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HowTo: Shrink a Digital Photograph


Digital photographs can require very large amounts of storage depending on their "resolution" (pixels per inch) and their "color depth" (palette of possible hues). Often, the massive sizes of picture files make them difficult to transport or attach to emails. The college typically restricts the size of attachments that can be sent with its Mail tool to 100 kilobytes. So it is useful to know how to reduce the size of a digital picture file. There are hundreds of graphic editing programs capable of doing this. Most students have access to the simple Paint program that comes bundled with Windows®. So these instructions explain how to use it to reduce the size of a digital photograph so that it will be small enough to attach to an email message.

Procedure for Windows 7:

  1. Run Paint by selecting: Start (button), and then the menu items: All Programs, Accessories, and Paint.
  2. Use menu choices File (the tab to the left of the Home tab), then Open to locate and open your picture file. This will require some knowledge of about how to navigate the hierarchy of storage folders on your computer. For help about this, read the web page entitled Data Storage Concepts and Terminology.
  3. After loading your image, use the Resize button on the menu ribbon at the top of the window. In the Resize and Skew dilaog box that appears, enter 50 into the Horizontal and Vertical percentage textboxes to reduce the height and width to 50% of their original size, then click on the OK button.
  4. Then use menu choices File (the tab to the left of the Home tab) , Save As... to save the smaller picture to a different filename than the original - if you care to retain the larger original file.
  5. When complete, check the newer file's size. If it is not smaller than 100 kilobytes, repeat the procedure on the smaller file to reduce it again.

Procedure for Windows XP:

  1. Run Paint by selecting: Start (button), and then the menu items: All Programs, Accessories, and Paint.
  2. Use menu choices File, then Open to locate and open your picture file. This will require some knowledge of about how to navigate the hierarchy of storage folders on your computer. For help about this, read the web page entitled Data Storage Concepts and Terminology.
  3. After loading your image, use the menu choices Image, Stretch/Skew to open the Stretch/Skew dialog box and then enter 50 into the Horizontal and Vertical percentage textboxes to reduce the height and width to 50% of their original size by clicking on the OK button.
  4. Then use menu choices File, Save As... to save the smaller picture to a different filename than the original - if you care to retain the larger original file.
  5. When complete, check the newer file's size. If it is not smaller than 100 kilobytes, repeat the procedure on the smaller file to reduce it again.

Remember to attach the newly saved (reduced) file instead of the original big one when you send an email.

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