What is Paint.NET Photo Editing Software?

The paint.net is a freeware graphics editor program for MS Windows, developed on the .NET Framework. It was created by Rick Brewster as a Washington State University student project and has evolved from a simple replacement for the Microsoft Paint program into an editor with support for layers, blending transparency, and plugins. It is a great tool for people looking for freelance graphic design jobs.

The Software Details

Paint.NET is a perfect freeware with a very high standard and good features. It has an automatic update feature so you can always be sure you are working with the latest version. Though it is maintained by community developers, there is still a dedicated team looking after this software and they publish regular updates. The program has a large and active following, and there is a range of helpful hints, tips, and tutorials to be found in the Paint.NET forums. It may well be the only image editor you ever need.

The software development of this tool was mainly done using the C# programming language. Its image format used by this tool, PDN is a compressed representation of the internal format helping to preserve layering and other information. Except the installer, text, and graphics; paint.net was a fully open source software earlier. Later, due to breaches of license, all resource files are now under the Creative Commons license forbidding modification.

Paint.NET is a full-featured image editing program that gives you tons of tools to work with through an intuitive and streamlined interface. Whether you want to make a touch-up before you share any photo with friends or you need high-quality images for another type of project, this program provides all such facilities.

What’s new in Paint.NET 4.0.13:

  • The ‘missing API DLL’ error that was seen on some Windows 7 systems due to partial install or uninstall of Microsoft’s Universal C Runtime is no more there
  • The layout for the various menu options in all known situations was an issue, which is fixed
  • The issue of old versions of PSD plugin couldn’t load due to removal of PrivateThreadPool is fixed
  • No more crash when typing a negative number for a zoom level


The program has a beautifully clean and uncluttered interface, with tabbed files access making it easy to work with multiple images at the same time. One advantage over commercial tools like Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop Elements is that it’s lightning fast, although for higher versions you need a dual-core processor to go with Windows 7 or later to run it.

You’ll find the usual options spread across the tool’s menu bar. The standard options are File, Edit, Image, View, Adjustments, Effects, Utilities, Windows, and Help. Unusual for free photo editing applications is the inclusion of different layers, as it is an advanced feature that Picasa and Windows Live Photo Gallery do not possess. It has a web-browser like a tabbed interface, which users liked a lot.

When you click a thumbnail, it opens it in the main editing area. If you have more than nine thumbnails, you can click a blue arrow to cycle through the rest, or another one that opens a drop-down menu of those same images. It is a nice feature to jump between the various photos you may want to edit at once.

Support for Layers:

With support for layers and many image formats, everything you need to get started with image editing is here. A selection of filters and special effects are there in Paint.NET, and these can be used to enhance the image or to get creative with your artwork. The program has all you need in an image editing package, but you get surprised with many features considering that it is a freeware. The gradient tool is powerful and easy to use, and unlimited levels of going backward make it possible to try out new ideas without worrying about losing your original image. A freelance designer can find this feature very interesting for immediate implementation in the projects.

Image Import

Importing images into Paint.net is simple. With file-open you can import JPG and PNG files using a standard dialog box. The file-acquire option lets you import photos from a digital camera. You have an option to drag a group of pics onto its window. Unlike some other photo editing applications that double as a photo organizer, Paint.net doesn’t have options to rate, tag, or geo tag images.

Edits and Effects

Paint.net includes brushes for drawing shapes and a curve tool for penning splines or Bezier curves. The program also includes Magic Wand, and Clone Stamp, useful tools for making quick, broad edits. You have option of highlighting the matching blues and yellows in a superhero costume, which made it easy to apply shadow and lighting effects.

Basic Output, No Sharing

The editor lets you send a photo to a printer, you can’t export it to a Web destination like Flickr. You can, however, save photos in a variety of formats like BMP, JPG, PNG, TGA and some more. That should be good enough for most users, but if you want to handle some raw files, you’ll have to look for another tool.


The Paint.net supports various plugins, which add image adjustments, effects, and support for additional file types. Programming more plugins are possible using any.NET coding language, though they are in C#. The volunteers are creating and maintaining these plugins on the program’s discussion board, the paint.net Forum. Though most get published via the discussion board, some have reached to the later release of the program. With every new software, it opens new gates for freelance web developers.


Paint.net is currently having a position in between very basic image manipulation applications like Microsoft Paint and robust giants like Photoshop. It’s not meant to stand in as a free substitute for Photoshop aims to fill those shoes. If you need a user-friendly photo editor which is free to use, then Paint.net is a solid selection, if you can overlook some of the shortcomings. You can download and start practicing this tool which has got multiple good reviews on the internet.