MacPaint FAQ

MacPaint was one of two applications bundled with the original Macintosh; it and was the Mac’s default paint program. It was written by Bill Atkinson, and its user interface was designed by Susan Kare. It continued as freeware through version 2.0. MacPaint images could be copied to the clipboard and pasted into MacWrite documents.

MacPaint image

MacPaint image by Susan Kare.

Unlike other Apple software for the Mac, MacPaint 1 only allows having a one open document, and the size and location of window cannot be changed. To zoom in for detail work, MacPaint used FatBits, which greatly magnified a portion of the image.

MacPaint 2.0 was released by Apple’s Claris division in 1988. Users could now have up to nine open documents, each up to 8″ x 10″ It was discontinued early in 1988 due to low sales.

MacPaint inspired a world of competing paint programs.

MacPaint X is an unofficial port to Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and 10.5 Leopard on either PowerPC or Intel Macs. It is currently in beta.

Version History

Requirements are minimums.

MacPaint 1, 1984

  • 1.x, requires Mac 128K, System 1.0
  • 1.3 (May 1984) released with System 1.1
  • 1.4 (Sept. 1984) released with Mac 512K
  • 1.5 (April 1985) released with System 2.0

MacPaint 2, 1988

  • 2.0, requires Mac 512Ke, System 4.1, supports System 7.x

Online Resources

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