resizing photos in Windows XP

In the past Windows users have asked me how to resize the photographs they take with their digital camera. It wasn’t until recently, when I learned that the Paint program that comes with Windows has the ability to resize images, that I could provide a useful response,

If you send five or ten pictures to your Aunt Myrtle who uses a modem to connect to the internet and she tells you it takes several hours to download your e-mail, this is for you.

Windows Paint gives you two ways to resize the image: by percent or by dimension. I’ve found that 640×480 is a good size for photographs to post on the web or to e-mail to people, so if you change the dimensions to that, you’re done. I’m assuming your camera takes pictures at a standard resolution such as (800×600, 1024×768, 1280×1024 etc.). If it doesn’t, the picture will look kind of funny because it won’t have the correct aspect ratio.

The other way to resize your image is to reduce the size by a percent. You can then see how big the new image is, and adjust accordingly. I try to keep my photos between 25KB to 75KB. Now for the instructions.

How to resize your photograph by exact dimensions

1. Right click on the image and select ‘Edit’. (This should bring up Windows Paint.)
2. On the menu bar at the top, select Image -> Attributes…
3. If the image is a portrait layout, use a width of 640 and a height of 480. If it’s a landscape layout, use a width of 480 and a height of 640.
4. Save the file (you may want to ‘Save As’ to a different file so you don’t overwrite the original.)

How to resize your photograph by percent

1. Right click on the image and select ‘Edit’. (This should bring up Windows Paint.)
2. On the menu bar at the top, select Image -> Stretch/Skew…
3. Change the percentages in the Stretch box for both Vertical and Horizontal. Make them both the same or else the picture will not be proportionate.
4. Save the file (you may want to ‘Save As’ to a different file so you don’t overwrite the original.)

It’s possible that the software you got with your digital camera will resize images, but I’ve found that some don’t, hence the need for an alternative. If you want something to do advanced photo editing, like reducing red-eye or airbrushing a blemish, you have lots of options. You can go with the rather expensive but extremely powerful Adobe Photoshop. I use The GIMP on Linux, and they have a version for Windows, but I don’t know how well it works. Google offers a free program called Picasa (version 2 was just released) that does a great job of organizing your pictures for slide shows, and it also has the ability to reduce red-eye. You can find loads of alternatives on Google.


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  1. I installed the Windows version of the GIMP on my parents’ computer. Other than the fact that it lags behind a little bit (as far as versions go) it seems to work just fine.

    Comment by mckay on January 20, 2005 @ 9:53 am
  2. McKay: Thanks, that’s good to know.

    Comment by dan on January 20, 2005 @ 11:38 am
  3. Thanks for the resizing instructions, never knew those aspects of paint existed, now job is much easier, Chris

    Comment by Chris Harris on February 17, 2005 @ 7:11 pm
  4. I am having trouble reading and downloading my yahoo email what is the problem.

    Comment by Ernestine Carter on April 17, 2005 @ 11:59 am
  5. Thanks for the resizing instructions. I am always being asked by people how to resize photo’s for various reasons and this is much easier than getting additional software! Thanks!

    Comment by Kiri on October 9, 2005 @ 3:54 am
  6. Thanks for the instructions. Now I don’t have to blog it. =)

    I have two suggestions for your article –
    1) Clarify that if Edit doesn’t bring up Paint they should be able to right click->Open->Paint.
    2) Usually folks are resizing to make the image smaller. There are two ‘knobs’ to do this – 1) dimensions, as covered above, 2) file format encoding. As for 2, people should be sure to use JPG for photos, and PNG for straight edge / logo type images.

    Thanks again.

    Comment by Dave Gray on December 11, 2005 @ 4:29 pm
  7. Dave: Thanks for the additions.

    Comment by dan on December 11, 2005 @ 8:13 pm
  8. Thank you! I have been trying to figure out how to resize using what I already have. It bugs me to put pix on a cd to show on tv screen and have them all different sizes. When It’s something I’ve scanned I know how to make it the right size so that it fills the tv screen. But pix from my digital or emailed to me from someone else are all different sizes. Thanks :)

    Comment by darcy on March 8, 2006 @ 8:20 pm
  9. WOw!, thanks for the instructions, so simple, fast and extremely helpful. I browsed and browsed, until I found you!


    Comment by Carlos on October 29, 2006 @ 2:40 pm
  10. Carlos: Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found the instructions helpful.

    Comment by dan on October 30, 2006 @ 7:57 am
  11. When I try this it just cuts my photo to the size I want it instead of shrinking it. I don’t know what the problam is?

    Comment by Brittany on December 28, 2006 @ 6:56 pm
  12. Brittany: Try resizing by percent (the second instructions) instead of by absolute. I could have sworn both ways resized the image when I tested them, but I just tried it on Windows XP and the first way just cropped the image.

    Comment by dan on December 31, 2006 @ 7:41 am
  13. Excellent thankyou so much great help

    Comment by benn1 on January 15, 2008 @ 3:32 pm
  14. I found the easiest “Irfanview”, a (small download) free program that you can find here:
    You can do so much more with it, but as far as reducing photo size:
    Once you have your Irfanview program installed, open it and click on “file” then “open” and a window (with a preview window included!) will open in which you then can select the photo. Open and then you go to “image” then select “resize” (or quicker still: press “R” while holding down the Ctrl key). Finally choose the size you want. Note: You can also convert a whole batch of them in one go: Go to “file” and select “Batch conversion” and then select the photos you want to resize. It is an excellent free software program and you can do “Photoshop-like” things and much more. Slideshows and the lot. Enjoy and good luck!

    Comment by ed on April 11, 2008 @ 1:36 pm
  15. Ed: I hadn’t heard about Irfanview when I wrote this post but I’ve since learned about it, downloaded it and use it frequently. I tend to use it for viewing images but I’ll look into its resizing capabilities too.

    Thanks for the tip!

    Comment by Dan on April 11, 2008 @ 3:49 pm
  16. I have been trying for ages to re-size photo’s. I was told about your site and I have found it so easy to re-size. Thank you very much

    Comment by 3puttjohn on March 3, 2009 @ 9:03 am
  17. All I can say is “God Bless You!”. I had the same problem as Brittany so want to thank her for asking the question. Trying to create my own web site and am “such” a novice. This will save me hours!! Thank You!!!

    Comment by Candles on May 20, 2009 @ 8:49 am
  18. @Candles I’m glad this was of use to you. In the immortal words of Tiny Tim, “God Bless us, everyone” :)

    Comment by Dan on May 20, 2009 @ 10:30 am
  19. Thank u so much for soliving my problem..I had a same problem for reducing file size in bul(batch).. May Allah Almighty bless u..Very good S/W.

    Comment by Ismail on September 11, 2010 @ 5:14 am
  20. Thank you very much for the tips of resizing photos on Windows XP. It’s nice and simple.

    Comment by Tracy on February 23, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

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