Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Images from cameras are often too big to display on websites, they're often bigger than people's screens. We'll look at resizing and cropping photos.

How do I make a picture smaller so I can post it on myspace? The pictures I take are huge when I post them.

I'm going to assume you mean smaller visibly. Perhaps the picture, when displayed, is too large to fit on the screen and you want to make a version of the picture that might fit in a smaller area on the screen.

Windows comes with a tool that will allow you to make these kinds of simple changes.

What we'll really be doing is "image editing". There are many, many programs out there that will allow you to manipulate images; the most common you might recognize is Adobe Photoshop, but there are many others. They're can be extremely powerful and allow you to make many different types of changes to a photo or image.

But if all you want to do is resize an image, the Paint program that comes with Windows will do just fine.

We'll operate on this example picture:

Baja Kitty example picture

That image is 200 pixels wide by 342 pixels high.

Let's assume that's too big for our purposes, and we want it to be smaller on the screen.

First open the picture in Paint. Paint should be on Start, All Programs..., Accessories. Once you have Paint open, hit its File menu, and click the Open item, and locate and load your image file:

Example image in the Paint program

Let's assume we want the new picture to be half the size of the original - 100 pixels wide and 171 high. Click on the Image menu and click on Stretch/Skew.... In Paint terminology we'll be "stretching" the image, which includes making it smaller. You'll see this dialog:

Paint Stretch/Skew dialog

Enter 50 for both the Horizontal and Vertical percentages and press OK. The result might look like this:

Example image resized smaller in the Paint program

"It's important never to overwrite your original when making changes to an image."

Now hit File, Save As... and save the new, smaller image using a different name. Here's the result, next to the original:

Baja Kitty example picture Baja Kitty smaller example picture

There's another approach to making a picture smaller called "cropping". Rather than resizing the entire picture, we simply cut out portions of the picture. In Paint one way to do this is to click on the Select tool:

Paint calling out the Select tool

And then clicking and dragging a smaller rectangle within the image:

Paint with image area selected

Now:

  • Click on Edit and then Copy to copy the selected area to the clipboard

  • Click on File and then New to create a new image

  • Click on Edit and then Paste to paste clipboard contents into the new image.

The result might be something like this:

Cropped area pasted into new image

Once again hit File, Save As... and save the new image using a different name. And again, here's the result next to the original:

Baja Kitty example picture Baja Kitty cropped example picture

Here you can see that the picture is "smaller", in that it takes up less space, but the portion of the original that it still displays is the same size.

A few additional notes.

It's important never to overwrite your original when making changes to an image. Each change you make has the potential of losing information. For example making an image smaller makes it less clear. You can resize that smaller image back to its original size, but it'll look fuzzier than the original. Similarly once you crop an image, you can't "restore" the cropped areas.

Resizing images is a great way to make pictures more friendly to folks you might email. I'm always getting pictures from people who've sent me their original high resolution image that doesn't even fit on my screen. Yes, there are ways I can view it, but there was simply no reason to send that huge file in the first place. Resizing it, as outlined above, not only makes it easier to view it can also significantly reduce the size of the email carrying it as well.

I use Paint in this example because it's with every copy of Windows. It's not really that good a program, and can be a little difficult to use. If you find yourself doing this frequently, you may find that many image viewers also provide rudimentary editing capabilities for cropping and resize and more. And the next step, getting a "real" image editing program, is a recommended option as well.

Article C2984 - April 4, 2007 « »

Share this article with your friends:

Share this article on Facebook Tweet this article Email a link to this article
Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

29 Comments
anon
April 4, 2007 9:28 PM

Actually you can reduce the file size without making the picture smaller. One way to do that is using the jpeg wizard. This is available online to try:
http://www.webreference.com/services/graphics/jw/index.html

If the image is a gif file, gifoptimizer can do the trick.
http://www.inicom.net/pages/en.products-freeware.php#f3) It will remove the unused color and (for gif animation) duplicated frames to reduce the file size.

Sam
April 6, 2007 7:32 PM

My bet is that file size is much the issue (and perhaps THE issue) on My Space. I recommend Irfanview (picture viewer/manager)from www.irfanview.com (free, but outstanding).
I frequently use the "Batch Conversion" feature to quickly reduce file size and/or resolution for email purposes. A 1-2MB picture file can easily be reduced to a 100-200KB file (or smaller).

kiko
April 8, 2007 3:56 AM

perhaps easiest of all for the novice is the Windows Power Toys Image re-sizer - after install just right click on the image and choose "resize picture(s)" - only 4 choices for size but they should cover most situations just fine and it does an admirable job reducing file size without much quality loss...automatically resizes and renames (leaves original intact) in the same directory...very handy and quick...at:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx

Truman
April 8, 2007 9:23 AM

If you just want to resize the picture as per view, load the picture into your editor (WYSIWYG)click on it once. Then while holding down the [Shift] key, click on the bottom right handle in the bottom right corner and drag toward the center of the picture. Holding down the [Shift] key will maintain the object's aspect ratio. Then save and upload to your server.

Mike
April 13, 2007 3:36 AM

I would LOVE to see how to do these things, but for Mac OSX... I'm having an impossible time even doing simple things like saving the image as a smaller file in Photoshop. (NO paint for Macs).(Nothing that useful or simple from the 'user-friendly and simple' company).

