Create editable text in Paint.NET

Paint.NET is a completely free bitmap editor for Windows computers. It was originally designed to offer slightly more options than Microsoft Paint, the image editor that comes with the Windows operating system. The app has become a much more powerful suite and is preferred by many who need a useful and creative approach to working with photos.

While it’s not the most powerful image editor, it offers a pretty wide range of tools without getting too powerful. Several major omissions in the Paint.NET feature set somewhat undermine the package as a whole, one of which is the inability to edit text after adding it to an image.

Thanks to Simon Brown’s hard work and generosity, you can download a free plugin from his website that lets you add editable text to Paint.NET. It’s now part of a pack of plugins that provide some other useful features for Paint.NET, so you’re basically downloading multiple plugins in one ZIP package.

  1. Install the Text Editing Plugin in Paint.NET
  2. How to use the text editing plugin in Paint.NET
  3. Position and skew text with the text editing plugin in Paint.NET
  4. Your end product

Install the Text Editing Plugin in Paint.NET

The first step is to install the plugin in your version of Paint.NET. Unlike some other graphics applications, Paint.NET has no user interface features for managing plugins, but it’s not rocket science to do this step manually.

You can find a full explanation of the process with screenshots on the same page where you downloaded the plugin. By following simple steps, you can install all plugins at once.

How to use the text editing plugin in Paint.NET

You can start Paint.NET after installing the plugin.

If you are familiar with the software, you will notice a new subset when you look in the Effects menu. It is called Tools and contains most of the new features that will be added when the plugin package is installed.

To use the text editing plugin, visit the page layers Add new layer or click the button Add new layer in the lower left corner of the layers palette. You can add editable text directly to the background layer, but adding a new layer for each section of text makes things a lot more flexible.

Go to Effects instruments Editable Text and a new Editable Text dialog box opens. Use this dialog to add and edit your text. Click on the empty input field and enter what you want.

The control bar at the top of the dialog allows you to select a different font after adding text. You can also change the text color and apply other styles. Anyone who has used a simple word processing program will easily understand how these functions work. Press the button Okay when you are satisfied.

If you want to edit the text later, just click on the text layer in the layers palette to select it and go to Effects instruments Editable Text † The dialog box opens again and you can make any changes you want.

Warning: The text may no longer be editable if you draw on a layer that contains editable text. One way to see this is to use the Fill tool to fill in the area around the text.

When you switch back to the Editable Text tool, you only have the option to add new text. To work around this problem, avoid painting or drawing on layers that contain editable text.

Position and skew text with the text editing plugin in Paint.NET

Paint.NET also provides controls that allow you to place text on the page and change its angle.

just choose cross-shaped motion icon in the top box and drag it to move the text in the document. You will see that the position of the text changes in real time. You can drag the move icon outside the box and move some or all of the text outside the document. Click anywhere in the field to make the move icon and text visible again.

You can simply click, or click and drag, to change the angle of the text on the page in the circle control. It’s very simple, although a little counter-intuitive because the angle of the text reflects the angle you set rather than copying it. When you are aware of this feature, it has no significant impact on usability.

Your end product

If you followed the instructions in this guide, your finished product should look like the image above.

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