How to retouch photos using Windows Photo Gallery

If you are one of those who often click some interesting pictures or have a nice collection of family photos, then this post will be of some use to you. Lets say you find that one of your old family photo has got torn, ripped or smudged and you don’t have the negatives to get it developed again. Or maybe you clicked a nice sunny blue sky and later find that you have clicked some unwanted telephone or cable wires too in that photo.

Retouch photos using Windows Photo Gallery

In such cases we can make use of Windows Photo Gallery and use the option of ‘Retouch’ to magically remove such small blemishes. ‘Retouch removes minor imperfections, marks and blemishes from Photos’. Let us see how to do this:

Make a copy of the photo before starting, just in case you need the original one -although Photo Gallery saves a copy of the original by default too. Open Photo Gallery and double click the photo you want to retouch. As you double click, it’ll open with the toolbar ribbon. Click on the ‘Edit’ tab and there you’ll see the ‘Retouch’ option.


Click on Retouch and move the mouse cursor on to the photo, you can see the cursor has turned into a cross. Just drag this cross (mouse pointer) to draw a rectangle across the imperfection you want to remove. And as soon as you leave the mouse button, it’ll magically remove the imperfection. You may not get it right the first time, but surely after few tries, you will. You should know that, after drawing the rectangle, Photo Gallery will try to match the surrounding color with the blemish and blend accordingly.


So repeat drawing the rectangle across the blemish areas. As you can see, it is to be used for small areas only. So you may have to repeat it and adjust a number of times. But the result is magical. Here are some examples of photos before and after applying the Retouch.

In this example, the photo is ripped, torn and you can see the torn mark and after applying the Retouch, the mark is almost gone!


And in the next example, we have used the Retouch tool to remove the unwanted cable wire from the photo.


Another common example is that some photos have dates imprinted on them. You can use this tool to remove it. Similarly you can find out many other ways to make the best use of this Retouch tool of Windows Photo Gallery. Put it to use and give it a try.

Windows Photo Gallery is free and part of Windows Essentials 2012 Suite.

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The author has been a Microsoft MVP awardee in various Windows categories (2006-2016) and currently a Windows Insider MVP. A Technology Enthusiast, interested in anything technical and is committed to Microsoft technologies and products. He is actively associated with various Microsoft online communities, forums, Newsgroups and has been actively involved in Beta testing various Microsoft products and bug submissions.


  1. Farkle

    When I am retouching, the software doesn’t pick the surrounding areas – for some reason it keeps picking the nose or the foot of a dog that’s far away from the area in question. Very frustrating. This program is basically a toy, not meant for pro use.

  2. Telecaster

    Farkle, you need to zoom in to get the most effective corrections. Also note that retouch seems (for me anyway) to work best if you make sure the blemish you want removed is in the right hand side of the rectangle you create with the mouse around it. Be patient and do just tiny parts at a time – especially if the area you are retouching is ‘busy’. I also had stray noses and feet appearing! Just press Ctrl+Z to undo anything you don’t want. Once you get the hang of how the software interprets what you are trying to correct, you will get the hang of it – and it becomes quite addictive. Good luck!

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