Image Editor 4.0 final released

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 25, 2014

The popular free image editor has been released as 4.0 final. Development of the new version started last year with beta versions released regularly to the interested public. 4.0 introduces several major changes to the program which will affect some of its users. As far as system requirements are concerned, it is supporting Windows 7 SP1 or newer only and requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 to run on the target computer. The framework will be installed automatically during installation if not present.

If you are running an alpha or release candidate version of currently then you may need to download and install the new version manually as the update is not picked up at the time of writing. 4.0 ships with a new rendering engine that supports multi-core processors and GPU hardware acceleration among other things. As far as performance is concerned, you may notice huge improvements in this area. Startup performance is improved thanks to the Multicore JIT feature of the .NET Framework 4.5.

You may also notice a drop in memory usage, faster rendering thanks to the new asynchronous multi-threaded rendering engine and responsiveness improvements especially when working with large images.

Improvements have been made to selections. You will notice better performance and reduced processor usage if hardware acceleration is enabled and better quality thanks to anti-aliasing support.

Both of these features can be disabled at any time in the program. To disable hardware accelerated rendering click on the settings icon at the top right corner of the window and remove the checkmark from the box under user interface. It is only advised to do so if you notice issues while using it, for instance screen artifacts.

hardware acceleration

Anti-aliasing can be changed to the previously used pixel selection quality in the toolbar after the selection tool has been selected from the tools menu.

The settings dialog has been redesigned which should make it easier to configure defaults. Just select Tools while the settings window is open to change default values. Here you can for instance change the default text size and style, default gradient or the hardness of the brush that is selected by default.


Several operations have been improved. The resize quality has been improved for instance, as has been the layer user interface and the Red Eye Removal effect.

Improvements have also been made to the application's usability. All open images are now displayed as thumbnails when you hover over the icon in the Windows taskbar. The program recognizes EXIF metadata now and will rotate images accordingly when opened. is now also listed under default programs in Windows so that it is easier to configure the program's file associations in the operating system.

Last but not least, many of the tools the editor makes available have seen improvements as well. The drawing tools benefit from smoother mouse movement for instance, the gradient tool has improved rendering quality and the new shapes tool replaces the previously supported shape tools consolidating them into a single tool supported 27 different shapes.

Verdict is a great image editor. While it is unfortunate that support for pre-Windows 7 systems has been dropped, the massive improvements to the program's performance and features make it almost a mandatory update for all users.

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  1. Graham said on July 11, 2017 at 10:59 pm
  2. Alex said on June 27, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Also doesn’t work on Windows 7 without SP1 — it’s not possible to install .Net Framework 4.5 withous SP1.

  3. Ed said on June 25, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Paint.NET is great. Not as advanced as GIMP, but much easier to use and has layers. Stopped using GIMP because Paint.NET has almost everything I need. For the extremely rare occasions I need something more, I use GIMP, otherwise it’s Paint.NET.

    The Linux equivalent is “Pinta”, which I just saw is also available on Windows and Mac and was last updated in May 2014.

  4. ACow said on June 25, 2014 at 6:24 pm
    Reply is pretty awesome for quick edits and conversions. Don’t knock it just because it uses .NET, people. It’s really snappy and the interface ain’t too bad either.

  5. Robert Palmar said on June 25, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Ironically I downloaded the preview a day before
    this final was released intending to install it today.

    I think the cut off of operating systems before Windows 7
    has more to do with computer systems running it with
    the likelihood of at least a dual core processor and
    this program’s code takes advantage of that.

  6. Jim said on June 25, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks for the update Martin. I’ve been waiting for this version for quite a while. This has been the only editor I’ve needed for several years. It’s advanced enough to do everything I’ve ever wanted to do and then some, but simple enough that you don’t need years of experience with it just to resize an image. It’s the image editor that should have come with Windows to begin with.

  7. vux777 said on June 25, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    my main img editor
    new version is great except one thing
    first run per session is much slower then in previous version (3.5)

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