Ryerson Tech Tip – Free (and awesome!) Paint and Notepad replacements

I’ve come to learn that while programs like Photoshop and Word are great for getting work done, they’re not necessarily needed in all situations. Sometimes, you just need a program that performs rudimentary functions, and does them well. In this week’s edition of Ryerson Tech Tips, I’ll tell you about two different programs which are both free and can really save your hide when you need power in a pinch.


This year I’ve come to appreciate the simplicity of using plain text for writing blog posts; you don’t have to worry about any formatting weirdness when you’re publishing your posts, and with a bit of discipline you can become adept at hammering out tags as you need them. No more worrying about bolding things with a program: “<b>” tags will work wonders.

Anyways, even if you’re not as tech literate, Notepad++ works great as a powerful and low-maintenance word processor. It’s free, easily downloadable, and allows you to do things like spellcheck, word count and anything else you might need. This is especially nice to keep on a flash drive, as it isn’t as big as Microsoft Word and it doesn’t require an Internet connection like Google Docs.


In a similar vein, Paint.Net shares a lot of similar features with Photoshop without a lot of the bloat; I find that I use only a fraction of those features anyway, so why complicate things?

Paint.Net, like Notepad++, kind of supercharges otherwise simplistic programs with options you simply need. While MSPaint has given itself an amazing upgrade with Windows 7, there are still some things it doesn’t do well yet, like layering. Paint.Net allows you to do rudimentary image work without the licensing worries of Photoshop – it’s free to download and easily installable on a flash drive, so it’s perfect for those of us who might not be using the same computer every day.

Like I mentioned before, both programs are free and you can download them below. Enjoy!

Notepad++ and Paint.Net