Copying and Editing a Screen Image with Paint

Adapted from a lesson originally found at

Capturing images

    A Windows bitmap file is a file that contains binary information that represents a picture. There are 2 easy ways to put what is on your screen into Paint:
    1. Press the PrintScreen key to copy everything on your screen to the clipboard.
    2. Press Alt-PrintScreen to copy just the active window to the clipboard.
    Now the image is stored in the machine's RAM and needs to be pasted into Paint to be modified.

Modifying the screen image

    For example, suppose that the following screen image is copied to the clipboard.

    If just the message box window is desired, without the background, then the image must be further processed.

Start Paint

Paste the image

    Paint starts a new image with a blank bitmap canvas.

    One way to paste the image from the clipboard into Paint is as follows.

    • Select "Edit", "Paste".

Enlarging the canvas

    If the image is larger then the default bitmap size, you will be asked if you want the bitmap enlarged. Answer "Yes".

Paint toolbar

    On the Paint toolbar, insure that the dotted rectangle is selected.

Select the area

    Use the mouse to select the desired area on the bitmap image.

Save the image

    One way to save the selected image as a bitmap file is as follows.
    • Select "Edit", "Cut", and then close the existing picture (don't save changes)
    • Open a new bitmap.
    • Change the "Image," "Attributes" to a very small size (like 50 by 50)
    • "Edit," "Paste"
    • Again, if the image is larger then the default bitmap size, you will be asked if you want the bitmap enlarged. Answer "Yes".
    • Select "Save".
    This operation is a form of cropping .

Reduced colors

     If you only need 16 colors, use the 4-bit (16 color) mode. This can be done by selecting "16 Color Bitmap" in the "Save as type:" edit box. This makes the bitmap files much smaller by a factor of 6 over a 24-bit color mode.

Space savings

    For example, this image requires 118,238 bytes in 24-bit color mode, but only 20,314 bytes in 4-bit color mode.

    The space savings become important as more images are added to a document, presentation, etc. Additional space savings is achieved by linking to a file rather than embedding a file in a document.

Adding a bitmap to a document

    One way to add a bitmap file to a document is as follows.
    • Select "Insert", "Picture", "From File"
    • Select your picture and paste.