Paint.NET review

Perfect your photos with this feature-packed free editor

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Our Verdict

Paint.NET is a fully-featured alternative to more complex and hard-to-grasp image editors like GIMP. Its simplicity is its core strength, but it also contains advanced features that help you create better images.

For

  • Advanced editing with levels and curves
  • Supports plugins

Against

  • Not powerful enough to replace PhotoShop

Paint.NET is a powerful, easy-to-use image editor that offers features similar to those that you’ll find in Adobe Photoshop and GIMP.

Paint.NET features layers, enabling you to edit specific areas of your image, or build up an image from a number of different sections.

Paint.NET

Where to download: https://www.getpaint.net/

Type: Photo editor

Developer: dotPDN LLC

Operating system: Windows

Version: 4

You can also use Paint.NET to adjust an image's brightness, hue, contrast, curves, saturation and levels, not mention an array of special effects that can blur, sharpen, distort, emboss and remove that pesky red-eye effect from your photos with a few clicks. There’s a Gradient tool too, a simple text editor, a powerful zoom function, and even a Clone Stamp tool to help you clean up grainy photos.

If that's not enough, you can extend Paint.NET with downloadable extensions. The only limit is your creativity.

User experience

Paint.NET's interface will be familiar to anyone who's used Adobe Photoshop or other premium photo editors, but it's intuitive enough for complete newcomers to grasp quickly. All the common tools are presented as icons in panel on the left, with filters and other adjustments in drop-down menus along the top.

Once your photos are looking good, you can get creative with Instagram-style vintage effects using the vignette and sepia filters to give a retro look.

Paint.NET includes advanced manual color correction tools and filters, with support for plugins

Paint.NET also supports user-created plugins, which add even more filters and functions. We're particularly fond of the Liquify extension, which lets you warp images just like the Photoshop tool of the same name and is ideal for fine-tuning portrait photos.

Best of all, Paint.NET records every change you make in a list that's only limited by the space on your hard drive, and lets you undo and redo as many changes as you want at any time.

Latest updates

The latest version of Paint.NET fixes an issue that causes the program to crash when copying and pasting images from some web browsers. For a full list of all changes, see the Paint.NET change log.

The competition

GIMP

An enormously powerful free photo editor that gives premium software a real run for its money. GIMP is packed with advanced tools and plugins.

PhotoScape

An unusual looking free photo editor packed with unusual but thoughtfully crafted tools for tasks like creating panoramas and animated GIFs.

Google Nik Collection

A hugely impressive set of filters that can be used as Photoshop plugins, or on their own. The collection once retailed for US$500, but is now free.