How To: Save, crop and resize image files

At a recent Toastmasters Club meeting, Tevis encouraged us to appreciate the impact of adding pictures to PowerPoint presentations. Unlike plain text, a memorable photograph adds to a talk without distracting from the speaker.

It was obvious from the discussion that some Club members did not know the basics of how to find, save and manipulate images. Since this is part of my day job, I offered to write up a series of simple ‘how to’ guides for Windows XP users.

In the first of the series, I’ll show how you can start to build up a library of pictures for future presentations by learning how to save, crop and re-size image files. These can be used in PowerPoint presentations, posters, magazine and newsletter layouts, websites and blogs.

Saving an image file

Putting aside questions about where to find image files, copyright issues and how to insert image files into PowerPoint – which I’ll discuss in a later posting – the first practical step to understand is how to save an image file.

I’ll take as an example the photograph of the book cover I used in my last blog posting. It was sourced from a Google Image search for the title of Harold’s book: 4 Steps to Financial Security for Lesbian and Gay Couples. (I had permission from the author to include his book in the profile, so copyright was not an issue).

Google Image Search

Step 1 – Save: Right-click on the first file from the Google Image search results and you’ll be given the opportunity to ‘Save As’. Choose .JPG or .PNG and a name for the file that makes sense.

Save Image As

Step 2 – Crop: The image as saved includes white space on either side of the book cover. Right click to ‘Open With’ Microsoft Office Picture Manager. Then choose [Picture] [Crop] and move the left and right handles in until the white space is removed

Crop

Click ‘OK’ and [File] [Save] and overwrite the existing file.

ResizeStep 3 – Re-size: You can re-size images inside PowerPoint so they’ll fit your slide. But for newsletters and, especially, web pages and blogs, it’s crucial to have a source file that’s the right size (width and height).There’s also the question of file size (in MB’s).While a small book-cover image is not a problem, other images, especially high definition photo’s, will make your presentation file size very large. So shrinking it down in Picture Manager can be useful. Select [File] [Resize] and choose from a number of pre-defined width and height settings or reduce by a percentage of the original width and click [OK] to save.

Experiment with different sizes and see what resolution you get when importing into PowerPoint.

Putting it into practice

Here’s an image I purchased from istockphoto.com of a railroad yard.

Rails

I used the [Crop] function to select a narrow band of tracks to insert in a title slide

New Directions

Knowing these simple steps for manipulating image files is useful for building an image library for your future presentations.

In my next posting I’ll deal with various sources for photographs on the web and all-important copyright issues.

3 Comments so far
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If you need a more thorough explanation, I recommend going to YouTube and searching on “How to…” to locate instructional videos on Microsoft Picture Manager. Examples include these instructional videos on how to Crop and Resize pictures.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU. i struggled with removing the date/time stamp on a pix I wanted to use for my about.me and your instructions were clear, simply, and they worked !!

I’ve just discovered two FREE online alternatives to edit photos.

[1] pixlr.com combines image design and paint tools with photo editing and adjustment features. Use it create an image carte-blanche, layer one image over another or apply a variety of filters, effects and level adjustments to transform photographs.

[2] drpic.com is simpler to use. Upload a picture and apply effects like blurs and oil paints along with grayscales and related effects. The picture itself can be resized and cropped at will, and text can be added as you see fit.



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