How quickly can you resize an image for your blog? (Challenge Accepted!)

Those gorgeous, giant images your fancy camera takes suck — they suck bandwidth and file storage space.

How to resize an image for the web

This mansion image gets resized for better blogging

Remember when an 8-megapixel camera was sumpin’ special? Ha! Now you can buy 10-MP cameras at Big Lots for $29.95. Plenty of affordable digital cameras take 16-MP pics. New models from Canon and Nikon are touting 24 MP and higher. Hell, you can take pictures for billboards with those!

But wait–you can’t use these enormous photographs on your blog!

Even if you don’t mind loading up your Media Gallery with multi-megabyte photographs, you’ll still have to resize them when you post them for your readers. After all, you do want your pages to load in seconds, not minutes, right?

So, here’s the answer: Take your awesome high-rez pics, transfer them to your hard drive, and then make MUCH smaller copies for publication–for free.

Here’s how:
  1. Point and shoot to your heart’s content.
  2. Transfer full-resolution pictures to a folder on your PC’s hard drive.
  3. Open the new photo folder in Windows Explorer. (Folder should be in Pictures)
  4. Choose the photo you’d like to edit.
  5. Right-click > Open with > Paint
  6. Start your stopwatch.
  7. Use your keyboard to resize that giant image, like this–

With your photo open in the Paint program window:

1. Notice just how huge the original graphics file is: If you see scroll-bars in both directions, that’s a clue.

1 Giant Pic

2. On your keyboard, hit Ctrl + W (Image > Resize/Skew…)
3. Try typing 55 Tab 55, hit Enter (This will produce a 55% proportional reduction)

2 First Resize

4. Do you still see scroll-bars on the right and bottom? If so, now hit Ctrl + E (Attributes)

5. Look at the image size (Pixels). Is the Width more than 800 Pixels?
3 File Size Pixels
6. Do a quick, rough fraction in your head: 800 divided by the Width  of your current image. In my example, it’s 800/1479 — or just under 50%. That’s about how much smaller we want our resized image to be.

7. Now hit Enter (to close the Attributes window), then Ctrl + (to bring up the Resize window)

8. Type a new number that’s close to the % amount you just figured. I chose 45% for my example. So in my case I typed 45 Tab 45 then Enter.

4 Second Resize

9. Too small? (Mine is a bit smaller than I’d like it to be.) Type Ctrl + Z to Undo your last Resize.

5 Resize too small

10. Try a different resize, based on your most recent effort. I switched to a 48% reduction: Ctrl + W > 48 Tab 48 then Enter.

11. Once you’re happy with your picture size (somewhere around 800 x 600 pixels for best web viewing), be sure to use File > Save As… to store your resized image. This leaves the original unchanged at full resolution. To keep a reference to your source image, just add “edit” or “resized” to create the new file name.

6 Image just right

How much smaller will your resized image be? A lot!

My original was over one megabyte. Now, the resized image is just 109 KB–about 10% of the source image! This smaller photo will load very quickly on-site, take up only a tiny slice of storage space, and looks just fine for Internet viewing.

6 Compare file sizes

Bonus section: Crop your image

Microsoft’s Paint program makes Cropping easy, too. And you can decide what to crop at any time during the Resize process.

Oddly enough, there is no keyboard shortcut in Paint for cropping your photo. So, you have to use the top menu.

7 Cropping Image

  1. It’s best to Crop before you make your final Resize, especially if you’re removing a substantial part of your source image. Ideally, however, you can see the entire image inside the Paint editing window.
  2. Before you Crop, go ahead and use File > Save As… to rename your working image. This protects the original from any changes.
  3. Choose the Rectangle Select button, just below Edit in the top menu. (see above)
  4. Select the portion of your image that you want to keep.
  5. To retry your selection area, simply hit Ctrl + Z (Undo) and try again until you like the selected area.
  6. On the top menu, choose Image > Crop
  7. Save your image again.

What if you hate how your edited image turned out?

8 Cropped Image

Easy! Since you didn’t destroy your source image, you can simply reload it and begin again.

How long did the whole process take me?

One minute, five seconds — including the cropping and re-saving. Cool, huh?

Is Paint the only program you can use to do all this?

Nope. There are hundreds of choices for photo editing software, many of them free. So, why do I like to use plain ol’ Paint for this sort of editing? Because–

  • It comes with most PCs.
  • It’s easy to learn and simple to use.
  • And it doesn’t have a slew of distracting advanced functions.

By the way, I created all of those handy little screen shots using Paint, too. So there!


questionCan you beat my Resizing time? Got a program you like better for simple photo fixes? Tell us about it in Comments, below.

 

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Comments

  1. I use a much easier system. Download program free from here:
    http://www.avs4you.com/AVS-Image-Converter.aspx
    When you are resizing, you simply open the box (a small box pops up) and you click and drag your picture to the box. That’s it. It takes about a second. I have mine automatically set to make about the same size you did (100-150kb) but there are several sizes you can choose from. I can do 50 pictures as fast as I can click and drag, and that is it! You will end up with a file folder of resized pictures plus all your originals remain.

    • Cool!
      See how sneaky I am, Julie? I knew my expert readers would show up with great resources to trump my method!
      🙂

  2. A very simple, easier way is to use the free Picasa program.

    There is an option to e-mail a photo. If you have two e-mail addresses, e-mail yourself the photo. Voila! The photo is automatically reduced because it can’t be sent via e-mail large.

    That’s it. Simple.

    • Thanks, Eva!
      That’s a nice, simple way to do it. I should use Picasa more often. It was an “old friend” at one time. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. You taught me this a long time ago, Jim! Wonder if I ever thanked you? Well, I’m doing so now. Thanks, bud! 🙂

    • I thought I remembered this from a year or so ago, Glory.

      You’re welcome–for the help, and for the other ideas turning up here on this post! 🙂

  4. Love the short-cut tips. Ctrl+W and Ctrl+E. 🙂 Never knew that although I use Paint. But I use the Windows Office Picture Manager. Simple. Easy. And, I can crop and resize images with no hassles. Yep, that’s my secret, Jim, and now you know it too. 😀

    • I’m a little old-fashioned, Mandy. I love my keyboard short-cuts.

      Using the mouse all the time eventually cramps up my wrist; typing doesn’t. Still seems odd to me the certain key commands in Paint don’t have shortcuts, while some useless ones, like “invert colors” (???) do!

  5. I’ve been using the Windows Office Picture Manager, which is simple, standard choices for size reduction or custom sizing. Click picture/choose the size/Ok,/save, and it’s done. I also use Paint at times. We’ll have to try Julie’s method. “:) Sounds faster!

    • Very cool, Raymond.

      I’ve put off acquiring Office because of the cost. But when you already own it, nice to know it’s right there to help with pictures, too!

  6. Check out RIOT for compressing and resizing images, awesome tool: http://luci.criosweb.ro/riot/

  7. Hey Jim!

    You should try PicMonkey. It’s an online photo editor that not only allows you to resize photos in seconds, but even has pre-set sizes you can choose from (like for your Facebook Timeline cover image). You can also add overlays and text to your image too – easy peasy!

    • Thanks, Kim!

      I’m not the least bit surprised that you had a great recommendation, given your experience and expertise. I’ll check it out.

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