Every time I want to save an image I've pasted into the Paint application,
it chooses a BMP/DIB format (which is the worst for saving things from the clipboard).

How can I hack Paint into defaulting to the JPEG format when saving images?

I am using Windows XP SP3 and Paint 5.1 at the moment. I hope though that any hacks might be generic and I'd be able to use them across all my Windows machines.

  • Um...Windows has replaced pbrush with Paint since Windows 95. And before it had, Paintbrush (pbrush) has never supported JPEG.
    – user1686
    Aug 15, 2009 at 13:50

4 Answers 4


I use a dirty little hack for this.

  • Make a small blank white JPEG image and save it to a place like C:\blank.JPG and make it read only
  • right-click the paint shortcut in the start menu, and select "Properties"
  • Append "C:\blank.JPG" to the end of the Target field (keep the quotes)

now every time you open paint it will start with that JPEG image and the "Save As..." option will be set to JPEG. Since the image is read only, if you try and save over it, the "Save As" dialog will pop up instead.

If that doesn't suit your needs you can throw paint into ResHacker and search for the dialog or string table, and modify it accordingly.

  • It is an awfully dirty trick with overheads. Will use it as a last resort. Might also check ResHacker sometime.
    – nik
    Jul 17, 2009 at 6:28
  • 2
    oooh that's cunning.
    – U62
    Aug 15, 2009 at 13:46
  • None of these work.
    – harrymc
    Nov 29, 2013 at 10:05

For the Windows Vista / Windows 7 version of Paint, what I did was to right-click the "save as... JPEG Picture" menu option, and select "Add to Quick Access Toolbar". This put a shortcut of it onto said toolbar, which is pretty much the same thing that you want to accomplish, right?

I searched the registry and found nothing useful, so that's the best I got.


Here's a workaround hack that will open up a blank JPEG image and leave Paint offering JPEG as the default Save As... filetype when you want to save:

  1. Save a blank JPEG image, something like, blank.jpg on your computer somewhere
  2. Go to the actual file and lock it as read-only
  3. Right-click the Paint program from the Programs menu to bring up the Accessories menu
  4. In the Shortcut tab you'll see the Target field with a value something like:

  5. After that, put the file location and name of your blank jpg so it will read like:

    %SystemRoot%\system32\mspaint.exe "C:\path to\blank.jpg"
  6. Next time you fire up Paint, it will display that blank JPEG image. You can then do what you need. Save As... will now default to file type JPEG.

This works at least on Windows XP - I don't know if there's a simpler method for Windows Vista or Windows 7.

  • Yeah, I figured this path from John's trick. But, this from a techupport forum... well, I was hoping for better things, maybe a registry hack.
    – nik
    Jul 17, 2009 at 6:30
  • Registry hack would make things easier, but braver souls are out there to offer a possible solution.
    – random
    Jul 17, 2009 at 7:36

How about right-clicking the Save as -> JPEG Picture menu option and adding it to the quick access toolbar?

Quick access toolbar in Paint

This gives you a new button on the toolbar which you can use to save a new image in jpeg format.

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