Freeware / Windows · January 5, 2007 2

Paint.NET – A Free Open-Source Photo Editor (Alternative to PhotoShop)

Paint.NET has been in existence for quite a while and I’ve been following the development version by version since it’s inception. While at the beginning it served as an extremely good replacement for the standard MS Paint it’s evolved to be a really powerful tool that provides you with a good array of features of PhotoShop without paying a penny.

The origins of the software can be traced back to an undergraduate college senior design project under the guidance of Microsoft. As of now it’s being maintained and further developed by some of the original authors of the project.

Operability wise this tool should get an A+ … it’s that simple yet effective for most of the everyday photo editing jobs. Another plus factor is that it’s far more compact and faster loading than PhotoShop and the likes.

Paint.NET Screenshot


  • Interface similar to MS Paint
  • Support for Layers
  • Shapes & Curve Tools
  • Gradient Tool
  • Magic Wand
  • Text Addition/Editing Tool
  • Zooming upto 3200%
  • 3D Rotating & Zooming that adds perspective & tilting to an image
  • Recolouring
  • Adjustment tools for Brightness, Contrast, Hue, Saturation, Curves and Levels
  • A bunch of special effects tools like Blurring, Sharpening, Red-eye Removal, Noise and Embossing.
  • Tools to render an image in Black & White or Sepia Tone

The software has been primarily written using C# on Microsoft’s .NET Framework and currently needs .NET 2.0 installed to run. A little C++ has been used for shell integration and the installer of the software. The freely downloadable source code is definitely worth a thorough study for any coding enthusiast.

The tool is immensely extensible with the help of plug-ins. A whole bunch of such ready-made plug-ins (many of them comparable with PhotoShop Effects Plug-ins) are available for download from Paint.NET Plug-ins Forum.

Currently a Stable Version 2.72 and a Beta 3 Version of Paint.NET v3 are available for download.

I highly recommend this tool. You should try it out today.

Get Paint.NET: