Resize Images For Email

by on April 24, 2007

Q: Is there a way, using Windows XP, that I can reduce the size of saved pictures so that when I send them via e-mail they wont be too large?

A: There are multiple ways to reduce the size of saved images in Windows XP, but the best method to use is determined by the photo itself.

If you have a large photo that you need to send via email there are several things to consider:

  1. Is the image raw or compressed?
  2. Was the image captured at such a high resolution that it may be difficult for the recipient to see the full picture?
  3. Does the recipient need to see everything that is in the picture?

If the picture you are sending via email was extracted from a digital camera, it may be uncompressed. Many digital cameras shoot in RAW format, which means that they save all of the information captured by the camera into the photo file, and there is no image compression. Typically digital camera files are saved as TIFF files (*.tif). A very quick way to reduce the size of a TIFF image is to convert it into a format with compression. By doing this, the image quality will be reduced enough to lower the file size without compromising the aesthetics of the picture. The easiest way to do this in Windows XP would be to use Microsoft Paint to open your picture and save it as a JPEG, which is the most popular form of compressed image.

To quickly save a TIFF as a JPEG:

  1. Click on “Start” > “Programs” > “Accessories” > “Paint”
  2. Click on “File” > “Open” and open the image you need to edit
  3. Click on “File” > “Save As…” and when the Save As window appears, edit the file name (to avoid confusion), and change the Save As Type to JPEG
  4. When you are ready click “Save” to save the file.
  5. To compare the size of the new file to the old file, “right click” on each of them and choose “Properties”. You will see the difference in file size.

As digital cameras get more and more complex and accurate, the pictures that they produce get larger and larger in dimensions as well as in file size. One of the easiest ways to reduce the file size of an image is to reduce the dimensions of the image. In Windows XP, the easiest way to accomplish this is to install a free add-on from Microsoft named Image Resizer. When you install this program, it places an option to “Resize Pictures” when you “right-click” on any image that you would like to resize.

Microsoft has provided a tutorial on using Image Resizer.

Sometimes images contain too much unnecessary information and need to be cropped. If a photo is taken and the subject is small, in a group, or far away, it may need to be cropped. By cropping a photo you immediately reduce the image size and allow other viewers to focus on the subject you intend for them to focus on. This is a relatively easy technique to learn and is used by professional photographers and graphic artists. There are several free software packages that will allow you to edit and crop images available today including Picasa from Google and Corel Snapfire.