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Jan's Working with Windows:

    Files: Image - Create & Save

Example: picturesEveryone likes pictures. They perk up a page of dull text and make it bearable. (Hmm. Like this one?) Plus, some things just can't be expressed as well in words.

Are picture files different from text files? Not really. Both are sets of 1's and 0's stored on the computer. The biggest difference is that image files are often quite large. The file name extensions are different for image files, of course.

You have the same kinds of tasks to learn that you had for text files. Create a new document, save it, edit it, save it again, print it. So, in this section you will review or see another way to do the tasks you have already learned. Plus you get to play with Microsoft Paint. Be careful not to neglect your other work! Paint can be addicting, even if you are not artistic!!

What is Microsoft Paint?

Paint is a simple program with basic tools for creating bitmap pictures. That means that you define the color of each little dot, called a pixel, in the image. In the hands of a patient person, however, Paint can be used to create some spectacular images. It would be a lot easier in one of the advanced graphics programs! 

Why Learn About Paint?

Paint will be used in other lessons to save screenshots of your work. This enables you to submit pictures to your instructor about things that don't produce a document to print. Outside the classroom, Paint is useful when dealing with tech support. You can capture a picture of an error message or a glitch in behavior that will show tech support exactly what you are dealing with. Powerful!

 Parts of the Paint window:

Paint window- labeled (WinXP) Paint window-labeled (Vista) Paint - labeled (Win7)

Paint: WinXP, Vista, and Win7/Win8/Win8.1

Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step: Create & Save Image

 Icon Step-by-Step

Start with: Desktop  Icon: Class disk

What you will learn: to open a program from Run (WinXP)
to open a program from Search (Vista, Win7, Win8, Win8.1)
to resize the canvas
to create a text image with Paint
to save an image

Icon: WinXP WinXP: Start a Program from Run

  1. Start menu: Start > Run (WinXP) Open the Start menu and choose  Run .
  2. Dialog - Run paint (WinXP)In the Run dialog box, type  paint  and Left click click on the OK button. Windows looks for a file that it can run, like paint.exe.
  3. Error message - about paint (WinXP)Error: You will see an error message because Windows can not find the file.

    The problem in this case is that the file that starts Paint is actually named mspaint.exe instead of just paint. Run is smart enough to figure it out if the file uses a common extension for program files, like exe or dll or com. But it is totally fooled by the wrong name!

    TipWhen this happens, first check the file name for misspellings. If the spelling is right, you may have to type in the full path to the file, like: c:\windows\system32\mspaint.exe

    That's an awful lot of trouble!!

    Or, you can use the Browse button in the Run dialog to get to a folder tree, find the right file, and double-click on it, which puts the full path into the Run text box.

  4. Left click Click on the OK button in the error message box.
  5. Highlight the word paint in the text box labeled Open: and type  mspaint .
  6. Left click Click on the OK button.
    Paint will open. (Yes, even without the extension! I told you that Run was smart!)

    The size of the window and the size of the blank canvas depend on their sizes the last time Paint was used.

Icon: Windows VistaIcon: Win7 Icon: Win7 Icon: Win8.1 Vista, Win7, Win8, Win8.1: Start a Program from Windows Search

The Run command used in the WinXP section above is still available in Vista, Win7, and Win8. But Run is not as smart as Windows Search at providing the result that you actually want.

  1. Left click Click on the Start button or switch to the Start screen (Win8, Win8.1).
    Icon: Windows VistaIcon: Win7 Vista, Win7: The cursor is already in the Search box at the bottom of the menu.
    Icon: Win7 Icon: Win8.1 Win8, Win8.1: No search box is visible but you can start typing anyway!
  2. Type the letter p.
    The Results list shows and changes as you type to show objects on the computer whose names start with the letter p. Programs (apps) are listed first.

