How to Convert Thumbnails to Larger Photos

By Kevin Lee

Some of the best photos are also the smallest. Thumbnails are miniature representations of larger photos and graphic images. Websites use thumbnails to display smaller, preview versions of CD covers, books and other entities. You might even receive thumbnail images in your email. Using a free program that comes with Windows 7, you can turn tiny, hard-to-see thumbnails into large photos that you can enjoy.

Capture the Thumbnail

Step 1

Locate a Web page that has a thumbnail you wish to enlarge.

Step 2

Press your "Print Screen" key (in the upper-right corner of your keyboard). Pressing that key captures the contents of your computer screen.

Step 3

Locate the "Start" menu button at the lower left of your screen. Click that button, and then click "Paint." This opens the Windows 7 Paint application. This utility allows you to create and modify images.

Step 4

Press "Ctrl" and "V." Paint pastes an image of your computer screen onto the canvas. The program also selects the entire image and draws a rectangle around it.

Step 5

Right-click the image and select "Invert Selection" from the drop-down list. This removes the selection from around the image.

Enlarge the Thumbnail

Step 1

Locate the "Image" button near the top-left corner of the screen. Click that button to display a drop-down menu. This menu contains a "Select" button.

Step 2

Click the "Select" button, then click "Rectangular Selection." Your mouse cursor changes into a rectangle.

Step 3

Review the image on the canvas. Since it is an exact copy of your computer screen, it contains the thumbnail you saw when you pressed "Print Screen."

Step 4

Left-click the top-left corner of the thumbnail, hold down your left mouse button and draw a rectangle around the thumbnail. Press "Ctrl" and "V" to copy that selection to the Windows clipboard.

Step 5

Press "Alt" and "F4." A pop-up window asks if you wish to save changes that you made. Click "Don't Save." Paint will close, but the image that you copied of the thumbnail remains in the Windows clipboard.

Step 6

Open the Paint program again as described in the previous section.

Step 7

Press "Ctrl" and "V." Paint will paste the thumbnail onto the canvas. Handles appear around the edge of the thumbnail.

Step 8

Click the handle on the bottom-right corner of the thumbnail, hold down your left mouse button, and drag the thumbnail until it reaches your desired size.

Step 9

Press "Ctrl" and "S." A "Save" window opens. Type a name for the image in the "File Name" text box and click "Save."

Tips & Warnings

  • Use this technique to capture thumbnails from anywhere. For example, if you see one in a PDF on your hard drive, take a screenshot of your screen and follow these steps to convert the thumbnail into a larger photo.