4.0 is now available!

Thanks to everyone who helped out with the extensive alpha and beta releases with all the bug reports, crash log submissions, and general feedback. It has all been a tremendous help in creating the best release ever! It’s been a long time coming, but I think it’s worth it.

There are a few ways to get the new version:

  1. The preferred way: If you’re using Paint.NET v3.5.x, go to the Utilities menu and click on “Check for Updates.” If you’re using a pre-release version of 4.0 (beta or release candidate), go to the Settings dialog, then to the Updates section, and then click “Check Now.”
  2. You can also download it directly from the website, . There is no need to uninstall the old version: that will be taken care of automatically.

Without further ado, here is the final list of changes, features, improvements, and fixes:

  • System Requirements
    • Windows 7 SP1 or newer is now required.
    • .NET Framework 4.5 is now required, and will be installed if needed.
    • A dual-core (or more!) processor is highly recommended.
    • Hardware acceleration (GPU) via Direct2D is now supported.
      • Please disable this in the Settings dialog if you experience visual artifacts.
  • Performance
    • A brand new, asynchronous, fully multithreaded rendering engine allows performance to scale very well with respect to the number of CPU cores whether you have 2, 4, 6, or even 16 of them.
    • The responsiveness of the user interface has been greatly improved, especially when working with large images.
    • Memory usage is lower.
    • Improved battery life impact due to fixing the way the floating windows manage their transparency.
    • Startup performance when many plugins are installed is improved, thanks to the Multicore JIT feature introduced in .NET 4.5.
  • Selections
    • Selections are now antialiased, which greatly improves the quality around the edges of selected content. You can turn this on and off at any time from the toolbar.
    • Everything related to selections now has much higher performance and greatly reduced CPU usage, especially if hardware acceleration (GPU) is enabled.
    • The selection outline is now rendered using the “dancing ants” animation, which greatly improves the contrast between it and the image itself.
  • General
    • The functionality previously provided by the Utilities, Window, and Help menus has been simplified, consolidated, and moved to the top-right corner of the main window.
    • The image thumbnail list has been moved up 1 row so that it no longer intrudes into the current Tool’s toolbar space. This means it will no longer “jump around” when you switch between tools. This also means that it is aligned to the top of the monitor when the main window is maximized, making it easier to click on images (Fitt’s law).
    • The image thumbnail list can now be reordered with drag-and-drop.
    • A brand new Settings dialog makes it much easier to configure all the tool and toolbar defaults, among other things.
    • The zoom slider and units selector have been moved from the toolbar to the bottom right corner of the window (into the status bar).
    • Each image now shows up as its own taskbar item. This can be disabled in the Settings dialog with “Show image previews in the Windows taskbar.”
    • Layers can now be reordered with drag-and-drop.
    • Ctrl+Click on the Move Layer Up/Down buttons will now move a layer to the top/bottom, respectively.
    • Improved quality of Image->Resize.
    • Edit –> Copy Merged will copy all layers to the clipboard without having to use Image->Flatten first.
    • Copying to the clipboard now includes the “PNG” format, which allows transparency to survive from many popular applications (e.g. Office)
    • You can now use the middle mouse button to scroll/pan the image at any time (same functionality as holding down the spacebar along with clicking and dragging the mouse).
    • Shift+Backspace will now fill the selection with the secondary color (Backspace, the shortcut key for Edit -> Fill Selection, still fills with primary color as usual).
    • now shows up in Windows’ “Default Programs” control panel so you can configure its file type associations without reinstalling.
    • EXIF rotation metadata is now applied when opening images (e.g. JPG taken with a rotated camera).
    • Eleven (11) new languages, bringing the total to 21: Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, and Spanish.
    • Crash logs are now stored in %LOCALAPPDATA%\\CrashLogs (e.g. C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\\CrashLogs) instead of on the desktop.
  • Effects
    • New effect: Photo -> Vignette.
    • Improved the quality of the Photo -> Red Eye Removal effect.
    • Improved UI for Layers -> Rotate/Zoom.
    • Effect plugins now show up with a jigsaw puzzle icon next to them in the menus. You can hover over the effect to see information about it, including the author and location of its DLL.
    • Errors while loading effect plugins are now displayed in the Settings dialog.
  • Tools
    • Most Tools now support “fine-grained history.” You may adjust the properties of what you’ve drawn (e.g. colors, toolbar settings) before committing to the layer (use the “Finish” button or press Enter), and each change is tracked in the history.
    • Tools may now draw directly with a blending mode, configurable from the toolbar. All of the layer blending modes are supported, as well as “Overwrite.”
    • Drawing tools (Pencil, Paintbrush, Eraser, Clone Stamp, Recolor) now have much smoother mouse input handling via GetMouseMovePointsEx.
    • Brush tools (Paintbrush, Eraser, Clone Stamp, Recolor) now have soft brushes support via a “Hardness” setting in the toolbar.
    • The Move tools (Move Selected Pixels, Move Selection) have a much better UI for scaling, moving, and (especially) rotation.
    • The Move tools now support moving the rotation anchor, which changes the center of rotation.
    • The new Shapes tool replaces the Rectangle, Rounded Rectangle, Ellipse, and Freeform shape tools. 27 shapes are currently available. You may move, resize, and rotate a shape, as well as reconfigure any other properties from the toolbar (color, outline size, etc.) before committing it to the layer.
    • Color Picker has a configurable sampling radius, and can sample from either the current layer or the whole image.
    • Gradient tool now supports a new Spiral gradient type and allows configuration of the repeat mode (none, repeat, wrapped).
    • Gradient tool has improved rendering quality via dithering and antialiasing. You can control both of these with the standard antialiasing toggle in the toolbar.
    • Magic Wand and Paint Bucket now allow live adjustment of Tolerance and the Origin (click location) after clicking (press Enter to commit/finish).
    • Magic Wand and Paint Bucket can now sample from either the current layer or the whole image.
    • Paint Bucket tool now supports anti-aliasing.
    • Recolor tool can now use the color of the pixel where you click as the color to be replaced. Or, as usual, it can use the secondary color.
    • Text tool now supports multiple rendering modes: Smooth, Sharp (Modern), and Sharp (Classic). These correspond to DirectWrite rendering modes of Outline, ClearType Natural Symmetric, and GDI Classic, respectively.
    • Text tool now supports colored fonts on Windows 8.1.

