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Home > Jan's CompLit 101 > Working with Windows > Windows Basics > Help > App Help
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Jan's Working with Windows:

  Help: Application Help

Windows Help does not have any information about individual applications. You must go to that application's own Help menu.

The application Paint comes with Windows, so it is a good choice for exploring how to get Help for an application. The dialogs look different in different versions of Paint but Paint itself does not change much.

You will be using Paint later to print images of what you have done in the exercises. Paint is fun, but it is also a useful tool.

Help: Paint contents (WinXP) Help: Paint - Paint Tools (Vista)
Help: Paint (Win7) Help: Paint (Win8)

Help styles: WinXP, Windows Vista, Win7, Win8

Old Help file format:
Versions after Windows 98 do not support the old .hlp format for Help files. Some of your older programs may still use this format. If you try to open such a file, you will see a message that informs you of this problem. The message window also has a link to a Microsoft Knowledge Base page with instructions about a downloading an old file to fix this problem. It is not simple! You may be able to find help for your question elsewhere by searching the Internet.

Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step: Application Help - Paint

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn: to open an application from the Start menu/Start screen
to open Help for an application
to work in an application with Help open
to practice drawing with Paint's tools

Start with: Monitor with Windows Desktop showing Desktop showing

Open Application from Start Menu

  1. Open Paint:

    Icon: WinXP Icon: Windows VistaIcon: Windows 7 WinXP, Vista, Win7: Start > All Programs >Accessories > Paint
    which means: Left click Click the Start menu, Left click click on All Programs or Programs to expand the menu , then Left click click on Accessories. Finally, Left click click on Paint.
    Icon: Win8 Icon: Win8.1 Win8, Win8.1: Press the Windows key. Type Paint. Left click Click on Paint in the list of results.

    When Paint opens, the size of the window and the size of the drawing area (the canvas) are what they were the last time Paint was used.

    Paint window (WinXP) Paint (Vista)Paint (Win8)
    Paint: WinXP, Vista; Win7/Win8

Open Paint Help

  1. Open a Help window:
    Icon: WinXP Icon: Windows Vista WinXP, Vista: Left click Click on Help > Help Topics in the menu Paint Help menu (WinXP) .
    Icon: Windows 7Icon: Win8 Win7, Win8: Left click Click on  Button: Help (Win7) Button: Help (Win8) the Help button on the ribbon.

    A Help window opens. Except for WinXP, this window is actually a type of browser window.

     Help: Paint (WinXP) Help: Paint Tools (Vista)
    Help: Paint - initial screen (Win7)Help window for Paint in Win8

    The Paint Help window is quite different in different versions!

    Some other programs still use the WinXP style with two panes, even when installed on computer with a more recent operating system.

  2. Icon: WinXP WinXP:Left click Click on Paint to open the list and then on Create Pictures.
  3. Find Help about drawing a straight line:

    Help: Paint - Draw a straight line (WinXP)Icon: WinXP WinXP:Left click Click on Draw a straight line and read the article in the right pane.

    Help: Paint - Find - Straight line (Vista)Icon: Windows Vista Vista:

    • Icon: Right click Right click on the page and choose 'Find on page'.
    • Type straight line and Left click click Next.
      The text is highlighted in the article.
    • Read the description of the Straight line tool.

    Help: Paint: Drawing lines (Win7)Icon: Windows 7 Win7:

    • Left click Click on the link 'Drawing lines' at the upper right of the article.
      Link: Drawing lines (in Win7 Paint)
      The article scrolls to display this section of the page.
      Read this section.
    • Left click Click on the link 'Line tool' to show the hidden text.
      Read how to draw a straight line.

    • Open the other hidden parts of this section and read them.

    Icon: Win8 Icon: Win8.1 Win8, Win8.1: Help for Paint in these versions not available offline.

    • Help in Paint: Draw a line (Win8)Left click Click the link Draw a line.
      The topic expands to show the hidden text.
    • Read how to draw a straight line.
    • Scroll down the page and read the section 'Add color to pictures'.
    Help: Content Not AvailableIcon: Trouble Problem: Paint Help window has no Help content.

    Currently [Dec. 2015] the article is still not available online, at least for Windows 8.1! Clicking the Help button opens a window that says the content is no longer available. There is a link to the Windows website, but it opens a page with many categories. None seem to fit Paint.

    There is an online article written for Paint in Windows 7 that explains the ribbon interface and tools. You can use that article if necessary.

    • Online article about Paint in Windows 7Open the online article Using PaintIcon: Off Site.
    • Draw a lineScroll down and read how to draw a straight line.
      This section also tells you how to set the color for your line.

Work with Help Open

  1. Switch back to the Paint window without closing the window with the directions and draw some straight lines of different colors in the Paint window.

    Tip  Remember- to move a window, Icon-left drag drag the window by its title bar.

Paint Tools

  1. Read about Paint's tools:
    Icon: WinXP WinXP: Read the topics that start "Draw a..."
    Icon: Windows VistaIcon: Windows 7Icon: Win8 Icon: Win8.1 Vista, Win7, Win8, Win8.1: Read about the other tools described on the page.
  2. Practice using the tools they describe. It's OK to have fun for a bit!
    How creative can you be?

    The next project, Files and Folders, will cover how to save your work. For now, just mess around with the Paint tools and have some fun!

    Tip The line width you choose remains in place for the outline of shapes also. To change line width you will have to go back to a line tool to choose the width.