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How To Use Microsoft Paint Shapes

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms, Photo Editing

Thom from Connecticut writes.

This is for Cynthia. You are to be commended for the straight forward and complete answers you give to your readers.  They are extremely helpful to us senior citizens (77 year-old) who may not be computer savvy. The graphics you include make it very helpful to see exactly what you are talking about. I’m interested in just how you include these graphics, including arrows, pointing to a selection in a drop-down menu.  They are fantastic. Keep up the great work and tell Steve that I for one, believe you deserve a raise.

Cheers . . .


Thom, you flatterer, you. You know how to ask a question. The answer is that I use the most basic of programs called Paint. If you have a Windows system, it’s most likely right there in your accessories. To find it, look in your Accessories file or just type Paint in your search box or search charm.

Click on the icon for Paint in the search results.

This program should open.

Paint will allow you to view images and also to crop them do some basic editing. You can also create drawings. But most people can’t be like the guy in this story, who created masterpieces.

Here’s how I use Paint when I’m working on an article. Let’s say I’m writing a tip about Internet Explorer and I want to point out something on Settings drop-down menu. I would pull up the image I want and then press the Ctrl key + PrtScn key. I would click on the screen in Paint and press Ctrl + V or right click and select past. A shot of the entire screen that was displayed will appear in Paint.

Since I don’t want to display the entire image in my article, I will need to crop it. For this purpose I will grab the little Select box up top, right under View.

I draw a little box around the area I wish to use for the image.

Then choose crop.

I could not rotate or resize the image if I needed to.  In this case, It looks fine the way it is.

To add a shape, such as an arrow, I would select it from the Shapes menu at the top.  I can choose from squares, triangles, stars, arrows and thought and speech bubbles.

Once the shape is selected, I can choose options for the shape like outlined or filled and make it look like a marker or oil painting. I can also select size and color for the shape. 

When I have customized what the shape will look like, I move my cursor to where I want the shape and Paint “draws” it for me while I click and drag.

I can make the shape as large or small as I like.  Another fun use for paint shapes: speech bubbles on photos!

Just click on the text tool up top and then back on your speech bubble to add words.

~ Cynthia

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12 Responses to “How To Use Microsoft Paint Shapes”

  1. Bill says:

    Another excellent tip, Cynthia. Also a great reminder that we don’t always have to buy a whole bunch of 3rd party applications every time we want to do something.

  2. MarkJ says:

    Loved the last picture, though the orginal quote was “Help me …”.

    Keep up the good work, your articles are generally spot on.

  3. Thom McMahon says:

    If 100% is the best one can do, you deserve 150%. I appreciate and thank you for the complete answer — with your usual graphics. Your answer to my question could not be more percise. Tell Steve to give you 2 raises. On behalf of your readers, keep up the GREAT! work. Again Thanks.
    Cheers . . .

  4. Claude Green says:

    I thought that this 101 article was GREAT. It was well balanced in details and easy enough that one with only basic computer skills could easily follow along. Merry Christmas. Claude

  5. George Bachmann says:

    WOW! I’m a long time reader of your tips. Always thought this was some expensive Photoshop type program. Thanks for your great tips that are easy to understand.

  6. Mike Coloma says:

    WOW! Great tip. This gives me a place to start adventuring in Paint.
    Thank you.

  7. K.Vee.Shanker. says:

    It’s fact that sometimes what we choose for solving a problem actually makes the situation worse.I really want to appreciate that Cynthia includes the potential consequences of our choices too in her tips.It’s a value addition – I love!

  8. Mac says:

    Where can I find all of your Paint tips?
    Thank you,

  9. KD says:

    “Snipping Tool” is easier to use than using “Print Screen” to choose a small portion of the display.

    C:\Windows\System 32\SnippingTool.exe

  10. Anne says:

    Snipping Tool does not work for capturing dropdown menus — you have to use screen capture for this.

  11. Windy Hedding says:

    Just wondering if you can change a bunch of (lets say) blocks that are green to blue . In photo shop, it is called continguous.

    Love your teaching us how to use paint.

  12. Barbara B Pickett says:

    Ditto what everyone else said!
    Thanks for the good job you do.

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