Everyone 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!!
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!
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!
Step-by-Step: Create & Save Image
|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
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!
When 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.
The size of the window and the size of the blank canvas depend on their sizes the last time Paint was used.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For experience, let's see what happens if you type more letters.
Open the Start menu or Start screen again.
Slowly type the whole word paint in the Search
As you type each letter, watch how the results list changes.
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.
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!
Return to the Desktop:
Vista, Win7: Press the ESC key at the upper left of your keyboard to close the Start
Win8, Win8.1: Press the Windows key to close the search results. Press the Windows key again to return to the Desktop.
Paint is still open from your earlier work.
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!
Resize the white canvas by dragging on the tiny handles at the right and bottom edges of the canvas to make the drawing area the size that you want to work in.
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.
Vista, Win7: On the menu, select View and then Zoom and then an appropriate percentage.
Win8, Win8.1: Use the Zoom slide on the Status bar to reduce the size in the window.
Make your box large. Your name must fit inside!
Release the mouse button.
A Text toolbar appears.
Text toolbar does not appear.
Solution: Select from the menu > .
Win7, Win8, Win8.1: A new ribbon tab, Text Tools: Text, appears on the ribbon.
Your pointer turns to a vertical line cursor to show where your typing will appear.
Text 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!
does not fit on canvas
Solution: 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.
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 > , and press the DELETE key to remove everything from the canvas. Enlarge the canvas as necessary. Then drag a larger box, and try again.
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
Many 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!
Undo 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.
No 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.
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.
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.
From the menu bar select > .
Win7: Click the Paint button Then chooseon the menu that appears.
Win8, Win8.1: Click the File ribbon tab and then the command .
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.
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!)
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:
Spaces and spelling: These are important in file names! It is easy to make a mistake with spaces!
Work 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".
File 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.