a better alternative for people who want the Microsoft Paint familiarity without all the extra pro-level features they’ll never use.



However, just because it’s not equal to Paint.NET, don’t write it off. Pinta supports layers, provides unlimited history, has 35 effects, and includes easy-to-use drawing tools.

Perhaps most interestingly, it takes a different approach to the workspace in front of you. You can pop out any window to make it float, and even use a combination of docked windows and floating windows to suit your needs.

Download: Pinta

4. Krita

Krita is geared towards digital artists. Specifically, the app is aimed at concept artists, illustrators, matte and texture artists, and people working in the visual effects industry. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not also a great tool for people who want an alternative to Microsoft Paint.

If you choose to download it, you can enjoy a range of useful features that are absent in Paint. They include a quick color selector (just right-click on a color to pick it), brush stabilizers (perfect if you’re doing basic drawing with a mouse), and vector, filter, group, and file layers.

Krita also offers some of the best shape drawing tools. Thanks to its “Drawing Assistants,” you will be able to create the perfect ellipse, arrow, or fisheye every time.

Download: Krita

5. Photoscape

Photoscape is mainly focused on photo editing. If you use Microsoft Paint to edit and tweak snaps you have taken, it’s the perfect replacement.

Many of the tools it offers are photo-orientated and are absent on Paint. For example, you can easily combine multiple photos into one image or watch your photos in a slideshow. You can also convert images from the RAW format into JPEGs or splice your photos into multiple pieces.


As you would expect, it also has a comprehensive basic editor. You can use it to resize your image, adjust the brightness and color, change the white balance, correct the backlight, add text, draw pictures, add filters, remove red-eye, and more.

Lastly, Photoscape has a cool tool that lets you print lined, graph, music, and calendar paper using your images.

Download: Photoscape

6. Fotor

Fotor made its name as a cloud-based image editor, but these days you can download the software as a standalone Windows app that’ll work offline.

Like Photoscape, editing photos is Fotor’s bread and butter, but it also works well for editing screenshots and other images.

The app can make simple adjustments such as resizing and cropping, includes hundreds of free fonts The 8 Best Free Font Websites for Free Fonts Online Not everyone can afford a licensed font. These websites will help you find the perfect free font for your next project. Read More , and offers a shape drawing tool. It also has some basic touch up tools.

Fotor is entirely free to download and use, but it’s also the only app on this list that offers a paid tier. For $3.33 per month, you get 100 new effects, a vast number of stickers and photo frames, professional-grade touch-up tools, and an ad-free experience.

Download: Fotor

7. Pixlr

If you’re not going to have Paint on your system anymore, why even bother to clutter your hard drive up with more junk?

You could use an online-only editor instead, and Pixlr is one of the best.


The design of Pixlr is more Photoshop-esque than Paint-esque. But, if you spend a bit of time learning how to use the app, you will quickly discover it’s one of the best Paint replacements available.

It has all the basics you’d expect, plus advanced features like smudging, blurring, layers, and a long list of filters and effects.

Of course, you should only consider Pixlr if you have a reliable web connection; it’s useless without one. You will also need to enable Flash for it to run.

Run: Pixlr

Which App Do You Use?

If you’re preparing for the death of Microsoft Paint, you won’t go far wrong by using one of these seven apps.

For the most Paint-like experience, try Paint.NET, IrfanView, or Pinta. If you’re willing to expand your knowledge and try something new, use Krita, Photoscape, or Fotor. And if you want an online-only tool, you need Pixlr.

Of course, there are hundreds of free image editing tools on the web, and we’ve not been able to cover all of them in this article. Microsoft will certainly want you to use Paint 3D We Tested the MS Paint 3D Preview: Here's What We Think MS Paint has been around for as long as Windows existed. The Windows 10 Creators Update will include Paint 3D and Remix 3D. Will these free tools help 3D modeling go mainstream? Read More .

Which apps would you add to this list? What features make them so impressive? You can leave all your tips and suggestions in the comments below.

Related topics: Image Editor, Paint 3D.

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  1. Zoran
    December 13, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    For those simple things, I use XnView. For more complicated stuff, I use... well, nothing, but I do have Paint.NET on my PC.

  2. JAD
    August 3, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Gimp all the way !

  3. Mike Walsh
    August 3, 2017 at 12:19 am

    I've been using PhotoScape ever since it was in 'beta', back in the summer of 2009. And when I moved to Linux three years ago, I was rather chuffed to find that it runs perfectly under WINE.

    I use it alongside an elderly copy of Photoshop CS2 (which also runs well under WINE), AND the GIMP. I do a lot of graphic design, it being a long-time hobby of mine. I run up templates in PhotoScape, then 'flesh out' the concepts using either Photoshop or the GIMP, depending what effects I'm after. They each have their good & bad points, and as for swapping back & forth between the two? Been doing that for years. When it boils down to it, they're both of them simply raster graphics editors. Nothing more, nothing less.

    And recently, I've been using the AppImage of Krita, which allows me to run the same app in multiple distros.

  4. Doc
    August 2, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    No love for the GIMP? Since version 2.8, it's had a "single-window" mode, and while its learning curve is a bit steeper than Photoshop, it's just as powerful.