    Menu: Start - Search box with the letter p (Vista) Search results: 'p' in Apps (Win8) Search results: pai (Win8.1)

    Icon: Windows VistaIcon: Win7 Vista, Win7: At the bottom of the list there is a link to show all of the results. This is very useful when there are too many results to fit and the one you want is not showing.

    Icon: Trouble Problem: Paint is not showing in the list
    Sometimes Search is too "smart" for its own good. If you have several programs that start with "p" that you use more often than Paint, they may show up in the Search list and Paint may not show at first.

    Solution: Keep typing. By the time you get the whole word typed in, Search will have found the program. Keep this behavior in mind when you are looking for other programs or files.

  3. If necessary, click Paint in the list to select it.
  4. Press the ENTER key.
    The program starts. The size of the window and the size of the blank canvas depend on their sizes the last time Paint was used.

    Alternate methods:
    • Double click if the item in the list is not currently selected.
    • Use the arrow keys to select the item and then press the ENTER key.

    For experience, let's see what happens if you type more letters.  

  5. Open the Start menu or Start screen again.

  6. Slowly type the whole word paint in the Search box.
    As you type each letter, watch how the results list changes.

    Menu: Start - Search for paing (Vista) Search results: paint (Win8) Search results: paint (Win8.1)

    The program Paint is still in the list. You may see other programs or files that have the word paint in the name or as part of the attributes. 

    Remember that Win8 divides the results into different categories so the left side will show only Apps. Other versions will show files as well as programs. Win8.1 includes settings also.

  7. Delete the word paint from the Search box.  
    In the previous section on the Run box in WinXP, we had to type the actual name of the file that opens the Paint program, which is mspaint.exe. Let's try that in Windows Search.  
  8. In the Search box, type the word mspaint. As you type, watch the changes in the list.
    There may be no matches at all when you have only typed a few characters, depending on what documents and programs you have on your computer.

    After typing 'msp', my Win8 computer showed Paint, MS Publisher, and MS PowerPoint. After upgrading to Win8.1, the computer showed only two applications, Paint and Publisher 2013.

    Vista and Win7 did not show anything useful after typing 'msp'. They were still searching. After a wait, Vista and Win7 did show the file name mspaint.exe, instead listing the Paint program name. Unexpected!

      Menu: Start - search for mspaint (Vista) Search Results: 'msp' (Win8)Search results: msp (Win8.1)

  9. Return to the Desktop:

    Icon: Windows VistaIcon: Win7 Vista, Win7: Press the ESC key Key: Esc\ at the upper left of your keyboard to close the Start menu.
    Icon: Win7 Icon: Win8.1 Win8, Win8.1: Press the Windows key Key: Windows to close the search results. Press the Windows key again to return to the Desktop.

    Paint is still open from your earlier work.

Resize Canvas

Paint remembers the size of the last picture you worked with. If the canvas size is too small or too large to work with comfortably, you can resize it. You are going to be typing in your name in a large font size. How large a canvas you will need will depend on how long your name is!

  1. If necessary, resize the window itself to be large enough to hold the canvas size you want by dragging a corner or side of the window.  
  2. Resize the white canvas by dragging on the tiny handles Handle Paint - handle (Win7) at the right and bottom edges of the canvas to make the drawing area the size that you want to work in.

    Icon: Trouble Problem: Cannot see the bottom and far right edge handles
    The canvas is larger than the window.
    Solution: Use Zoom out to reduce the size of the image in the window.
    Icon: WinXPIcon: Windows VistaIcon: Win7 Vista, Win7: On the menu, select View and then Zoom and then an appropriate percentage.
    Icon: Win7 Icon: Win8.1 Win8, Win8.1: Use the Zoom slide on the Status bar to reduce the size in the window.

Create a Text Image

  1. Paint: Text button with popup tip (Win7)Button: Text tool in Paint - selected (Vista)Select the Text tool  Button: Text tool in Paint (WinXP) Button: Text tool in Paint (Vista) Button: Paint Text tool (Win7) by clicking on it.
  2. Move your pointer to the white canvas and Icon-left drag drag from the upper left of the canvas. A box of dashed lines (a marquee) will appear. Your text will go inside this box shortly.