Enjoy! Smile


106 thoughts on “ 4.0 is now available!

  1. mulsivaas says:

    Congratulations on the launch, Rick! I have been waiting for 4.0 for a looong time, but the wait was SO worth it. This program has come so incredibly far since I first used it years ago. It’s incredible that I still use since I now have Photoshop, but it’s because the program is THAT great! Keep up the good work 🙂

  2. rowdypixel says:

    Congrats Rick. This is a big day. Make sure you take some time to celebrate.

  3. Jeff says:

    Rick, thank you for the work over the last few years as you planned and then created Paint.Net 4.0. As one that has used Paint.Net for almost 10 years and closely watched and tested Paint.Net 4.0’s slow march forward, I know this is a huge release and was a lot of work for you. Congratulations!

    • Rick Brewster says:

      oops! I’ve never used that phrase before. At least I know how to use there, their, they’re, would’ve, voila instead of wala, etc. 😉

  4. Mike says:

    Congratulations, nows time to look at the website and do something about making sure the adverts with big green download buttons are sufficiently marked out to stop confusing the average user.

    I know the adverts are there to make money, but their layout is confusing.

    • Sean Kurth says:

      I don’t think he can help it. He can’t control what the ad/affiliate network he uses displays. After all, google/doubleclick/webtrends/whatever would make less money if people knew the download buttons were fake. Program ads usually give commissions per download, not per click. Put a big border labeled “ad” around it and Google would cut ads on this site. Not to mention that advertisers are notorious for circumventing things like the adchoices button and “this is an ad” label with iframes. Yes, the deception is bad, but the dude has to eat, and if there was an ad network that paid decent and didn’t pull malvertising crap he’d be using it.

  5. UK says:

    Still no dockable tool windows? Or did I miss that option? Still a constant dragging of windows all over my screen. Sad thing 😦

  6. UK says:

    Aaargh! And it also does not remember anymore its last docked window position. Will revert back to version 3 😦

      • UK says:

        Version 3.x does, version 4.x does not. (Please note that I do dock the Paint.NET window on the left/right of my multi monitor setup; most programs have issues when it comes to restore a docked position)

  7. US says:

    Thank you for all your efforts toward continuing to improve this already amazing tool!

