10 Best Free Microsoft Paint Alternatives For Windows

By | April 18, 2022

Want to switch from Microsoft Paint to another image editor? You can’t go wrong with any of these great alternatives.

Microsoft officially discontinued Paint in July 2017. The app hasn’t been updated since Windows 7, so that’s not new news.

While Paint is still available through the Windows Store, Microsoft is now focusing on the app’s successor, Paint 3D. Maybe, it’s time to start looking for free MS Paint alternatives?

Here are some of the best alternatives to Microsoft Paint for you to check out.

Paint.NET

Paint.NET started life as a student project in 2004, but has since grown to become one of the best free image editors on the Windows operating system.

If you’re just a light user, it’s even a valid alternative to full suites like Photoshop and GIMP.

If you’re coming from Microsoft Paint, one of the biggest things you want is familiarity, and Paint.NET has that in abundance. The main screen looks a lot like Microsoft apps. Dig a little deeper, however, and it’s packed with features that make the app shine.

They include Photoshop like layers, a plethora of special effects, unlimited undo/redo, various tools for drawing shapes, and importantly for many users, almost endless plugins.

To give you an idea, the community-supported PDF document listing all the plugins is 95 pages! If that sounds too scary, don’t worry. You can download the most popular plugin packs centered around a specific theme (e.g. brushes, colors, and additional effects). Some plugins even have installers.

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 key 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 grayscale and other color palettes.

IrfanView also offers some functionality that is missing in Paint but 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.

Ask

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice Pinta looks instantly familiar. Why? Because it is based on Paint.NET discussed earlier.

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

However, just because it’s not the same as Paint.NET, don’t delete it. 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 up any window to make it float, and even use a combination of docked and floating windows to suit your needs.

Krita

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

If you choose to download the app, you can enjoy some useful features that are not in Paint. They include a quick color picker (just right-click on a color to select it), brush stabilizers (perfect if you’re doing basic drawing with the mouse), and vector layers, filters, groups, and files.

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

Photoscape

Photoscape is another best alternative to Paint. This app is mainly focused on photo editing. If you use Microsoft Paint to edit the photos you take, it’s the perfect replacement.

Many of the tools it offers are photo-oriented and not in 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 RAW format to JPEG or split your photos into parts.

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

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

Photographer

Fotor made its name as a cloud-based image editor, but nowadays you can download the software as a standalone Windows application that works offline.

Like Photoscape, photo editing is Fotor’s advantage, but it also works well for editing screenshots and other images. The app can make simple adjustments like resizing and cropping, includes hundreds of free fonts, and offers shape-drawing tools. It also has some basic touch tools.

Fotor is completely 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 plethora of stickers and photo frames, professional-grade repair tools, and an ad-free experience.

Download: Fotor (Free, subscription available)

Pixlr

Pixlr designs are like Photoshop rather than Paint. However, if you take a little time to learn how to use the app, you’ll quickly find out that 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.

If you don’t want Microsoft Paint on your system anymore, why bother cluttering your hard drive with more junk? You can use online photo editor, and Pixlr is one of the best.

But you should only consider Pixlr if you have a reliable web connection; it’s useless without one.

GIMP

If you’re looking for more power than Paint has to offer, GIMP is definitely worth considering.

This app will appeal to graphic designers, photographers and illustrators. It supports layers, channels, and includes advanced image manipulation tools such as hue, saturation, levels, curves, and exposure controls.

GIMP also has an extensive plugin library. They allow you to customize the application so that it meets your needs perfectly. GIMP is open source and has an active community behind it. It has helped him stay as one best alternative to Adobe Photoshop.

MyPaint

MyPaint is a free alternative to Paint aimed at digital painters. The special focus of canvas-based apps is on full-screen work. This lets you work in a distraction-free way so you can focus on the art itself rather than the app.

The brushes in the app can imitate charcoal, pencil, ink, and paint, but you can also create new brushes to suit your needs.

Apart from Windows, this app works on Wacom drawing tablets.

Photopea

Like Pixlr, Photopea is an online Microsoft Paint alternative. It supports several file types, including the more professional ones you’re more likely to use, such as PSD, XCF, Sketch, XD, and CDR.

Photopea is more complicated than Paint, so while it’s an excellent app, beginners might find it advanced for their skill level. However, if you are comfortable with Photoshop, you will quickly adapt.

Try More Image Editors Like Paint

If you’re preparing to move away from Microsoft Paint, you can’t go wrong with using one of these Paint alternatives.

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

If you want to learn more about photo and image editors, make sure you read our article on how to edit photos on Mac.

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