Help:Resizing Photos

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Resizing Photos for the Web and Email

These directions are adapted from: Rik Fairlie. "Big Pictures Made Suitable for Email." New York Times, May 22, 2008, p. C6.

When set to the highest resolution, standard digital cameras capture images at file sizes of roughly three megabytes.

Some tools for resizing and reducing photos are built into the operating systems of Windows and Mac computers. Others are included in software like Adobe Photoshop Elements and free online photo-sharing services.

Digital cameras, by default, save images as JPEG files. This is also the standard for images on the Web. When you are e-mailing or posting a photo, aim for a JPEG file size that ranges from 50 to 100 kilobytes. This will ensure that the image downloads (and uploads) quickly.

When resizing photos, always save the resized image as a copy, or use another file name, so you do not overwrite the original. If you want to print photos later, you will get far better results with that high-resolution file.

Directions for Macintosh Operating System

1. Using the Mac's default photo viewer, Preview, to resize photos:

Open an image.

Then select File.

Then Save As.

You can save the image as full size or using a slider bar to select quality, from Best to Least.

Select Least for the smallest file.

2. Using Mac's iPhoto, the photo-editing software that comes with all Macs, to resize photos (this is more complex than 1):

Click an image.

Then select File.

Then Export.

Then click the radio button for Scale Image No Larger Than.

Enter a resolution like 800 by 600, and click Export.

You will be asked to select where to save the file. When you do a smaller version of the photo will be exported from iPhoto.

Also using Mac's iPhoto:

Select Share, then E-mail.

The program lets you select small, medium, large or full quality.

It then opens your default mail software and attaches the image which you can then email.

Directions for Photoshop Elements

Works only with Outlook, Outlook Express and Windows Mail.

Those who use add-on photo editing programs like Photoshop Elements will encounter a couple of other terms: Constrain Proportions and Resample. The Constrain Proportions option prevents a photo from being stretched and distorted as it is resized. Resample enables the software to recalculate and modify pixel dimensions.

To resize an image in Photoshop Elements, open the photo and click Image, then Image Size.

After ensuring that Constrain Proportions and Resample Image are checked, change the resolution to 72, then enter a value in the pixel-dimension size box — the other value will adjust automatically.

For instance, enter a width of 800 pixels to resize a three megabyte photo to a size of roughly 100 kilobytes. To make it smaller, click Save, then move the Quality slider bar toward Smaller File.

If you do not have stand-alone image-editing software, don’t worry. You can resize images using programs that came with your computer.

Directions for Windows Vista Operating System

Works only with Outlook, Outlook Express and Windows Mail.

In Windows Vista, double-clicking a photo opens it in Windows Photo Gallery unless you specify otherwise.

An easy way to resize a photo is to e-mail it from Photo Gallery.

Open a photo and click the e-mail icon, and the program will provide four resizing options, as well as the choice to maintain the original size.

Windows uses generic descriptions like “small” to denote resolutions (600 by 400 pixels, for instance) and an estimate of the photo size.

A three-megabyte photo resized to “small” yields a file that is roughly 75 kilobytes.

After you click Attach, the program opens your e-mail program and adds the image to the message.

Directions for Alternative Windows Vista Resizing

Works only with Outlook, Outlook Express and Windows Mail.

As an alternative, you can right-click on a photo file, then select Send To, then Mail Recipient.

The software will create a new e-mail message and attach the photo. To share multiple images, press the Shift key while selecting them.

Vista includes an option in Windows Photo Gallery that enables you to quickly consolidate photos into a movie.

To do so, click Make a Movie, add a handful of photos, then select Publish Movie and E-mail. The photos will be saved as a movie file and attached to a new e-mail message.

Add music and titles if you like, but if you don’t want the fuss you can fire off a dozen photos using Movie Maker in less than a minute.

Directions for Windows XP Operating System

Works only with Outlook, Outlook Express and Windows Mail.

Windows XP also resizes photos, but it only offers three sizes.

A free download from Microsoft ( provides a little more flexibility. The plug-in offers four size options, and also lets you enter pixel dimensions for height and width. It does not have an option to constrain proportions, however, which means you need to be careful to enter dimensions that avoid distortion.

Directions for Browser-based e-mail

If you use browser-based e-mail, like Yahoo Mail or Gmail, uploading and attaching photos will require a few extra steps.

Directions for Web-based photo editing: Snipshot

Web-based photo-editing services like Snipshot ( might be easier for some to figure out. Snipshot is especially simple to use.

Upload an image from your hard drive, click and drag the red box at the edge of the image to resize, then click Save (you can also click E-Mail). The service saves the resized image on your hard drive. There is one caveat: Uploading a large file can take a minute or more.

Directions for Photo-sharing sites

Many photo-snappers simply store photos on digital photo-sharing sites, which resize images for easy viewing and e-mailing. Uploading and organizing images on these sites can be time-consuming. But once they are there, sharing is easy, since the sites have features that help users attract friends and family to their photo albums.


Flickr (, one of the most popular photo-sharing sites, lets members create a set of photos that can be e-mailed. The message is essentially a link that takes users to the photos on Flickr, but it includes thumbnail images.

To use this option on Flickr, create a set (Batch Organize, then Sets, then Create a New Set), then click Share This and enter e-mail addresses.


Picasa (, a photo-sharing site owned by Google, comes through with one of the most intuitive ways to e-mail photos. After you have uploaded images, simply click on one or more photos, then select the E-mail button. Picasa gives you the option of using Outlook, Gmail or Picasa Mail to send. All photos are automatically resized, usually to less than 50 kilobytes.

Facebook In Facebook, simply click Share, then enter e-mail addresses to dispatch a photo or an entire album.

MySpace MySpace does not allow users to e-mail albums, but individual photos can be shared via e-mail or sent directly to MySpace accounts.