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Paint.NET 3.5.10 on Windows 8
Basic data

Maintainer Rick Brewster
developer dotPDN LLC
Publishing year May 6, 2004
Current  version 4.2.13
( August 4, 2020 )
operating system Windows 7 SP1
and higher
programming language C #
category Graphics software
License Proprietary
Paint.NET license
German speaking Yes

Paint.NET is image editing software for Microsoft Windows that was developed by Washington State University and Microsoft .

Originally intended as a simple, free alternative to Microsoft Paint , the software now also offers more sophisticated functions, such as working with layers . The operation of Paint.NET is based on the market leader Adobe Photoshop .

Paint.NET was released in 2004 as open source software under the MIT license . Since version 3.5 Paint.NET is no longer open source, but freeware .


Paint.NET was originally planned as a small student project for spring 2004. Rick Brewster, one of the main developers , writes on his blog that version 1.0 was written from approximately 36,000 lines of C # code within four months .

In the autumn semester of 2004, versions 1.1 and 2.0 were published. The development is being continued today by three programmers who now work for Microsoft . Two of them are Rick Brewster and Tom Jackson, who worked on Paint.NET as students at Washington State University .

Paint.NET version 2.72, which was published on August 31, 2006, as well as earlier versions, can still run under Windows 2000 .

Version 3.0 was released on January 26, 2007, which supports Chinese, French, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish in addition to the German and English languages ​​that were already available in version 2.72. A month later, on February 26th, version 3.01 was released, which fixed some bugs from version 3.0.

A new version was released on March 29th. With version 3.05 two new functions were introduced: Under Windows Vista the appearance of the program can be changed and there is a new effect called “Pencil Sketch”. Version 3.07, which was released on May 8, 2007, offers new functions in the area of ​​lines, which makes it easier to create simple arrows or similar. Version 3.10 was released on August 23, 2007.

Version 3.20 was released on December 12, 2007. It summarizes the "effects" in the program better and more clearly, which makes Paint.NET very similar to Adobe Photoshop . There are also some new effects and the functions for marking certain areas / locations have been expanded.

On February 29, 2008, Paint.NET version 3.30 Beta 1 was released. It includes some new features. Files in PNG format can now be saved in either 8-, 24- or 32-bit mode. You can now choose between 8- and 24-bit mode for files of the type BMP. The option of automatic selection is also available for the file formats PNG, BMP and TGA. So the program itself chooses the best option for storing the files. The “Polar Inversion” effect has been improved. Paint.NET is also now available in Italian. The final version was available for download on April 10th. Up to version 3.36 minor bugs from version 3.30 have been fixed and some features have been changed or further improved.

On December 30, 2008, it was announced, initially without further explanation, that the source code was no longer available. In a blog entry on November 6, 2009, this was justified by the fact that the source code was often copied and the program was sold under a new name, often commercially.

On November 7, 2009, the unplanned version 3.5 was released as a transition to version 4.0. In addition to improved performance, this offers an improved updater and some new effects. The look has also been optimized for Windows Vista and Windows 7. For the first time, .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 is mandatory for installation.

From version 3.5.5 onwards, at least Windows XP SP3 is required, from version 4.0 onwards at least Windows 7 SP1 and .NET Framework 4.5. From version 4.0.7 the .NET Framework 4.6 is required, from version 4.0.20 the .NET Framework 4.7.


Paint.NET masters layer editing and also offers an "infinite history" ( Undo ), which makes it possible to undo all work steps at any time, as well as other special effects.

Plug-ins & tutorials

A graphic
created with the
Shape3D plug-in

There are a number of plug-ins that have been made available. They can be downloaded from the official forum (part of the website). These add new effects or the ability to use new file formats. For example, after installing a plug-in, users have the option to use (edit) and save Adobe Photoshop (PSD) files.

There are a number of tutorials available on the forum by users or developers.

File format

By default, Paint.NET saves images in PDN (PaintDotNet) format. This is a proprietary file format without compression and data loss, the layers created in a Paint.NET graphic are retained. The PDN format is not supported by other image processing programs; it is primarily intended for further processing of graphics and images. The IrfanView image viewer can display images in PDN format (composite image and individual layers).

The software also supports the following image formats: BMP , JPG , GIF , TIF , PNG and TGA . The DirectDraw Surface (DDS) format has been supported since version 3.10 . About Plug-ins still more file formats can be read and written (for example, PSD ).



Paint.NET received the “Webuser Gold Award 2006” from the British web magazine “Webuser”. In all parts of the rating, the software received five out of five stars. A quote from the review reads:

"... an absolute joy to use."

"... an absolute pleasure to use it [this program]."

- Mark Wilson

Paint.NET was ranked 19th among the top 100 products in 2007 in the computer magazine PC World .



- PC World


One criticism of Paint.NET is that there is no offline help available. Help is only available online and in English. The program also has no function of its own for printing the documents, but uses the Windows printing help. Paint.NET also “forgets” any color information for pixels that were painted in transparency-supporting formats with full transparency. In this case, the color channels are set to (0, 0, 0) (black). You can see no difference in normal image processing, but with textures in 3D graphics that use transparency (for example font glyphs), black borders can be seen due to the fast interpolation methods of modern hardware.

Technical requirements

Since the software is based on Microsoft's .NET Framework and requires its installation, it can only be run under Windows .

Under the project name Paint-Mono , efforts began in 2007 to port the software to the free .NET implementation Mono and thus make it run on other operating systems. However, no updates have been published since March 2009.

Web links

Commons :  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Rick Brewster. In: GitHub . Retrieved July 21, 2017 .
  2. dotPDN LLC. dotPDN LLC, accessed January 2, 2010 .
  3. . 4th August 2020.
  4. License. In: Retrieved July 21, 2017 .
  5. a b Rick Brewster: A new license for Paint.NET v3.5. dotPDN LLC, November 6, 2009, accessed January 2, 2010 .
  6. ^ Rick Brewster: The source code is not available. dotPDN LLC, December 30, 2008, accessed April 20, 2010 .
  7. Paint.NET - Roadmap and Change Log. dotPDN LLC, accessed January 2, 2010 .
  8. Paint.NET Blog - Paint.NET v3.5.5 is now available. dotPDN LLC, April 26, 2010, accessed April 26, 2010 .
  9. Paint.NET Blog - 4.0 is now available! dotPDN LLC, June 24, 2014, accessed December 13, 2016 .
  10. Paint.NET Blog - 4.0.7 is now available. dotPDN LLC, December 30, 2015, accessed December 13, 2016 .
  11. 4.0.20 and .NET 4.7 . In: blog . October 24, 2017 ( [accessed December 18, 2017]).
  12. Mark Wilson: Paint.NET v3.0. (No longer available online.) In: Webuser Software Reviews. IPC Media Limited, April 14, 2007, archived from the original on December 3, 2015 ; accessed on January 2, 2010 (English).
  13. Eric Dahl: In Pictures: The Top 20 Products of the Year. PC World Communications, Inc., May 21, 2007, accessed January 2, 2010 .
  14. Jens Ihlenfeld: Paint-Mono - Paint.Net for Linux & Co. On: , December 24, 2007. Retrieved on July 17, 2019
  15. ^ Paint-Mono . In: GitHub . Retrieved July 17, 2019