How Can I Resize Pictures?

Our world is exploding with pictures from digital cameras and the Internet. Though it's easy enough to transfer these pictures to your computer for personal use, they rarely exist at the size you will want to use them. Fortunately, you can easily resize pictures and graphics by using a few simple methods either online or with a program.

Shrinking an image to save space


To quickly shrink a picture without much adjustment, use the Shrink Pictures website. (Its link can be found under Resources.) Click the "Browse" button to load the picture, specify the new image dimensions and picture quality, and then click the "Resize" button. The scaled picture then appears on the website. Right-click it and choose the "Save Image As" option to save the graphic to your computer.

With Graphics Program

Using a graphics program such as Adobe Photoshop lets you enlarge as well as reduce a picture and offers more adjustment flexibility. First, convert any color pictures to RGB mode to maintain color quality. Then use the Selection tools to crop away any unnecessary parts. If needed, select the entire image by choosing the "Select" menu and the "All" option.

From the "Edit" menu, choose the "Transform option" and then "Scale." Handles appear on the Selection tool and a Scale bar appears at the top of the document. To resize the picture using the handles, first enlarge the document window by holding the mouse key down on one corner and moving it until some gray appears around the picture. This gives you more room for adjustments. Then, click on a handle and while holding the left mouse key move it toward the middle to reduce. You can constrain the transformation by pressing the Shift key. Let go of the mouse key at the desired reduction. Finally, from the "Image" menu, choose "Crop" so that the canvas resizes to the reduced image.

Resizing using the "Scale" bar lets you enlarge or reduce the picture. Enter the percentage of scaling in the W box (width) and then click the "Chain" icon to maintain picture proportions. The number in the H box (height) automatically follows the W specification. To accept the changes, click the checkmark at the end of the bar.

You can enlarge the image by only a few percentage points before the picture appears pixelated. To minimize this effect, apply a Gaussian Blur from the "Blur" option of the "Filter" menu. Use a setting under 1.0 pixels to maintain some image detail.

Saving Images with a Program

To save your picture under a variety of formats, use the "Save As" option from the "File" menu in Photoshop. The TIFF format is best for preserving the most color and image information. If you're sending the image via email and you want the smallest file size possible, use the "Save for Web" option under the same menu. You can then move a "Quality" slider to compromise between image quality and file size before saving the picture as a JPEG, the most compact format.