    Make your box large. Your name must fit inside!

  3. Release the mouse button.
    Icon: WinXP Icon: Windows VistaA Text toolbar appears.

    Paint Text toolbar (WinXP)Paint Text toolbar (Vista)

    Icon: ProblemProblem: The Text toolbar does not appear.
    : Select from the menu View > Text toolbar

    Paint- Text Tools (Win7)Icon: Win7Icon: Win7 Icon: Win8.1 Win7, Win8, Win8.1: A new ribbon tab, Text Tools: Text, appears on the ribbon.

  4. Left click Click on the down arrow in the box that shows names of the fonts that are installed on this computer.
    (The fonts listed depend on which version of Windows you have and on what other programs have been installed.)
  5. Scroll until you find Wide Latin.
    If Wide Latin is not on the list, look for Impact.

    Only WinXP comes with Wide Latin but you may have it from other software like Microsoft Office.
  6. Left click Click on Wide Latin or Impact (or another font with wide, bold letters) to select it.
  7. Select the font size 20 in a similar way.
  8. Left click Click inside the marquee box.

    Your pointer turns to a vertical line cursor to show where your typing will appear.

    TipText converts to picture: As long as you don't click outside the box, you can edit what you type by selecting, backspacing, and deleting. BUT...once you click outside the box, the text becomes part of the picture. Then you make any changes only with graphics methods like erasing. No more backspacing and deleting!  

  9. Type your name in the marquee box.
    The marquee box can enlarge down as you type, as far as the edge of the canvas, but it will not get any wider automatically. What won't fit on the canvas will be chopped off after you click outside the selection box.
    Icon: Win7 Win7: If you type more than will fit in the marquee selection box, the text will start to scroll up. Once you click elsewhere, only the visible text will be left.

    Icon: TroubleProblem: Name does not fit on canvas
    Enlarge the canvas by dragging the handles.
    You may need to use the scrollbars to bring the bottom and right edges of the canvas into view.

    Icon: TroubleProblem: Name does not fit neatly in marquee box
    When a marquee box automatically gets taller, some letters of a word may be on different lines.
    Solution: Drag the handles of the marquee box wider.
    If your name still won't fit, you may need to enlarge the canvas (see solution above) and start over with a new box. Use  Edit  >  Select All , and press the DELETE key to remove everything from the canvas. Enlarge the canvas as necessary. Then drag a larger box, and try again.  

  10. Find unavailable commands:
    Menu: Edit > Undo (Vista)Paint menu: Edit > Undo (WinXP)Icon: WinXP Icon: Windows Vista WinXP, Vista: From the menu bar select  Edit  and inspect the menu that appears.
    Any commands that are gray are not currently available.

    Notice that many of the menu commands have a keyboard shortcut.

    Text Tools: Clipboard section (Win7)Icon: Win7 Icon: Win7 Icon: Win8.1 Win7, Win8, Win8.1: Observe the Clipboard section of the Text Tools ribbon at the far left.
    It contains buttons for the most common commands: Cut, Copy, Paste. They are gray because they are not available at the moment. Something must be selected before you can copy or cut. Something must be copied or cut before you can paste.

    Undo and Redo are arrow buttons at the top of the window in the Quick Access toolbar.

    Keyboard tip    Key combos:

    Undo = CTRL + Z     reverses your last action.
    Redo = CTRL + Y     reverses your last Undo.
    Cut    = CTRL + X    removes the selection and copies it to the Windows Clipboard
    Copy = CTRL + C    copies the selection to the Windows Clipboard and leaves the selection in place
    Paste = CTRL + V    places whatever was on the Windows Clipboard at the cursor's location

    TipMany applications use CTRL + Z for Undo and CTRL + Y for Redo/Repeat. These are a particularly useful key combos to learn to use. It is MUCH faster to execute menu commands from the keyboard, so watch for the ones that execute the commands you use a lot. Undo certainly gets a lot of work!  

