"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should."

Programming with MS Paint? MS Paint IDE is mad science

Sarah Schlothauer
© Shutterstock / Summer_candy

Many artists have pushed MS Paint to new limits, creating impressive art with the relatively basic program. But what about programming? Yes, even programming! With the MS Paint IDE you can even code with Paint. MS Paint IDE has a new v3.0.0 release that adds Google Assistant support and more.

If you think a little outside the box, MS Paint is more than just a nostalgic memory of scribbling stick figures while waiting for the dial-up to connect. Plenty of artists have created impressive works in the little application, pushing it to its limits. Programming can be an art form too, like this JavaScript project that recreates the MS Paint experience from your browser. What about coding with Paint? The MS Paint IDE takes the cake when it comes to pushing programming limits.

One question: Why? The same reason Captain Kirk climbed the mountain.

This open source IDE is more than just a punchline. It’s a fully-featured IDE that recently reached a milestone with its v3.0.0 release.

Better than Eclipse?

From the GitHub README:

People joke about what IDE they use often, things like Word, MS Notepad, sometimes even Eclipse, and then often times MS Paint. People joke about MS Paint because it’s not even a text editor, people joke about it because it doesn’t have one feature in common with IDEs. Well, this application gives MS Paint a boost, and lets MS Paint highlight, compile, and execute code, with just a few clicks of a button, and only text coming from MS Paint. It is now much more practical than things like Word, Notepad, and obviously Eclipse.

MS Paint IDE is an application that runs alongside MS Paint that reads its images you make from MS Paint. It then uses a custom OCR to read, parse, highlight, and execute the text. All output files and logs are created as images, to show you the program output, and compilation/interpretation output.

While this description sounds like a mad scientist’s fever dream, the IDE is fully functional. And yes, it supports Comic Sans.

SEE ALSO: Small embeddable JavaScript engine with QuickJS


OCR settings. Source.

Some of the current features include:

  • Read, parse, highlight code from image files
  • Support for Java, Python, JavaScript, and Go. More languages to come in the future.
  • Right-click context menu, open and edit any text files in an MS Paint instance
  • Integrated buttons in MS Paint
  • Program and compiler outputs as image logs
  • Basic Git options
  • Edit options: Finding, replacing, inspecting
  • Themes: Light mode and dark mode. Add your own custom themes with CSS.

Preparing the code (in MS Paint, of course). Source.

Latest version & the future

Version 3.0.0, released on July 17, 2019 is a “complete overhaul”. According to the release notes it adds:

  • Completely custom OCR with multiple fonts at any size supported
  • Different language with LSP support
  • Google Assistant support (Go hands-free with the setup instructions here.)
  • Arbitrary text file editing

SEE ALSO: Pythia: Facebook’s deep learning framework for the vision and language domain

The Wiki states that future plans include: Gradle/Maven support, PaintInjector improvement, live debugging, autocompletion, and auto-updates. (The Wiki also says future plans include acquiring JetBrains but well, we will see about that one! 😉)

More video demos about the 3.0.0 release will arrive in the future as well.

Currently, only Windows is supported. Grab the .EXE from the downloads page here.

Go on and start painting coding!

Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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