I tend to use Photoshop, but for my engineering course I do want to use something as simple as MS Paint.

I literally need to do this:

  • Create a square with whatever color outline
  • Fill the square with another color
  • Draw some shapes inside with yet another color
  • Save the image as a .gif (must be a .gif)

But when I do it, the whole image is dithered. Which completely kills my program. If I filled my shape with a solid color, it turns into a sea of completely different pixels (similar to the color, but I need it to be exact).

I understand that .gif lowers the quality by having to use a much more limited set of colors, which is perfectly good for me - I don't mind having my image's colors slightly changed to match the .gif limits. But I don't want it to dither.

If I truly can't achieve this with MS Paint (which I doubt), what other simple solutions have you got?

I heard something about converting it to a 256-colors bitmap and then transform it to a .gif. I don't think I understood well the instructions: what I did was draw my image, save as a 256-colors .bmp (which converted my colors, which is alright for me), but as soon as I saved it to .gif, the colors dithered.


3 Answers 3


The simplest answer is going to be "Use absolutely anything other than MS Paint"... I put a couple of free, and low-cost, photoshop alternatives in this answer here to a related question https://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/a/5901/3327 For something so simple you want to use Paint, I recommend the first one, pixlr, which runs in a web browser, no installation required.

If you really really want to use MS Paint (I guess some people are masochists and it's a valid lifestyle choice? :-) can't spell MS Paint without Pain...), I believe (on Mac right now so can't test) you could do this...

  • Do your thing in Paint.
  • (assuming Windows 7+) Open up the Windows Snipping Tool, in the Start Menu under Accessories. It's a useful handy thing to know about anyway, the equivalent of marquee screenshots on a mac.
  • Select an area around the non-mangled on-screen image in Paint
  • Save as gif from the Snipping Tool. I believe (can't test right now) it saves them the normal way.

Or, just save as a PNG and run through any of the hundreds of online image file converters


Dithering is used to simulate a non-indexed color using the 256 colors in the defined palette.

If you want to avoid dithering, you need to:

1) begin with an 8-bit image (rather than RGB) and select only those colors defined in the palette; or

2) use RGB and then save using an adaptive palette with dithering disabled.

option 1 is best for your stated needs. For the use-case you state in your question, option 2 would probably be acceptable, unless there is some constraint such as "must adhere to (so-called) mac/windows 8/web-safe color indexes".

  • Note that as far as I can tell, MS Paint does not allow you to select specific colors defined in an indexed palette, nor specify anything other than 24 bit RGB when creatign a new document (but it can properly open a GIF and resave the palette)
    – horatio
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 15:32

be sure you are making your initial shapes as pure color with no aliasing of any sort applied by using either just the default shapes with such on, or the pencil tool (both can be thickened or thinned using ctrl numberpad+ or the drop tab for resizing thats used for the brushes with aliasing)

if you are doing that and the issue still persists, get rid of the dithering yourself by saving the image as a png

paintbucket a color used to white, or black if your background color is kept as white and its inconvenient to change. If its black your using, invert the color pallet after that.

Press ctrl + e to bring up the image properties window and turn on bw mode. Save the image as something separate of the first png so the first png can be reused continually and do this for each and every individual different color saving them also as separate images.

Once this is done, save the png as a gif in ms paint, then go through and use every different stencil made by turning on transparency select, then pasting the stencil overtop of the gif through either a separate instance of ms paint or through the paste from feature (refer to listed issues later).

Use the eraser trick (right clicking with the eraser erases whatever is specifically in color 1 to be color 2 as long as the tab hasn't had a 32 bit image opened in it(how such happens is described in paste from details)).

Then save every different individual section/color into different gif(s) so you can then combine them using either the paste from function in ms paint (refer to listed issues later), or individually opening up every different image in another instance of ms paint and pasting them ontop of one tab. Be sure to turn on transparency select in the select drop-tab before doing this and for the tab to pasted to is hasn't interacted with a 32 bit png (view properties of image, under details tab to view bit depth of image to figure out)

Paste every image of the stencilled out image(s) over-top of one blank/fresh ms paint tab/instance with color 2 set as black and then save that as a gif once all is done.

*Paste from issues Its important to mention that it isn't recommended to use both explicitly the color value of black and the color value of white. only recommended if you save each and every separate image by using the paste from image thing from a fresh tab/instance or pasting every image needed to be opened from another tab from either given step since ms paint will save any png opened up through ms paint as a 32 bit png when saved a second time breaking transparency since there's presumably some layer of transparency saved with the 32 bit images breaking color 2 completely.

Congrats if you succeed in this without screwing up this tedious process. No ms pain(t) no ms gain(t) as they say

  • lol @ "No ms pain(t) no ms gain(t)" Commented Apr 2 at 15:36

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