How to use image layers on Paint for Windows 11

Microsoft Paint app now supports layers, and here's how to use the feature on Windows 11.

Microsoft Paint with layers
Microsoft Paint with layers

On Windows 11, the Microsoft Paint app now includes support for layers, and in this guide, you will learn how to use the feature.

Starting with version 11.2308.18.0, you can add, remove, and manage layers on the canvas of an image file. Layers refer to the ability to stack multiple images, text, and graphics on top of each other, which you can then manipulate individually.

Usually, you would only see layers of more complex software, such as Photoshop and Gimp, but Microsoft has been improving its Paint app to make it more useful. In a previous update, the company even added the ability to remove background images with one click.

This guide will teach you the steps to use layers on the Microsoft Paint app for Windows 11.

How to use layers on Microsoft Paint

To use layers for images on Paint, use these steps:

  1. Open Paint on Windows 11.

  2. Click the Layers button in the command bar.

  3. Click the Plus (+) button (Ctrl + Shift + N) to create a new layer.

    Paint create layer

  4. Insert an image or create a shape with the tools available in Paint.

    Quick note: When you insert new elements in the canvas, they will apply to the new layer.

  5. (Optional) Right-click the layer and choose the “Delete layer” option to remove it from the file.

    Paint delete layer

  6. Drag the layers to change their order and bring a layer forward or backward.

  7. Right-click the layer from the right pane and choose the “Duplicate layer” to create another instance of the same element.

    Paint duplicate layer

  8. Right-click the layer and select the “Hide layer” to work on another layer.

    Paint hide layer

  9. Right-click the layer and choose the “Merge down” option to combine the layer with the layer immediately below it.

    Paint marge down layer

  10. Click the Save button.

Once you complete the steps, the layers will be saved into a single image.

Paint version 11.2308.18.0 also introduces support to open and save transparent “.png,” which means you can import images with transparent backgrounds into layers and save a transparent image with a white background. You will notice that an image has a transparent background because of the checkerboard pattern on the canvas.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].