  8. Ivo says:

    Congratulations Rick!

    I wish myself and all your other aficionados the enthusiasm to make great pics like you made a great Paint.NET. Enjoy your achievements!

  9. Lolo says:

    Great job! Congratulations for this new version and thank you for all the hard work you do!!

  10. John Rose says:

    Paint.NET is wonderful and as a programmer, it’s been truly inspiring to watch its progress over the years. I hope the team is filled with happiness, pride, and a little relief now that 4.0 is here!

  11. G Johnson says:

    Thanks. Is Windows Server 2008 supportable? I support that as a remote desktop / terminal server host for a dozen users. But I understand the need to move on.

  12. jpp says:


    I am running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. How can I install it on my system ? I think I have Mono installed.


      • Sean Kurth says:

        He can try WINE. Go into the Ubuntu software center, search “wine”, and click install on the one that looks like a glass of red wine (there are several, most supporting plugins or forks, the one with the wine glass logo is legit). It’s a full windows emulator, able to run most programs, and the ones it can’t run can be fixed with launch parameters. I’m using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS right now (with Paint.NET and .NET 4.5 running in wine).

        In case you’re wondering why I’m not on 14.04, Canonical removed most legacy support, doubled the hardware requirements, put in more corporate spyware, and closed so much source that they had to completely fork from debian. Seriously, use 12.04 until it dies, then switch to something like OpenSUSE or straight Debian that’s truly free and open.

  13. joshszep says:

    Congratulations! Small, Fast, Free – It’s fantastic for if you don’t have Photoshop, although personally I’ve been preferring it to Photoshop for 99% of my image manipulation needs for years now.

    I only dream of the day of an official Mono port support for OSX and Linux!

  14. Aron Parker says:

    HUGE congrats dude! wow, I admire you for finishing such a huge project 🙂 You’re truly a passionate programmer, thank you so much!

  15. Jean-Luc says:

    I’m just curious, why is Windows 7 SP1 or newer required? Is Paint.NET using anything specific from newer versions of Windows?

  16. Sah War says:

    Awesome! V4.0 rocks and cuts (pixel) sandwiches with ease! 🙂
    The only drawback is that it requires Windows 7 SP1 or up… But those dudes with Windows XP SP3 should really upgrade to 7 or 8.1 these days since M$ dropped support for WinXP months ago…

  17. Mihai says:

    Thank you so much for this brilliant piece of software 🙂 The new version is… simply awesome ! Using it for day-to-day image manipulation for about 8 years now.

  18. Pablo says:

    You guys rock!
    I absolutely love Paint.NET, I now can’t live without it.
    Thank you again for such an amazing software.

  19. Guidoxx says:

    Not to forget: is one of the best photo software for hidpi/retina machines, scaling almost perfect!

  20. Eugene says:

    HAve PDN 4.0 RC installed now, is there any reason I should download and install PDN 4.0 final (such as major bugs fixed between RC and final)?

  21. wellidnotknow says:

    does wacom stylus input support work again?
    If not, it’s a meh release for me, sorry 😛

  22. Richard King says:

    Well, I tried to install it from and failed abysmally. The first problem is trying to find the correct download amongst all the crapware: you could make this a bit easier!

    The second problem is that when I’ve finally managed to get the install file and run it on Windows 8.1, it fails with the error message “Error opening file for writing: C:\Users\…\AppData\Local\Temp\PdnSetup\Native.x64\msvcp100.dll”

    Any ideas?

  23. Frank says:

    It won’t install on my machine. I get the following error: “There was an error installing (1603) Fatal error during installation.”

  24. Jorge Rojas says:

    I am very happy development continues… some great free programs just stand on the sand until they don’t run anymore. I am very happy Paint.Net is not one of them!
    Congratulations 🙂

  25. Ladez says:

    Some great new features here – draggable layers, middle mouse panning, the new selections, and using my native language to name some – I really appreciate many of these. But I’m seriously confused about the new location of the zoom slider. I’m hugely against stuffing tools in the bottom of the screen, especially such an important tool as zooming. I’d wish you could have made this optionable somehow. But I guess I’m just going to get used to using the keyboard shortcuts for jumping in zoom levels instead, might be I’ll work faster that way anyways.

