How to get started with Microsoft Paint 3D

Ready to try the very latest Windows features before the paint has even dried?

Want to try out all the new features coming to Windows 10 before they’re released? Instead of waiting until early 2017 for the Creators Update, you could sign up to the Windows Insider program and try out the latest improvements, like the new Microsoft Paint 3D app, right now. 

You can’t run Paint 3D on just any version of Windows 10, so if you want to experiment with creating and editing 3D images in this fun new tool, we’ll show you how to opt in to these previews. Just remember – you’ll get to have a go with things that aren’t quite finished.

In the second part of this guide, coming soon, we'll explain how to create your own 3D scenes with Paint 3D's toolkit.

To try new features and apps before their final release, you'll need to join the Windows Insider Program. Start by logging in using your Microsoft account

1. Join the Windows Insider Program

Visit http://insider.windows.com and click 'Get Started'. If you’re already using a Microsoft Account - because you use Microsoft services like OneDrive or Outlook.com or Xbox Live - you’ll be able to sign in with that, as long as it’s set to US, UK, Canada English, Australia or New Zealand; if not, you can make an account now and sign in with it. You’ll see your name appear in the top right corner of the screen. You’ll have to use that same account to sign in to Windows on your PC as well.

Before you can start using Insider builds, make sure you have the Windows Anniversary Update installed

2. Turn on Insider builds

Before you can start getting the preview versions (Microsoft calls them ‘builds’) as an Insider, you need to be running the Anniversary Update that came out in July. If you’re not sure whether you have it, you can run the Update Assistant to check (download the Update Assistant from Microsoft if you need it). If you need to install the Anniversary Update, you’ll have to restart your PC as part of the process. Once you’re up to date, open the Settings app – the little cog on the Start menu – and choose Update and Security > Windows Insider Program, then click Getting Started.

Make sure you read all the warnings - Insider builds are usually stable enough for everyday use, but they aren't finished

3. Read the warnings

The next thing you’ll see is a series of warnings; you’ll want to read them carefully, because if you change your mind about running Insider builds, this is the last point when you can cancel without having to do any extra work (later on, you might have to install Windows again to turn them off). The Insider builds are usually reliable enough to use on your main computer, but they aren’t finished and you’re helping test them in exchange for being able to give Microsoft feedback about the way new features should work, so there will be times when not everything will work properly. 

You'll be prompted to restart your PC after consenting to using Insider builds of Windows

4. Restart and sign in

After you’ve clicked through the warnings, you have to restart your PC before you start getting Insider builds to download. If you’re ready to do that now, click Restart Now; if not, click Restart Later and Windows will restart automatically (if you choose that, make sure to look at the next step).

When your PC restarts, you’ll need to sign in with the same Microsoft account that you used to become a Windows Insider; if you don’t already use that as your Windows account, go to Settings > Accounts and add it to your local account before you restart.

Choose when to receive new updates. Faster updates mean you get to try features sooner, but they are likely to contain more bugs

5. Choose your speed

When your PC restarts, go back to Settings > Update and Security > Windows Insider Program and you’ll see a new option marked Choose your Insider level. Use this to pick whether you want get the latest and greatest features, even if they’re not always stable (Fast ring), or if you’d rather wait a little longer for new releases (Slow ring). That way, you’ll get features that Insiders on the Fast ring have already tested and Microsoft has fixed any problems they find. Don’t choose Release Preview or you won’t see new features like Paint 3D until right before the Creators Update is available.

You'll be receiving regular updates to Windows, so make sure they only happen when it's convenient for you

6. Get ready to install and restart

Once you choose either Fast or Slow ring, Windows will run a Compatibility Check in the background; you won’t see this happen unless there are any problems that would stop your PC running Insider builds. Then your PC will download the next Insider build; it can take up to 24 hours for that to start, but usually it starts much sooner. Getting Insider builds means your PC will restart more often to install them; use Settings > Windows Update > Change active hours to tell Windows the best time to do that.  Your version of Windows will let you choose either 12 or 18 hours when you’re likely to be busy. 

If you have a new Insider build, Paint 3D will be installed already. If not, you can get it from the Windows Store

7. Get Paint 3D

Once your PC has installed the Insider build and restarted, look at the bottom right corner of the desktop; you’ll see a watermark that tells you which build you’re running. As long as you have at least Build 14901, you can go to the Windows Store and search for Paint 3D to install it (or go to it directly). If you do that without being in the Insider program, you’ll see a Join Now button instead of an Install button. And if you have Build 14971 or higher, you don’t need to do anything – Paint 3D will be installed for you already. Look for Paint 3D Preview on the Recently added list at the top of the Start menu.

With Paint 3D successfully installed, you're ready to start browsing the tutorials and learning how to use it

Get started with Paint 3D

Paint 3D's welcome screen has links to tutorials and videos to help you get started, and we’ve got our own tutorial as well. One thing to remember is that once you’ve installed the Paint 3D app, the icon that used to open the Paint application will now open Paint 3D instead. Even the Open with icon on the Explorer toolbar will open your files in Paint 3D instead – although every now and then, the old version of Paint might appear instead. Remember, this is still a work in progress; if that happens, just choose Paint 3D from the Start menu.