  11. Press CTRL + Z to undo what you just did.
    Your typing vanishes! But do not despair.
    Icon: WarningWarning: Everything you do in the marquee box counts as 1 action, so it is easy to wipe out all of your text!

    TipUndo limits: Paint will allow you to undo up to three actions in WinXP and ten actions in Vista. Paint in Win7 and Win8 remembers many more actions. (I stopped counting at somewhere over 40.)

    Some programs only remember the last action. Others allow you to select how many steps to remember. Sometimes there is a question about what a program counts as an "action". Selecting is usually an action. Clicking the mouse somewhere is usually an action, too.  

  12. Use the key combo to redo the step that you just undid. 
    (CTRL + Y)
    Voila! Your name appears again. Rescued!!

    TipNo visible Undo list: Since Paint does not keep a visible list of what actions it is remembering, it is easy to get confused when going back and forth between Undo and Redo.

  13. Icon: Experiment Experiment: Font, Font Sizes
    • Select your name inside the selection box.
    • Apply different fonts and font sizes.
      You can apply your changes to just part of the name, or use several copies of your name to show the difference.
    • Use the keystrokes you just learned to undo the changes that you make and to recover your deletions when you change your mind.  
    • Don't click outside the box yet or you will have to start all over (see the comment at step 8).
  14. Icon: Experiment Experiment: Change Colors
    Icon: WinXP Icon: Windows Vista WinXP, Vista:
    Color boxes from Paint (WinXP)
    • Left click Click on a color square in the Color Palate at the bottom of the window. The top color box on the left changes and your text changes color!
    • Right click Right click on a color square.
      The bottom color box on the left changes and the background behind your text changes color, but not the whole canvas.
    Icon: Win7 Icon: Win7 Icon: Win8.1 Win7, Win8, Win8.1:
    Color Palette on Ribbon in Paint (Win7)
    • Left click Click on the Color 1 box to select it. The box highlights to show it is selected.
    • Drag left Drag across your name to select it.
    • Left click Click on one of the colors on the Color Palette to change the primary color, Color 1.
      Your typing changes color. Color 1 is the foreground color and is used by text and the borders of shapes.
    • Left click Click on the Color 2 box and then on one of the Color Palette colors to change the secondary color, Color 2. The background color of the text box changes to match Color 2. Color 2 is used as the color of the inside of a shape and the background color that appears if you delete part of the picture.
    • Try out different colors for Color 1 and Color 2.
  15. Create a custom color:
    • Icon: WinXP Icon: Windows Vista WinXP, Vista: On the menu Left click click on Colors > Edit Colors...
      Icon: Win7 Icon: Win7 Icon: Win8.1 Win7, Win8, Win8.1: Left click Click the Edit Colors button Button: Edit Colors (Paint) (Win8).
      A palette of standard colors opens.
    • Dialog: Edit Colors, in Paint (Win7)If necessary, Left click click the button Define Custom Color.
      The palette expands to the right.
    • Drag left Drag to slide the cross-hairs to a new position.
      You can also drag or click the vertical color bar to select a shade of the new color, from very pale to very dark.
    • Save you new color to the palette by clicking on Add to Custom Colors.
      The new color is now the foreground color.
      Win7, Win8, and Win8.1 have a row for custom colors on the ribbon.

      If you want to save additional custom colors, click on an empty Custom color square first. Then create the color and add it to the palette. Otherwise a new custom color will replace an existing custom color.

    • Use your custom color in your picture somewhere.

