A while ago, I discussed how to get your pictures on the web and some tips for optimizing the images, including mentioning the simplest thing that you can do to make your images more convenient for posting to the web, which is to resize them. A common misconception is that you need a way-too-powerful program such as Photoshop, or Paint Shop Pro, or even the GIMP, to resize pictures decently.However, the fact is that there are many options out there for programs that do nothing but resize images. The first is one that I have been using for a long time, but is only available to users of Windows XP who have a US-English version of the operating system. The other is compatible with all recent versions of Windows.
If you use Windows XP (Home or Professional) and it’s a US-English version, you can take advantage of Microsoft’s free Image Resizer PowerToy, available from Microsoft’s website. After downloading and installing it, using the program is quite literally dead simple.
When you’re viewing a picture in Windows Explorer, simply right click on it, and select Resize Pictures on the menu that comes up -
- This will open a new window that gives you a set of options for resizing the photo, specifically five sizes.
If you click on the Advanced button, you are presented with a couple of extra options - one to set a custom size for the resize, setting a restriction to make sure that pictures aren’t made larger, and one that will replace the original photo with the resized one (this is not recommended to use).
To resize the photo, simply select the size you want; (I’ll go with the Large size), and click OK. A couple of seconds later, the resized photo appears in the same folder as the original photo, named “picture name (selected size).extension“. All of the data that was coded in the photo (time and date, camera type, etc.) stays with the resized image, and it does a decent job of resizing the image, with some loss in quality.
The other option that is out there is one that is available for more versions of Windows than the PowerToy option, and it is - at my first glance - slightly more powerful than Image Resize.
Fast Image Resizer
Fast Image Resizer is a piece of free software that, like the PowerToy, simply resizes photos. You can download it from adionSoft’s website.
You can use this software if you use these versions of Windows - 2000, XP and Vista. Also, if you have the right equipment, you can run this software from any computer and have it maintain your custom settings.
After you download the program and install it, you will need to have two windows open - the program window and a Windows Explorer window which is on the folder that has the photo you want to resize. Before we resize a photo, let’s take a look at the software. This is the screen that you will see when you start it up. As you can see, it is very straightforward, with a Resolution selection box, an Options button and an exit button.
If you are ready to resize the photos using the default settings (or having just changed the resolution you want to change the picture to), simply drag the files you want to resize into the box where it says to Drop files here. When it is finished, it will say that it is done.
With the default settings, your resized image will be saved in a folder under the one where the image was stored to begin with called “resize”. The files will be named like this - “original name_horizontal x vertical.extension“. It is unlikely, but you can change the settings for the program in the Options window. This is what that looks like -
All of the options are straightforward. You can choose how the resized file is named, whether you want to rotate the picture, if you want to keep the data that was saved with the photo (date & time, etc. - also known as EXIF data) on the resized image, if you want to have the picture cut to make it fit the exact size of the resize (if you leave that turned off, the program will find a resolution close to the one you selected, but not exactly what you had).
When you’re done with resizing the photos you need to resize for the moment, simply click the Exit button or click the X in the upper right corner to exit.
To be honest, I didn’t even hear about Fast Image Resizer until when I was asked to put something together, and I have to say that it is definitely a program that, even after resizing only one photo, I would definitely recommend you try out.