Resizing Images Without Losing Quality

Have you ever spent hours on a document making sure the layout was just right only to have it rejected by your ISP when you try to email it to a coworker because the file size is too large? Or perhaps you have struggled to post a file to the Internet for students because the file is so large (even when compressed) that you could take a vacation and come back to it still uploading. File size can be a BIG problem when it comes to collaborating with colleagues, sharing student work with parents, and transferring files home to complete school assignments.

Pictures Can Inflate the Size of a File

Often the reason a document size inflates is because of the pictures included in the file, especially photographs. Today, digital cameras take such high-quality images that only a few images inserted into a document can cause a file to bloat in size. There are several ways that you can reduce the file size of a document, poster, PowerPoint presentation, or webpage, especially if it contains pictures.

Compress an Image within Microsoft Office Program

Microsoft Office includes a tool that you can use to reduce the size of images in a document. This tool can quickly deflate the size of a file. If your document is to be viewed on screen or does not need to print at a high-resolution this can be a viable solution. To compress the images within the Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010 program:

  1. Select an image within the document.
  2. Choose the Compress Pictures command from the Adjust group on the Picture Tools Format tab.
  3. Select the desired options and click OK.
  4. Save a copy of your document.

NOTE: TechnoKids often does not use this compression option because it can make pictures when printed appear “mushy” when printed at a high-resolution.

Compress an Image with Windows Image Resizer

2MB file

50KB file

Another option that was first developed by Microsoft for Windows XP is the Image Resizer PowerToy. It has now been revamped to work beautifully with Windows Vista and Windows 7. This FREE program allows you to quickly resize an image or batch of images with just a few simple clicks.

For example, the image on the left is almost 2MB in size, the image on the right is 45KB! The great news is that visually, the pictures will look the same when printed at a high-resolution.

There are many programs that can compress an image to make it easy for someone to send a picture as an email attachment or post a picture to a web page. However, often the compressed picture will pixelate if it is resized too large when inserted into a document. The Windows PowerToy and Image Resizer for Windows offer the unique advantage of small file size paired with scalability. The picture can be scaled to fill an entire Microsoft Word page or PowerPoint slide without loosing its sharpness.

To compress the images using the Image Resizer for Windows:

  1. Install the Windows PowerToy (click the PowerToys tab) or Windows Vista and Windows 7 Image Resizer.
  2. Open the folder that contains the pictures you want to resize. In Thumbnail view, right-click any picture you want to resize, and then click Resize Pictures from the Windows Explorer context menu.
    • To resize a sequence of photos at once, click the first photo, hold down the SHIFT key, and then click the last photo in the sequence.
    • To resize non-sequential photos, click the first photo, and then hold down the CTRL key while you click the other pictures you want to resize.
  3. In the Resize Pictures dialog box, click the size you want your photo to be, and then click OK. Typically, Small is a good selection. The original image file will remain, but a new, resized file will appear in the same folder.
  4. Image Resizer also includes some additional advanced features. Click the Advanced tab to show the following options:
    • Custom: This option lets you manually set the size you want for your photos.
    • Make pictures smaller but not larger: This option constrains resizing to only sizes smaller than the original photo.
    • Resize the original pictures (don’t create copies): This option permanently applies resizing to your original photo.

About TechnoLaurie

Laurie Gerard, Research and Development - Laurie Gerard is responsible for the research and development center at John Knox Christian School (JKCS). Many years ago, TechnoKids Inc. formed a partnership with the school community to have teachers test our instructional materials. This relationship ensures that the projects are developmentally appropriate, meaningful to students, integrate into the curriculum, and have clear instructions. Laurie works with the staff and students at JKCS to help them operate their technology program. Her duties include curriculum support, computer lab maintenance, and upkeep of the network and server. As a key member of the Information Technology Committee at the school she provides advice regarding the technology program. Her devotion to the school community and their technology program makes her an invaluable member to our team. Laurie's contribution to the blog includes entries about the challenges of integrating technology in a school environment. The technical issues she overcomes related to hardware, software, and networking will be passed on to you in the form of practical strategies. In addition, she writes about the real-world problems faced by a school as they struggle to offer a quality technology program with a limited budget.