  16. When you are satisfied with the appearance of your art work, Left click click on the canvas somewhere outside of the box. Your name is now part of the picture and you can no longer use the Text tools on it.
  17. Icon: Experiment Experiment: Other Tools
    Try out the rest of Paint's tools - Fill, Shapes, Lines, Eraser.
    You can look at Paint's Help information if you get stuck.
  18. Create a drawing that includes your name one or more times and uses at least two text colors, two fonts, at least one shape, and a background color that is not white. Your picture should NOT match the example below.

    Example: (Win8) Using fonts, font size, text color, background color, shape, eraser.

    Paint image using name, colors, fonts, shape, custom color (Win8)

Save a Picture

  1. Icon: Class disk Insert the Class disk into the drive if it is not already there. 
  2. Save the file:
    Icon: WinXP Icon: Windows Vista WinXP, Vista:
    From the menu bar select  File  >  Save .

    Menu: File > Save (PaintP (WinXP)
    Icon: Win7 Win7: Click the Paint button Paint button (Paint) (Win7) Then choose Save  on the menu that appears.

    Menu: Paint button (Win7)

    Icon: Win7 Icon: Win8.1 Win8, Win8.1: Click the File ribbon tab and then the command Save.

    Menu: File > Save (Win8)

    Dialog: Save As (Win8)Since the picture has never been saved before, the Save As dialog box appears. The default file type is PNG in recent versions of Paint.

    The default folder for WinXP is Desktop. The default folder for Vista, Win7, and Win8 is the Pictures folder in your personal folders. That makes sense since you are saving a picture.

    But, Paint remembers the last location you used.

  3. Instead of maneuvering through the folder tree to your Class drive, type in the File name text box the full path to where the file should go, using the letter for your removable disk drive:

     e:\my docs\paint docs\myname.bmp

    (Type this exactly as written here or copy and paste it, except use the correct drive letter for your own removable disk. Yes, the path is wrong on purpose!)

    Message: Path does not exist (Win8)Error: An error message appears saying either that the path you typed does not exist or that the file name is invalid.

    The problem is that we previously renamed the folder paint docs to win project2 so part of the path does not exist.

    Many programs will, instead of this error message, ask if you want to create the missing folder. A very useful feature! Paint is not that cooperative. You must create the folder yourself.

    Other error messages:

    • File name not valid: This message might mean that you have tried to use an illegal character in the file's name or path. But it can also mean that Windows just cannot find the location.
    • Message: Drive does not exist (Win8)No such drive: You type a drive letter that does not match any of the drives on the computer. The message will say that the path is not valid or that the drive does not exist.
    • Message: Unable to read Drive A (WinXP)No media in the drive: There is no disk in the drive. The message says that Windows is unable to read the drive.

    WarningSpaces and spelling: These are important in file names! It is easy to make a mistake with spaces!

    TipWork around for path with spaces: When you are using an application that doesn't like spaces in the name, put quotes " " around the whole path like: "e:\my docs\paint docs\myname.bmp".  

  4. Left click Click the OK button in the error message.  
  5. To edit the path, Left click click in the space between the words  paint  and  docs  in the File name text box.  
  6. Press the DELETE key enough times to erase the word  docs .  
  7. Press the BACKSPACE key enough times to remove the word  paint .  
  8. Type  win project2 
    This folder was created on your Class disk in a previous lesson so it should be there!  
  9. If necessary, select the file type 24-bit Bitmap(*.bmp, *.dip) from the drop list.
    Paint remembers the last file type you used.
    This file format is not normally the best choice because the file size will be larger than with other formats that Paint can use. In the next lesson you will use this file while learning how to reduce the file size.
  10. Left click Click on the Save button.
    Icon: TroubleProblem: Error message appears again after entering the correct path
    Solution: Close the Save As dialog and start over, typing in the correct path this time.

    WarningFile Size: If your canvas is really large and you are saving in a BMP format, the file can be really large. Will it fit on your disk? If you get a message that there is not enough space on your disk, use the technique in the section Resize Canvas above to reduce the canvas to a more reasonable size.  

  11. Close Paint for now.
    Your creative image is safely stored on your Class disk.