Thierry Delettre
April 16, 2007 5:50 AM

For Mac OS X users, there is a program called GraphicConverter ( a shareware, bundled with many Mac CPUs), much easier to use than Photoshop and making all file-size/image-size manipulations (and much more) in very simple way.

renee
May 18, 2008 7:55 PM

Thank you sooooo such... I got what i needed to get done without having to spend any money and i had the programm just did not know how to use it.....
I learned something new today thanks to you..
thank you renee

Kathy
June 24, 2008 10:20 AM

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I've done resizing but found it cumbersome. This is my first intro to Paint and I find it just lovely... It will assure that the sizing is correct, without by having to guess or use Photoshop.

susan bird
August 27, 2008 9:08 AM

this makes no sense i just want my pic less than 5md..i don't know jack about compression reslution etc...this is not user friendly..give me a site that says reduce this pic to 5mb

Heather
August 28, 2008 10:33 AM

GENIUS!!!!!!!! Thankz!!

marvin
September 7, 2008 3:30 PM

after i get on line all the pics are larger then the screen i have tried several different ways and can not get it to work yours included i am very stupid on a comp but i tried. thanks for your time and smarts

marvin
September 7, 2008 3:45 PM

hope you get this,maybe this would make a difference on my earlier note i think i am talking about pixelsi need to change them to 800xi think it was 600. told you i was comp ignorant.

Valerie
October 21, 2008 10:52 AM

I'm with Susan Bird. None of this makes sense to me. I tried to use Paint but it's speaking pixels and I'm speaking mb. I just want to reduce my 2.34mb to 2mb. Why is that so hard??

COLLEEN
November 28, 2008 9:34 PM

MY MOM ..COULD YOU SHRINK A 12X14 THAT IS NEAR 70 YRS. INTO A LOCKET SO SHE COULD HOLD HER GRANDMA NEXT TO HER HEART? LONG STORY, SHE'S SLIPPING AWAY, HER GRANDMA WAS THE ONE TO KEEP HER FROM THE INSANITY OF HER CHILDHOOD. MY MOTHER IS AVICTIM OF ABUSE. aLTHIEMERS IS SUCH A DRAG. PLEASE RESPOND. THANX, COLLEEN

Yes, but if this is a physical (not digital) picture you're talking about, I'd recommend speaking to a local photo shop for assistance in safely handling it and making the copy.
- Leo
29-Nov-2008

Shelley
December 6, 2008 8:41 AM

Hello, Thank you sooo much! I love this site!! Thanks for being there for me/us. I had two questions and they were both answered at the same time. Thanks

Sara Walker
December 16, 2008 2:25 AM

I have bought my mum a locket for xmas and need to resize photo's from my computer to fit into the locket is there a software programme I can get, please advise the best results.

Thanks

Doug Bays
February 24, 2009 11:52 AM

Hi Leo. Love the site.
There are a number of dedicated Image Resizers available that just require a Right Click on the image/photo and a selection of sizes, ie: Small(640X480) Med(800X600, Large(1024X768), or a Custom box to type in any size.
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx > and this one will handle Vista as well Hope this helps.

Rita
March 3, 2009 12:06 AM

Thankyou so much for your help, I have tried so many times to reduce a picture but it never seemed to work your article was so easy to follow was beginning to give up hope.

sleepy
June 12, 2009 11:01 AM

This was so easy to follow and worked great.

Thank you

peggy
September 1, 2009 10:31 PM

Thanks for this_ I have spent alot of time searching the computer for ways to make image re-sizing work for me so I could email my pics..They were so large..Your instructions were perfect!!!

Michelle
October 27, 2009 3:21 PM

This was a great article, thanks! I keep finding pictures on the internet that I want for my laptop background, but they're too big, and now I can actually use them without having insanely blown up images!

Neena
December 24, 2009 4:25 AM

Your article is simply worth it. Very good and simple instructions, thanks Leo, Now I want to know how do I resize the pictures all at once, instead of doing one by one, it becomes very tedious.
Thnks.

laura
December 30, 2009 2:42 PM

thanks so much tips were great so easy to follow thanks

Maddie
July 26, 2010 3:32 AM

Thank you so much for this article, I was panicking that I wouldn't be able to get photos smaller so that I could put them onto Picnik (An editing website) as the file was too big for that website. Anyways thank you so much :)

jinie
December 24, 2010 7:26 AM

THERE IS AN EASIER WAY..
download ez thumbnails it's free you can resize as much pics you want. just google it... :D

Robert Cudlipp
June 25, 2011 4:06 AM

That is fine, and I don't find it at all difficult to reduce the physical size of the digital image.
However, for email etc purposes, how do I go about reducing , say a 4/5MG file, to file of say 500 Kb ,and there will be no denigration in the quality of the picture. Some MS products e.g. Outlook auto prompt this.
But what if I'm using Hotmail, Gmail etc.

Thanks.
Robert Cudlipp

Mark J
June 25, 2011 4:33 AM

@Robert
You can use the FastStone picture viewer to reduce the physical size of your digital images. Most web mailers don't have this option. Of course there will be some denigration but the photos will still be viewable and of reasonable quality.

http://ask-leo.com/faststone_image_viewer_an_easy_to_use_tool_to_view_organize_and_manipulate_images.html

If you use XP you can get an MS Powertoy to get a context menu (right click) option to resize your photo. For Vista and 7 there are 3rd party programs to do this. Google "context menu photo resizer" There are several available, but since I haven't tried any I won't make any recommendations. Perhaps someone can suggest one here in a comment.

Jean
June 13, 2012 11:30 AM

Thanks! It worked perfectly!

David
October 24, 2012 8:40 AM

Try a prog called 'Fileminimizer',it's free and has many variations.
Cheers

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.