I would be extremely grateful to anyone pointing me in the direction of the Mac OS X analogue for the free Windows image-editing software Paint.NET.

Basically the way I use it is I take lots of screenshots for work, then put arrows in there, some ovals and text - it's all for documentation purposes - mainly for Confluence.

The feature I can't live without is the arrows - they have points where you can easily curve them creating a very good visual e.g. for tutorials.

And of course it's great that you can do all of that in a lightweight app, couple of clicks manner.

  • You could try krita.org Its open source, free, can do tons of things
    – sydd
    Commented Jan 29, 2021 at 0:15
  • @sydd Krita rather tries to be a replacement for Photoshop, but fails so hard on that. I had a lot of frustration with it to do simple tasks like centering a layer on the canvas, so I wouldn't recommend Krita as paint.NET replacement. It's better on the artistic side. Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 22:12

9 Answers 9


You should try Skitch. It does exactly what you want, take screenshot, put arrows, etc.

Get your point across with fewer words using annotation, shapes and sketches, so that your ideas become reality faster.

enter image description here


You can use builtin Preview.app for adding arrows, shapes, text, magnifying glass etc. It's not as lightweight as Skitch mentioned by @jherran, but does the job You need.

enter image description here

  • The preview app is good for quick annotations, but it's no replacement of paint.NET, it doesn't even feature layers. Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 22:07
  • Also I've not found a way to increase the canvas of a Preview image which is a really useful feature when trying to align an image. Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 10:03
  • 1
    @yeliabsalohcin What about Tools -> Adjust Size... Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 11:35
  • That adjusts the image dimensions (scales it), but it doesn't seem possible to keep the existing graphic the same size and add border in order to re-centre the graphic for example. Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 9:23
  • 1
    @yeliabsalohcin Yea but there's a workaround ;) Select All (CMD+A), Copy (CMD+C), Change Size, place white rectangle on top of the resized layer, Paste original image (CMD+V). I know it's clunky, but for fast and basic image manipulation it does the job. Commented Feb 7, 2022 at 11:40

Pinta is a free, open source drawing/editing program modeled after Paint.NET. Its goal is to provide users with a simple yet powerful way to draw and manipulate images on Linux, Mac, and Windows.


  • Thanks for the tip about Pinta! It's looking very promising, is it in active development? Still missing a few primary features important for me, e.g. arrows. I couldn't paste image selection copied from Preview - was getting an error that no image was detected in the clipboard. Will look again at it after a while. Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 21:21
  • you may want to look at the versión 1.5 available here :github.com/PintaProject/Pinta/releases/tag/1.5
    – Carlos
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 23:19
  • 2
    FYI: Pinta requires Mono for OS X.
    – z80crew
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 16:11
  • 9
    Pinta is one of the buggiest pieces of software I've ever used, and it hasn't been updated in years. I strongly recommend avoiding this garbage. Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 16:00
  • 2
    After years of no updates, Pinta released a new version in August 2020: pinta-project.com/releases/1-7 Commented Aug 23, 2020 at 17:36

None, there are none. Paint.net is irreplaceable.


Preview is quite lightweight, in terms of start up time. Plus, in OS X 10.10 Yosemite, you can use the markup that are part of Preview.app from within Mail.app (as soon as you have the Markup extension enabled (see System Preferences > Extensions > Actions).

Depending on the way you want to create your snapshots (i.e., for instance, including menus and the mouse), you might want to consider Grab.app.

If the normal screenshot options, or those available through Grab.app are not good enough, then using Skitch might be more your thing.

One final recommendation: if you use Google Drive instead of Dropbox (but they are working on Dropbox integration, too), Marqueed (https://www.marqueed.com) is an online tool for image annotation.


Gimp is a nice alternative. While it is a bit more complicated it can do a ton more

  • 54
    GIMP is actually a massive pain in the ass. They're looking for a Paint.NET alternative, and that is a very, very simple program.
    – Almo
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 0:53
  • 1
    I know I used to use it before getting a Mac and switching to gimp. It does have a learning curve but you can do some neat things. It can do things paint.net can do thus making it an alternative.
    – Big_Mac
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 0:54
  • 6
    "Alternative" implies "similar". GIMP is nothing like Paint.NET.
    – Almo
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 0:55
  • 9
    How difficult is drawing a straight line in gimp? I am trying from last 30 minutes. Waste of time.
    – chikak
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 15:50
  • 2
    Butt; "pain in the ass" is a common English expression.
    – Almo
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 17:22

You can use TechSmith Snagit:

  • non-free
  • Mac OS X / Windows
  • Provide many kinds of annotations for screenshots:

enter image description here


You could try Patina, which is free in the Mac App Store. It's very polished and has high ratings.

Improved answer:

  • Patina has a very simple interface that makes the learning curve very short.

  • Patina gives the user a lot of control by allowing the user to turn on and off certain features, such as anti-aliasing and interpolation (for the latter one, not yet at the time of writing this but very soon and most likely already by the time most people are reading this post).

  • Other features include continuous object rotation (not limited to 45 or 90 degrees), transparent image saving, a slider for controlling tool width thickness, and alpha blending of colors.

  • 2
    It would be nice if you added some details about the similarities and differences, and generally why to use it. High Ratings and Polished are opinion-based, rather than factually based
    – John K
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 18:42
  • 2
    Patina is the best paint.net alternative I've seen. Thanks for this.
    – miguel
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 0:38
  • 3
    Patina is a really great paint.net alternative. While it isn't free any longer, the price is extremely low.
    – z80crew
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 18:00
  • It looks like it was made for a child.
    – ADTC
    Commented Jan 16, 2023 at 15:32
  • My big problem with Patina is that it doesn't seem to be "pixel accurate". I'm betting there is a better, more technical term to describe this, but I'm not enough of a graphics person to know what it is. What I mean by this is that if I copy-paste a shape into the same image, I should end up with two identical shapes. That is not always the case in Patina, whereas it is in Paint.NET. I think my description is lacking because I haven't used Patina in a while, so I don't have a more specific detailed example in mind, but it is a problem that came up numerous times when I tried to use it.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jul 27, 2023 at 3:40

Although expensive, Napkin is purpose built for these tasks.

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