Horsing around with paint

BY J. CARLTON COLLINS, CPA
April 1, 2013

Q: We have a company logo that I want to display on a proposal’s cover atop a graphic image, but I want to get rid of the logo’s surrounding white space. Is there a quick way to accomplish this without buying fancy software or paying a graphic artist to do this for us?

A: You can achieve the effect you want using the free Paint program included with Windows, as follows:

1. Launch Paint in Windows 7, Vista, or XP by clicking the Start button and selecting All Programs, Accessories, Paint (or click on the icon if you have it on your Windows taskbar or Start menu). In Windows 8, press Windows key+F to launch the Search tool, search for MSPaint, and double-click the MSPaint icon.

2. From Paint’s Home tab, select Select from the Image group, and place a checkmark next to Transparent selection (as shown below).

3. Open your logo image in Paint, and from the Home tab, select Select, Rectangular selection, drag a selection box around your company logo, and then, from the Home tab, select Copy. (This action copies the logo only; the white area of your logo is treated as transparent, so when you paste the logo, the underlying image shows through.)

4. Open the graphic image (the image of horses in the example below) in Paint, and from the Home tab select Paste, Paste. For comparison purposes, the images below depict the pasted logo both with and without the surrounding white space.

5. Important: Once pasted, the logo image will temporarily include grab boxes that you can use to resize the logo image or drag the logo image to a new position. Once you click away from the image, the grab boxes will disappear, and you will no longer be able to resize or reposition the logo image atop the background image. If you lose the grab boxes before you finish your edits, press Ctrl+Z to remove the logo image, then repaste the logo image and try again.

( Note: If you find this procedure works only partially, then most likely your logo’s white space contains multiple shades of white (such as shadowing). In this case, you will need to change any off-white colored pixels to absolute white because paint’s Transparent selection setting affects only the pixels that are absolute white. To do this, use Paint’s Pencil, Fill with color, or Brushes tools to recolor any off-white pixels to absolute white, then repeat the steps described above.) 

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