A quick guide to downsizing images for online posting

In most cases the width should be 10 inches or less. The height should be nine inches or less. (900 pixels wide, 700 pixels wide.) Currently, attachments have to be no larger than 135 KB. This is usually more than enough.

Mac users

Open the image in Preview. You can do that in any of these ways:

  • previewDrag it onto the Preview icon in the Dock, which is a photo of a man on a beach with a photo loupe superimposed on it (see right)
  • Right-click on the photo (with a two button mouse; otherwise, hold down the Control key and click on it), move to Open With, and select Preview from the list
  • Open the Preview program (in Applications), from within Preview, open the image

Go the Tools menu and select Adjust Size. Make sure Scale proportionately and Resample image are both checked.

Enter the desired width or height, and make the resolution 72 dpi. (See the first paragraph on the page for size guidelines.)

In the File menu, select Save As (or Export) and choose a convenient place to save the smaller version (e.g. the desktop). Save as a JPG (most graphics) or a GIF (black and white, or solid colors only). (We take PNG now, too.) Move the Quality slider until you get the file size below 100 KB.

You can also use Preview to take images from a PDF file. Open the PDF in Preview, and click on the Select (dotted box) icon in the toolbar, select Copy from the Edit menu (or press command-c), create a new file (File > New or command-n), and the image will appear. Then just resize as needed and save it.

Windows 7 users

(Courtesy Bob O’Neill)

  • Right click the image and select “edit”
  • When the photo is displayed, click on the 'resize' tool in the tool 'ribbon' at the top.
  • Select the size you would like by typing the percentage in both the Horizontal and Vertical boxes. If you keep both numbers the same the photo will not lose its aspect.
  • Once you have made the photo smaller, save the file and look at the bottom of the edit window. You will see the size of the file. If you need to make it even smaller repeat the above process.
  • Save the file as a JPEG (JPG) (or, for line drawings, GIF) to a location you can find again. Remember to keep the original photo its original size so you will have the larger photo for future purposes. (You will probably have a quality control which does NOT need to be set anywhere near "best.")

Windows XP

“sedge” wrote, “An easy way to reduce photo size is to install the Microsoft Power Toys XP image resizer. You have to scroll down the page to find it.

Once installed, this little program integrates with Windows XP and all you need to do is right-click on your photo and chose "Resize Pictures" from the menu. A pop-up box then offers several sizes to make your picture or you can use the "Advanced" button to make a custom size.

Save the file as a JPEG (JPG) image if it's a photo, and as a GIF if it's a line drawing.

Windows Vista

If you have Vista, can you write instructions? We don't have Vista. The instructions for XP would probably work. The instructions for 7 might work.

*NIX, Atari, Amiga, and Mac Classic users

If you didn't know how to do this sort of thing already, you probably wouldn't be using Linux. And if you're still using Mac Classic, you probably know how to do pretty much anything on it. But we thought it was only fair to mention these systems.

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