    • Lemonade says:

      Completely agree! Zoom is one of my most-used tools and I’d love if there was at least an option to give it the top-toolbar status that (I feel) it deserves. It’s such an impressive program though, keep up the good work!

  26. spogghi says:

    This is awesome, but i don’t see the new brushes functionalities previously announced… CustomBrushesMini on my Pc is very slow and very inaccurate…

    • Rick Brewster says:

      Use the paintbrush tool. There’s a Hardness setting in the toolbar. I announced soft brushes, not custom brushes. You’ll still need the plugin for that for now.

  27. Ulis says:

    It’s great ! I already liked my older version and now there is this big improvement !

    I highly appreciate the new possibilities with the selections. I can’t wait to discover how the modes work with the pencil.

    Congratulations to all the people who worked on it ! And my special thoughts to the French localization team ❤

  28. Roger says:

    A big congratulations on this release! As a programmer myself, I know how much time and effort goes into something like this. I’ve been waiting patiently for years for the release of version 4.0, and I’m very much looking forward to giving it a spin. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication.

  29. Gamer456 says:

    One of the best improvements: middle mouse button for scroll !!! Congratulations for implementing this!

  30. StarsInTheirEyes says:

    Just wondering (I’ve never upgraded before), will the plugins I’ve uploaded to version 3.5.11 on my computer be accessible when I upgrade, or will I have to upload them all over again?

    • Rick Brewster says:

      Most of them will work, although some are not compatible with 4.0 and you’ll have to download a newer version. You can tell which ones need to be updated because either they’ll show up in Settings -> Plugin Errors, or they … obviously won’t work (sometimes they’ll crash).

  31. Vijay Matange says:

    I’m getting an error on ver. 4.0. I have a screen grab of the error report, how do I send it to you? The program essentially does not start. I had no trouble with the earlier version.

  32. Savage says:

    For the win… Copy merged is the big one for me. Would also like to see Drop Shadow as a default effect, but that’s being fussy 😉

  33. Dave Helgerson says:

    Congratulations on the release, and many thanks. It’s helped me create annotated print screens and other documentation over that last 10 years. Not complicated uses, but it’s been great.

  34. foobar says:

    When will Paint.NET 5.0 FINALLY come out? This takes ages… (just kidding 😉 )

  35. Snottzoid says:

    Thanks, guys. In particular, thank you for not converting the menu system to the Ribbon, that Microsoft uses. The menu system works well.

    • Rick Brewster says:

      You’re welcome! I spent a lot of time analyzing Ribbon stuff and other alternative UI designs. Ribbon just wouldn’t work well for an application like Paint.NET, especially with MDI thrown into the mix.

  36. 7Sidebar says:

    Sadly it doesn’t remember the old window positions. I like to move the tool windows to one side, but on every startup they revert to the corners.

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  38. Argh says:

    A lot of good stuff this update – but I’m absolutely mystified about the (apparently uncustomizable?) location of the zoom settings. I use them – a LOT – in my work, with roughly 25% of imageworking being zooming in or out to fix minor imperfections. Due to muscle menu and the fact that, well, the top of the window is more notable for me, I think I’m going to have to revert versions unless there’s something I’m missing.

    Gotta say, the arbitrary feature change feels a bit… ‘Googley’. Can’t say I’m a fan.

    • Rick Brewster says:

      If you use zooming a lot, might I suggest using Control + Mouse Wheel? Muscle memory can be retrained, but it can certainly take some patience and willingness. Control along with + and – is also very very handy. Stay tuned to future updates as well. I’ve been getting a lot of feedback on this issue, and while it breaks my heart, I might just have to relent.

      • Argh? says:

        Problem is, I don’t have a mouse wheel, and have grown accustomed to using a touchpad – again, one could argue that’s my bad habit, but it developed out of reasons – convoluted reasons, but reasons all the same. So it goes.

        I’ll try using the ctrl+/- for now, however; that sounds like it oughta work pretty well. More importantly, you’re the boss at the end, boss – and like I said, the overall bevy of new features/fixes is more worthwhile then my inability to use the software effectively at the moment, aha.

  39. Rob says:

    Congratulations, Rick! A historic blog post. I’ve been using Paint.NET getting on for 10 years; thank you. Am installing 4.03 now.

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