How to Compress Picture Files in a Computer

By Louise Balle

Most email accounts and online applications only allow you to upload and attach a file that is up to a couple of megabytes (MBs) in size. So when you have a group of large picture files that you need to send, or you just want to save space on your hard drive, you need to compress them. Most computers come with a built-in file zip program (like WinZip) that combines and compresses everything. You can also download a zip program, like StuffIt, to get a better handle on your large picture files.

Things You'll Need

  • Zip program installed on your computer
  • Image editing software

Step 1

Save your picture files at a reasonable resolution in your image editing software---300 dpi is good. If possible, save them as JPEG files, since JPEGs tend to be lower in size as compared to TIFs. Ideally, your picture files should be no more than 5 to 10 MBs each if you're trying to save space.

Step 2

Create a new folder and move the picture files there so that they won't get mixed up with your other files when going through the compression process.

Step 3

Select all of the picture files that you want to compress. Either hold down the "Ctrl" key as you select each file individually, or click, hold down and drag your mouse over the files to select them.

Step 4

Right-click one of the selected files (even though you are right-clicking only one of the files, all of the rest should still be selected) and press "Send to>Compressed Folder" in Windows; and on a Mac click "Create Archive."

Step 5

Allow the files to compress into one zip file. This could take a few minutes, depending on the number of files and their size.

Step 6

Rename the compressed file to something that will help you identify it in the future; for example, "Halloween Party Pictures." Delete the unzipped picture files if you wish to save space on your hard drive.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you want the compressed file to have password protection, open up the compressed file, right-click the white space outside of the files and click "Add Password."
  • If you have many picture files that will eventually need to be sent out or uploaded, you will need to create separate zip files with just a couple of pictures in each. Try to keep each zipped file under 5 MB.
  • Back up all of your unzipped picture files on a reliable zip storage drive in case there is a problem with the zip file on your computer.
  • Some compressed files can become corrupt unexpectedly and cause you to lose your zipped picture files.