Paint.NET: a free image editing software, with many handy features


Paint.NET is a free image editing software, with many handy features. The program was developed at Washington State University along with the help of Microsoft, and was initially intended as a free replacement for Microsoft Paint.


  • Editing with layers
  • plug-in support
  • many tools and filters


  • some formats need plug-ins

Paint.NET – makes image editing a breeze

The Paint.NET download shines with a clear and chic interface. The freeware offers far more functions than many competitors, including features that are otherwise only offered by more expensive commercial products. For example, Paint.NET gives users the ability to work with multiple layers, use professional graphics tools, or apply effects to images.

Paint.NET: Plug-ins for more functions

Thanks to numerous plug-ins, the free program can also be greatly expanded. For example, with the Paint.NET PSD plug-in, you can even open Photoshop files with multiple layers. You can also use 8BF-based plug-ins, which are often used in Photoshop, with the 8BF plug-in.

Many file formats are supported

In addition to the program’s own PDN format, other common image types are of course supported. These include BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG, TIF, TGA and DDS. Others, however, can be retrofitted.

Free image editing with various functions

With the help of a gradation curve Paint.NET can also correct tonal values of photos. Furthermore, the image editing software can correct incorrect white balance, for example, as well as remove red eyes and add effects. Optimizing photos in Paint.NET is not limited to a single project. Several editing projects can be carried out in parallel, which are opened in several tabs. Each of them is equipped with a preview image of the respective project, which provides more clarity.

Painting and drawing functions in abundance

Beyond the functions for optimizing photos, Paint.NET offers many functions that can be helpful when painting and drawing. For example, you can use various selection tools to mark areas of an image so that you can then cut or copy them and paste them elsewhere. This is also possible beyond the project boundary in another image project. In addition, various pen and brush tools can be used to create your own creations. Even text can be inserted into photos and drawings with the freeware, for example to add a copyright notice. A layer function is on board, as it is also known from Gimp and Photoshop. So you can make changes that always affect only the selected image layer, but not the entire project. The layers can be switched off and on, so that you can always see the difference to the original image or other editing steps.

Software with image export

Finished projects can be exported from Paint.NET in many different file formats. The software supports the formats TGA, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, BMP and GIF. Files in these formats can also be handled by other image editing programs. In addition, there is the “in-house” format PDN. If you save an image version as PDN, all layers are preserved, so you can edit them later in Paint.NET. Saving in PNG format, merges all layers into one, so that later separate editing is no longer possible.

Importing Photoshop files

Adobe Photoshop is not supported by Paint.NET. However, you can help yourself with a PSD plug-in for Paint.NET. After installing it and restarting Paint.NET, it is possible to open Photoshop files in PSD format directly with Paint.NET.

Improvements in version 4

With version 4, Paint.NET supports multiple processor hardware cores and also uses a new, more efficient rendering engine. In addition, there continue to be new features, effects as well as improvements to the software via the updates, which can be found in the changelog on the manufacturer’s site.

.NET and support

The software for Microsoft Windows originally comes from Washington State University and requires the .NET Framework, which is installed with the installation of the graphics program, if the version is not yet available on the computer used.


As freeware, Paint.NET joins genre colleagues such as GIMP or PhotoScape and thus represents an interesting alternative to commercial competitors such as Adobe Photoshop. Although Paint.NET for Microsoft Windows cannot compete with the paid professional version Photoshop in terms of functionality and rendering power, there are also plug-ins for Paint.NET that extend the software’s functions.

Those who only want to edit images can usually fall back on the free Classic version, which is sufficient for simple photo corrections. The freeware does not differ in terms of functions from the version that can be purchased online in the Microsoft Windows Store.

Michael Humpa

I'm Michael Humpa, author of the Novilabmobile website, writing reviews of popular programs on the Internet for you.