How do I get the RGB value for a color?

Use Paint to read RGB color values

If you are looking for a tool to give you the RGB color values for some area in an image, don’t hunt any further. You already have it in your Windows PC. It is in Paint.

There are many occasions when the red, green and blue color values are needed. Here is a short procedure for getting those values.


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How do I draw shapes in Paint?

Windows has included a pretty powerful painting program throughout the years. Paint doesn’t get much love or attention even from Microsoft, but it is right there even in Windows 10. You won’t see it even in All apps unless you look in Windows Accessories, there, in the secondary menu, you find the old goodies.

For a simple program that is older than the hills Paint has an amazing variety of options and it is not always obvious how to accomplish a specific task. Drawing shapes is one of those areas where you might need a bit of help.

The shape tools are right in the middle of the ribbon at the top of the Paint window.


There are 23 shape tools from a simple line to more complex shapes like stars, a heart, and a lighting bolt. They may not all show in the ribbon depending on your window size. There is a tiny scroll bar to help you get to all of them.

Shapes, except for lines, have outlines and interiors. Click on a shape to get started. Define how you want the shape drawn with the Outline and Fill options.


The first two options under Outline are No outline and Solid color. That’s pretty straight forward. The next five, Crayon, Marker, Oil, Natural pencil, and Watercolor select how the outline is to be drawn. Experiment with these if you like.

Below the Outline option is the Fill selector. This defines the interior of the shape. No fill leaves the interior transparent, that is only the outline is drawn. Solid color is just that, uniform, opaque color. The other five option are interesting. These are partially transparent just as you would expect when using those drawing tools, or “brushes”. With the Marker brush you get a uniform, transparent color overlaid on the existing background.

The next tool is Size. That defines the width of the outline.

Now we come to color.


There are two color selectors, Color 1 and Color 2. Color 1 is the foreground color, the main color, it is the color of the outline for shapes. Color 2, the background color defines the shape interior fill color. Click the color selector and then the desired color patch to the right. There are 20 color patches available.

But wait, there’s more!


Click Edit colors and you get the full gamut. This allows you to define custom colors. These will become the patches, up to 10,  under the 20 normal patches.

You can set a custom color from the larger selection of patches or from the multi-color patch by clicking inside that area. You can adjust the color intensity with the slider at the right. You can also specify the color by entering the numeric values, 0 to 255 in the Red, Green, and Blue boxes or the Hue, Sat, and Lum fields. This allows you set any of 16,777,216 colors.

Now let’s draw a shape

With the preliminaries done let’s get to the shapes. Let’s start with a simple box, a rectangle. Paint-05Click the Rectangle icon. Move the pointer into the drawing field. It will now take the shape of a thin cross with a dot in the middle. Paint-06Place the pointer to the upper left corner of the rectangle that should enclose the drawn shape. Press the left mouse button and drag the shape to the right and down. Of course, you can start at any corner position.

Paint-07When you release the mouse button the next bit of magic happens. The shape defining rectangle will take on a dashed outline and resizing boxes will show at the corners and the side midpoints. You can resize the shape at will. Move the pointer to the inside and you get the four-pointed “move” pointer. You can now drag the shape to any position you like. Paint-08You can even change color and other parameters as long as you do not click somewhere on the outside of the shape defining box. When you are satisfied with your art, click somewhere outside the shape and it is set in place.

Of course, the same procedure applies to any other shape.

One more trick: Hold down the Shift key while dragging the shape to get a square outline for squares or perfect circles.

Well that should do it. Isn’t this simple tool amazing? And we only covered shapes!



© 2016 Ludwig Keck

How do I add 3D-effect text on a photo?

For a title slide or the cover photo of an album, you might want the title set in an attractive, 3D-effect text superimposed on a photo. How can you create that without an expensive special purpose application? Here is a method that uses Paint, a tool you already have on your computer. 

Load your photo into Paint. With the Text tool (see illustration) draw a text box starting approximately in the upper left position of the intended text. imageimage

The text box will resize when you release the mouse button. You will now see a dashed box in your photo and the Text Tools ribbon opens. Type your title.image

The Text Tools in Paint

imageAs long as you keep your pointer in the text box you can modify the text and the text box. There are resizing handles on the box – you know you can resize when the pointer changes to a double-ended arrow shape. You can select the text by dragging the pointer over it. You can change to any font on your computer. The font size box shows sizes from 8 to 72. You are not limited to these sizes. Just type in the size you want, even larger or smaller than the shown range, and the font will be changed to that size (note the size in the illustration above – it is set to 90).

The text will be set in the Color 1 selection. For 3D-effect, shadowed text, select the darker, shadow color. Position the text box to place the text. When the pointer is placed anywhere on the box outline, except near the resize handles, it changes to a four-headed arrow indicating that you can drag the box to another position. When you are happy with the text, font, and placement, click anywhere outside the text box. The text is now set. If it isn’t right, click Undo (or Ctrl+Z) and start over.

