Win 9x - Add editable text to your bitmap images

Do you sometimes receive faxes on your computer, or photos via e-mail, that you need to comment on and return, or forward to someone else? Or perhaps you've created a simple slide show and you want to add text to serve as titles or to provide promotional or instructional information.

If you don't have a graphics program with capable text or annotation features, you can use the annotation tools in Windows' Imaging program. Its tools are far superior to Microsoft Paint's for editing text and other graphic objects, without damaging the underlying bitmapped image.

Launch Imagining

To launch Imaging, choose Start-Programs-Accessories-Imaging. If you don't see Imaging on the menu, you can install the program: choose Start-Settings-Control Panel, double-click Add/Remove Programs, and click the Windows Setup tab. Select Accessories and click Details. Check the box next to Imaging, click OK, and follow the prompts on screen. If you use Windows 95, you may have to download Imaging from Microsoft (unfortunately, this version is not as functional as the version for later flavours of the OS). Go to and search for Imaging using the Keyword Search feature. Be sure to specify Windows 95 as the operating system.

Choose File-Open to add text to an existing image; or choose File-New, and on the New Blank Document dialogue box's File Type tab, select TIFF Document (TIFF). Click the Color tab and select 256 Colors or True Color (24 bit). Next, click the Size tab, choose Custom from the bottom of the Size drop-down list, and select Pixels from the 'Units' drop-down list. For Width and Height, specify a size that matches your screen resolution. (If you're not sure what that is, right-click the desktop and choose Properties. Click the Settings tab and look for the dimensions of your screen area in pixels; 800x600 and 1024x768 are common examples.) Now click OK.

Choose File-Save As, and make sure TIFF Document (*.tif) is selected in the 'Save as type' drop-down list. Saving in the TIFF format lets you edit the text and graphics you add without ruining the underlying image. It also enables the annotation tools you'll need for adding text.

Add Text

Now use the annotation toolbar (located at the bottom of the screen) to add text to your image. If you don't see it, choose View-Toolbars, check Annotation, and click OK. (For older versions of Imaging, try Annotation-Show Annotation Toolbox.) Set the properties of the drawing and text controls to the font and colour of your choosing: right-click any button, choose Properties, adjust the settings, and click OK. Select the text tool, drag to create a box that's large enough for one or more lines of text, and then begin typing. You can use the other tools to add boxes, lines, and freehand shapes. The Annotation Selection tool (the plain pointer) moves, resizes, and deletes objects. Newer versions of Imaging let you edit text added previously by double-clicking it, which returns you to text-editing mode. In older versions, you must select the text box, delete it, and then create the desired text.

The editable text saved with images in the TIFF format may not show in the preview area of Explorer folders (depending on your version of Windows) or in Windows Me's slide show mode (see this month's Windows Me column for details on how to use the slide show feature). You have to "burn" the text and other objects onto the image. Save the editable TIFF file in a separate folder for future updates, then choose Annotation-Make Annotations Permanent to burn the text in. Now choose File-Save As and save this burned-in version with your other slides. The TIFF format is preferable to the BMP format because it's more compressed. Use the fax format (AWD) only if you're merely marking up a black-and-white image; AWD doesn't preserve colour and doesn't work with Windows Me's slide show mode.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Scott Dunn

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?