Microsoft Paint is a simple, lightweight program that comes installed with all Windows operating systems. If your image editing needs are not too demanding, this application probably will have all of the features you need. You can use MS Paint to edit pictures that you have taken with your camera or scans of images that you've drawn or painted. You can also import pictures directly from your scanner or camera. MS Paint is a great program to create your desktop image. MS Paint has a text function as well as the ability to create straight lines, curved lines, ellipses, rectangles and polygons.
Open Windows Paint by clicking "Start," then "All Programs," then "Paint." You can also place a shortcut on your desktop by right-clicking the "Paint" icon in the menu and selecting "Send To," then "Desktop (Create Shortcut)" from the menu.
Import your picture into Windows Paint. There are several different ways to do this. The first is by clicking "File," then "Open." In the dialog box that opens, navigate to the folder that contains the picture you want to edit in MS Paint. Another way to get your pictures into MS Paint is to click "File," then "From Scanner or Camera." To import pictures from either your scanner or camera, the device must be connected to your computer and turned on.
Use the selections in the Image menu to alter your picture. Do not attempt to resize your image in MS Paint, since the function will cut your picture down to only the portion in the upper-left corner. To properly resize your image, click the select button, which looks like a box made up of dotted lines. Drag the select button around the part of your image that you want to use. From the menu, select "Edit," then "Cut." Click "New." When Windows Paint prompts you to save your image, click "No."
Right-click on the image panel and select "Paste" from the menu. Go down to the lower-right of the workspace and find the small gray dot there. When you mouse over this, a diagonal icon with two arrows will appear. Use this to size down the background color so that only your image shows in the window.
Rotate your image. This will only be necessary if your camera or scanner has saved an image sideways or upside down. Click "Image," then "Flip/Rotate." Windows Paint only flips clockwise, so you might need to rotate several times or using a larger angle if your image is rotated counterclockwise. You may also flip your image on the horizontal or vertical axis if you like.
Add text to your image by clicking the text tool, which looks like the letter A. Click on the picture where you want the text to be. Select the font, size and character map you want to use. Also select whether you want the text to be bold, italic or underline. Add any other elements you want using the paint, draw, erase, fill, spray can, line or polygon tools. Save your image using a new file name. You can change the file format by using the "Save As" function and selecting the desired file format from the drop-down menu.
Set your newly edited image on your desktop by selecting "File," then "Set as Background."
For best results, only edit images that are 800 by 600 pixels or smaller in MS Paint. If you need to undo more than three changes, you will need to close Paint without saving, reopen the program and then reopen your image.
Jennifer Claerr is a web writer who has written for online sites such as Demand Studios, NBC5i.com, Texas.com and PC.com. She has a degree in art from the University of Texas at Arlington. She writes on a variety of topics, including holidays, health and fitness, travel, computers and art.