Next set the top color, normally a lighter shade, and open another text box and retype your title. Don’t worry about alignment, you can drag the text and place it precisely. image

Drag the text box to position the text just the way you like. When you are satisfied, click anywhere outside the text box.

There are applications that can do a nicer job, but for shadowed text, Paint is easy and probably just as fast.


(A lagniappe, pronounced “lan-yap”, is a small extra given to a customer at no charge, mostly in Cajun country.)

imageIn Paint the selection of color is more flexible than you might think. There is an array of twenty colors to choose from. To set the color click the color number, Color 1 is the main one, Color 2 the “right-click” color, then click the box with the desired color. If that does not provide you with the exact shade, click Edit colors. imageThis opens an Edit Colors window. Here you have a wider selection of fixed colors and an opportunity to define custom colors. In the larger area you reposition the mark (drag it) to define the hue and saturation – color and intensity. The vertical slider control sets the luminance of that color. You can even enter numeric values in the fields to define the color. Click Add to Custom Colors and the specified color is added and will appear in the bottom row of color boxes. Click OK to complete the color selection.

When you open the Edit Colors window the color presently set as Color 1 will already be set in the custom area. I find this particularly useful when I want a lighter or darker shade of a particular color. The luminance control can be used to select the shade without affecting the hue or saturation. Remember that the Color picker tool (the eye-dropper in the Tools area) can be used to pick a color from any place in a photo. This color can then be adjusted with Edit colors. Neat!


© 2011 Ludwig Keck

How do I add images to my WordPress Links Widget?

Showing links to other blogs and sites is a common way to help your readers connect with more of what they are interested in. Making those links interesting and easier to use with graphics adds a nice touch. Most blogs have sidebars for displaying information, details and links. In a WordPress blog, the Links Widget is a versatile and useful tool and can display images. This post tells you how to do it.

First you need images. These need to be stored on the Internet so they can be accessed and displayed. Lastly they need to be an acceptable size.

Let’s start with that last item, the size. Sidebars come in various sizes. You want images that fit the sidebar of you blog. Don’t know how wide your sidebar is?image In your WordPress Dashboard, click Themes (under Appearance in the navigation pane on the left). Your current theme is shown on the top. There is a link, “Read more about …”, click it and scroll down to find the “Quick Specs” panel about your theme.

It will list the column width, the sidebar width and the header image size. Note the sidebar width. I suggest you make your images about 10 pixels narrower than the sidebar so that they will fit nicely. For this blog, the sidebar width is 212 pixels, I make my images 200 pixels wide. The height is not so important, but the Links list looks best with strip images so it does not get to be too long.

Now what images should you use? If you link to other blogs or sites, the headers of those pages make excellent images. They show a visual of the target page even before your visitor gets there.

Making the logo images

Open your browser to your target page. Do a screen capture. I use the tools built into Windows 7, so Alt-PrintScreen captures the open window. Next open Paint and click Paste. The image of the browser will now be shown in Paint.

image Logo-capture

Click Select and drag a frame around the header image or header area of the page. Click Crop. The header image is now the only thing in Paint.


Click Resize. In this dialog click Pixels. Then enter the size for the width of the image. In my case that is 200. Leave the checkmark on Maintain aspect ratio so the image will not get distorted. imageClick OK.


The image will now be shown in the small size that you have selected. Save it into your Pictures folder (or another location) giving it a name that tells you what it is later on.

Do this with your other target pages that you will want to link to on your blog.

Windows 7 Paint saves the images as PNG format – that is fine for this intended use.


Upload the images to your WordPress Media Library

Once you have made your link logo images, upload them to the Media Library. In your WordPress Dashboard expand the Media section image(click on Media) then click Add New. The Upload New Media page opens.

Click Browse. In the File Upload dialog locate the folder with your link logo images. Click on one of them. Click Open. Then click Upload in the Upload New Media page.

Repeat for your other images.

Now the images are in your Media Library.

Add images to Linksimage

Open your Media Library – click MediaLibrary in the navigation bar. All your images are listed. Click on the one you want. The Edit Media page for that image opens. Under File URL you can see the full web address of the image. Select it (hold down the left mouse button and drag over the address). Press Ctrl+C to copy the address.

Now click LinksAll Links, then the one of interest. Scroll down until you see AdvancedImage Address. Click in the address text space then press Ctrl+V to paste the address. Click Update Link. That’s it. Do this for the others.

Be sure to check your Links Widget to make sure that the the Show Link Image box is checked. If it is not, click it so it’s checked and click Save.

Now your Links Widget displays your links with the logo images you prepared. Hurray!

Also see:

How do I show links to other blogs in the sidebar of my WordPress blog?


© 2011 Ludwig Keck