Paint.NET screenshot

Photoshop vs Paint.NET

In the realm of image editing software, Adobe Photoshop has long been regarded as the industry standard. However, alternative options have emerged over the years, providing viable alternatives for both professionals and hobbyists alike. One such contender is Paint.NET, a powerful and accessible image editing software. In this review, we will delve into the pros and cons of transitioning from Adobe Photoshop to Paint.NET, exploring its capabilities, user-friendliness, and overall performance.

I. User Interface and Ease of Use:

Paint.NET screenshot

One of the primary considerations when switching software is the user interface and ease of use. Paint.NET’s interface is intuitive and clean, making it accessible for users of all skill levels. Its simplicity allows beginners to quickly grasp basic tools and functions, while still providing advanced features for more experienced users. Conversely, Photoshop can be overwhelming for newcomers due to its extensive feature set and complex layout.

II. Cost:

Cost is a significant factor for many users, especially when it comes to professional software. Adobe Photoshop requires a subscription-based model, which can be costly over time. Paint.NET, on the other hand, offers its software free of charge, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious individuals or those who require basic image editing capabilities without breaking the bank.

You can get Paint.NET for free from their website GetPaint.NET.

If you would like to support the software, or if you have Windows S Mode, you can get Paint.NET for £8.39 from the Microsoft Store.

There is no difference in the software, regardless of whether you get it from the GetPaint.NET website for free or pay for it from the Microsoft Store. However, paying for it from the Microsoft Store will get you background updates, allowing your computer to keep Paint.NET up-to-date automatically.

Try Paint.NET for free from the website first, and then if you like it, purchase it from the Microsoft Store, as purchasing the product will help keep it fully featured and free for those who cannot afford to pay.

III. Feature Set:

Adobe Photoshop is renowned for its extensive and expensive feature set, offering a wide range of advanced tools for professional image editing.

Paint.NET, while not as comprehensive, still packs a punch with its array of tools and effects. It includes essential features such as layers, selection tools, customizable brushes, and blending modes.

Some advanced features found in Photoshop, such as content-aware fill and advanced 3D capabilities, are absent in Paint.NET. However, unless you are a power user of Adobe Photoshop, the extensive battery or tools built into Paint.NET, combined with available community plugins will have you covered for everything from basic photo editing, to creating professional works of art.

All at little or no cost.

IV. Performance:

Performance is crucial when working with image editing software, as slow rendering times can hinder productivity. Paint.NET boasts impressive speed and responsiveness, even on modest hardware configurations. It utilizes efficient resource management, ensuring smooth performance during editing tasks.

On the other hand, Photoshop, although powerful, can be demanding on system resources, particularly when handling large files or complex operations, leading to slower processing times.

V. Plugin Ecosystem:

Adobe Photoshop’s extensive and often confusing plugin ecosystem is a hallmark of its versatility.

Paint.NET offers a selection of plugins as well, but it lacks the breadth and depth of Photoshop’s offerings. This limitation can be a drawback for professionals who rely heavily on specific plugins for their workflow. However, Paint.NET’s plugin ecosystem still provides many opportunities for expanding functionality and customizing the software to suit individual needs.

Paint.Net’s community plugin system covers everything from advanced photo editing to creating beautiful professional quality works of art, and even customising the user interface to provide you with a smoother workflow.

VI. File Compatibility:

Compatibility with various file formats is crucial for seamless integration into existing workflows. Adobe Photoshop supports a wide range of file formats, including industry-standard options such as PSD, TIFF, and JPEG.

Paint.NET, while supporting popular formats like PNG, BMP, WEBP and JPEG, lacks native support for PSD files. However, this limitation can be overcome by utilizing third-party plugins or converting files to compatible formats.

Paint.NET can also save directly to industry standard formats like PNG, BMP, WEBP and JPEG, without needing to take the extra steps required by Adobe Photoshop’s export function.


Paint.NET offers a compelling alternative to Adobe Photoshop, for users seeking accessible and cost-effective image editing software. While Paint.NET may not match Photoshop’s extensive feature set, it provides an impressive range of tools and effects suitable for both beginners and intermediate level users. The user-friendly interface, fast performance, and cost-free availability make Paint.NET an attractive option for hobbyists, students, and those on a budget.

Despite Paint.NET’s many positive features, power users who heavily rely on specific advanced features or plugins that are exclusive to Adobe Photoshop may find the transition less seamless.

The decision to switch from Adobe Photoshop to Paint.NET will depend on individual needs, preferences, and the level of complexity required for image editing tasks.

For me, the switch has been a positive one, and I do not miss Adobe Photoshop at all.

Download Paint.NET:

Price: Free – direct download from the Paint.NET website.

Price: £8.39 – from the Microsoft Store.