Featured - How to resize an image

Modern DLSRs and smartphones can spit out photos with tens or even hundreds of millions of pixels. This gives today’s pictures a lot of flexibility – with them able to be printed billboard size or viewed on an 8K display. However, having an image that is too big for the display or paper it’s presented on is simply a waste of storage space. Today we’re going to show you how to resize an image online and offline to get it to the perfect resolution.

Before we start, we should make one thing clear: there’s a significant difference between reducing and enlarging an image. When you make an image smaller, you’re just condensing information that’s already there. There are various algorithms that produce different results, but ultimately you can resize an image without losing quality.

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This is not the case when it comes to enlarging image. When you make an image bigger, your software has to add information that’s not there. While your software can guess this to an extent (and some are much better than others), there are limits to how far it can go without the image looking blurry or pixelated.

So, be careful at how far you push your picture resizer and always preview it on your intended device or print format before sending it out.

With that said, let’s get started:

How to Resize an Image with the Photos App

If you’re a Windows 11 or Windows 10 user, you’ll already be familiar with the Photos app. What you might not know is that you can use it to perform some basic editing tasks, including as a picture resizer. Here’s how:

  1. Open your image, press the three dots in the toolbar, then click “Resize”

    Windows 11 - Photos - 3Dots - Resize

  2. Option 1: Choose between one of the presets 

    These are generally pretty accurate. The emails and messages option is particularly great if you run into a file size limitation when trying to send an image in a messaging app.

    Windows 11 - Photos - 3Dots - Resize - Choose Option

  3. Option 2: Press “Define custom dimensions”

    Windows 11 - Photos - 3Dots - Resize - Define Custom Dimensions

  4. Enter your width, height, and quality settings and press “Save resized copy”

    It’s a good idea to tick “Maintain aspect ratio”, as this will stop your image from being “stretched” to be wider or taller than the original image.

    You can also adjust the “Quality” slider, which will determine how much the image is compressed. The important thing to keep an eye on while doing so is the size below the “Resize image” heading. You can try to find a good combination between file size, resolution, and quality.

    Windows 11 - Photos - 3Dots - Resize - Define Custom Dimensions - Save

  5. Choose your folder and press “Save”

    Photos will save the image copy to the folder of your choice with its new dimensions and quality settings.

    Windows 11 - Photos - Resize - Define Custom Dimensions - Save

How to Change the Size of an Image in Microsoft Paint

Resizing an image in Microsoft Paint used to destroy its quality, but these days it’s not bad. Conveniently, you can also resize as a percentage, which is more intuitive than manually working out pixel numbers:

  1. Press “File > Open” in Microsoft Paint

    Windows 11 - Paint - File - Open

  2. Find the image you want to resize, click it, and press “Open”

    Windows 11 - Paint - File - Open - Choose Image - Open

  3. Press the image resize icon in your ribbon

    This should look like a square with a picture in the bottom-left corner and a diagonal arrow.

    Windows 11 - Paint - Image - Resize

  4. Enter the percentage you want your final image to be and press “OK”

    For example, if you were to set your percentage to 150, it would be 1.5x the size of your original image. 50% would half the size of your image.

    Windows 11 - Paint - Image - Resize - Accept

  5. Press “File > Save as > File format”

    You can choose the file type that best suits your purpose. JPEG is a lossy file format, meaning you’ll lose some quality if you’re coming from a different format. PNG uses lossless compression, so you’ll get a better quality but a higher file size.

    We do not recommend that you use BMP for resizing at all. Resizing a BMP is akin to resizing the individual pixels, which will mean a fuzzy or jagged result.

    We only recommend GIF if you have an image without a lot of color variation. As GIF has a limited color palette, you may see blockyness otherwise.

    Windows 11 - Paint - File - Save As - Choose Format

  6. Name your file and press “Save”

    Windows 11 - Paint - File - Save As - Choose Format - Save

How to Resize an Image Online for Free

If you don’t have suitable software on your PC or are on a mobile device, you can use a free image resizer website to make your image smaller or bigger. There are a ton of options out there and using an image resizer online is very easy:

  1. Picresize.com

    PicResize is very easy to use. All you need to do is drag and drop your image and select from a variety of resize presets. You can even apply effects such as frames and oil painting effects.

    The only downside is that you can only use picresize to make an image smaller unless you pay for its pro version. 

    Windows 11 - Picresize

  2. Resizeimage.net

    ResizeImage is a bit more advanced tool, though it does have a “simple” mode if you don’t need the additional functionality. You can crop your image using the tools pictured below, which is always nice, as well as rotate.

    Windows 11 - Resizeimage1

  3. Adjusting your image size

    Regardless of the options you choose, you’ll be presented with a “Resize your image” slider to easily adjust the percentage it’s scaled. Much like picresize, you can’t go above 100% when resizing. You can, however, adjust the amount of compression in your image.

    Windows 11 - Resizeimage2

How to Resize a Photo using Tools like Paint.net, Photoshop, or GIMP

If you already have image editing software installed, it can make sense to use that rather than Windows in-built tools. The process to change a photo’s similar in all of these apps, but we’ll be using paint.net as an example.

  1. Open your image editing software and choose “File > Open…”

    Windows 11 - Paint.net - File - Open

  2. Select your image and press “Open”

    Windows 11 - Paint.net - File - Open - Choose Image - Open

  3. In the toolbar, press “Image > Resize”

    Windows 11 - Paint.net - Image - Resize

  4. Choose your new dimensions (via pixels or percentage) and press OK

    Windows 11 - Paint.net - Image - Resize - Accept

  5. Click “File > Save As…” in the toolbar

    Windows 11 - Paint.net - File - Save As

  6. Name your resized image and press “Save”

    Windows 11 - Paint.net - File - Save As - Save

Extra: How to Bulk Resize Images with PowerToys

These methods are all well and good, but if you have a dozen, or even hundreds of images to resize, using any of them is going to take a very long time. Instead, you should follow our how to bulk resize images with PowerToys tutorial, which will walk you through how to use Microsoft’s official tool to quickly change photo sizes.

Windows 10 - File Explorer - Select Images - Right Click - Resize Pictures

Extra: How to Convert an Image from Color to Black and White

If you’re getting your image ready for posting on social media, you can also want to try our tutorial on how to convert an image from color to black and white. You may be surprised by how much better it looks.

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