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The Hirsute One
Hairy but harmless

Joined: 20 Jul 2006
Posts: 17168
Location: Croydon, Surrey, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:34 am    Post subject: Introduction Reply with quote

is the basic graphics program that has been included with all Windows operating systems since 3.1. Besides being used to create original artwork, it offers some useful tools for manipulating image-based puzzles. It doesn't have the depth of after market products such as Paint Shop Pro but is still quite versatile and nearly all the images used on this site can be successfully investigated and resolved with this simple package.

With the introduction of Windows 7 the package was upgraded and this latest version is the subject of this tutorial but nearly all functions are available in earlier versions.

One of the additions I found very useful is the Quick Access Toolbar where you can select certain functions to have readily available such as the Undo or Save As... buttons.

In the following sections, you will find some Frequently Asked Questions and troubleshooting tips for people who are not yet familiar with the program. Please note that all these FAQs relate to Windows and Internet Explorer - they may not apply to other operating systems. References to the left and right mouse buttons assume a standard mouse and not one that has been modified for left-handed users.


The latest version of has been redesigned and features various tabs which are each divided into separate toolbars.

The first tab is the "Paint" tab - hovering over this will bring up a tooltip explaining the functions. Clicking on it reveals the following drop down menu.

These items are all self explanatory and you will notice that it also lists your last 9 opened files. Right clicking on any of the items in the left pane brings up an option to "Add to Quick Access Toolbar". This is the ribbon at the top of the screen and allows you to add frequently used tools for quick access. There is also a drop down menu on the Quick Access Toolbar that contains a few options, including the Undo and Redo icons.

You can also add any of the tools in the other tabs by right clicking on them and selecting the "Add to Quick Access Toolbar" option.

Next is the "Home" tab. This is divided up into several distinct toolbars.
From here you can click on the large clipboard icon to Paste a selection or use the drop down menu to click on "Paste" or "Paste from". It also contains the "Cut" and "Copy" options.

This section contains the options for selecting part or all of an image and changing transparency.

It also has options for resizing, cropping and changing the alignment of an image.

These are the icons for the Pencil tool, Fill with color, Text, Eraser, Color picker and Magnifier.

These options let you select the kind of paintbrush you want to use - for creating images and of little use for solving puzzles.

This section contains many choices for creating predefined shapes, the first being for drawing straight lines and the second one for drawing boxes. Depending on the shape selected, you may get options for line size, whether the shape is outlined (Color 1), filled (Color 2) etc.

From here you can select the colours for Color 1 and Color 2. Color 1 is the foreground or left mouse button colour while Color 2 is the background or right mouse button colour. To change these, click on Color 1 or 2 with the left mouse button and select your chosen colour. Clicking on Edit colors brings up the large colour selection box.

The View tab brings up the options for viewing the image - from here you can zoom in or out, choose to see gridlines or measurement rulers on-screen, or make the window fullscreen (press the "Escape" key to return to normal view).

Clicking on the Text icon in the Tools toolbar brings up a new Text tab with all the options for entering text. The background to the text can either be the background colour or transparent. In earlier versions of , text could only be entered on images at 100% view but the latest version allows text to be entered at different levels of zoom.

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