How to resize an image

Photoshop isn't required to resize images. Here's how to do it for free

how to resize an image

Resizing an image doesn’t have to be rocket science. While tools like Adobe’s Photoshop might have fancy filters and 3D rendering, you can learn how to resize an image with free tools in MacOS, Windows, and online.

Further Reading

Almost, if not all, image editing software contains easily accessible resizing tools that can adjust the size of your image to your desired proportions, whether it be in pixels, inches, or by a specified percentage change. Note that although it is generally fine to shrink an image, enlarging an image often results in quality degradation, reducing the image’s crispness and visual fidelity.

Step 1: Save the image

Save the image you want to resize somewhere easy to find. If you’re doing so from the web, right-click it and select Save image as… from the drop-down menu. Any image format will do, although PNG or JPEG are two of the best.

If you’ve already got your image saved in a folder, skip on to the next step — just make sure you know where it is located on your storage drive.

Step 2: Go to Pixlr

Front page of Pixlr X
Screenshot

Head to the Pixlr X page. Pixlr X is the WebGL counterpart of Pixlr, a web-based image-editing app that’s made a lasting impression on us since its 2008 debut. The simple suite of apps offers many of the same basic functions you would find in Photoshop, such as image cropping and resizing, but requires no external software and leaves no footprint as it works entirely within your web browser.

You can choose to use the older, Flash-based version if you prefer, but we would recommend using the new Pixlr X tool.

Once Pixlr X is open and ready to use, select Open Image. In the window that appears, select the picture you want to edit.

Step 3: Resize your image

Once the image is opened, select the Arrange button on the left-hand side. It looks like two, dual-headed arrows pointing up, down, left, and right. Then select Resize Image.

Select your desired width and height and make sure the Constrain proportions box is checked, as to maintain the proper proportions when rescaling your image. When finished, select the Apply button.

Step 4: Re-save your image

Once you’re done editing and resizing your image, select the blue Save button in the bottom right-hand corner. When prompted, give it a new name (so as not to confuse it with the original image), confirm the file type and quality that you want, and hit the Save button again. Your image will then be downloaded automatically.

Alternative methods

Preview (MacOS)

Another great option for Mac users is Preview, an app that comes with the Apple operating system. Preview is typically set as the default program for viewing images and PDFs, hence it’s usually the first program to open your newly imported images and doesn’t require any external software.

To resize an image using Preview, select its icon and open the image you want to edit in the File menu. Choose the image from its save location and then select Tools from the top menu. Adjust Size will give you all the options you need to adjust the size and shape of your chosen image.

Then simply re-save the image using the File menu. Click Save and select a location to store your newly edited image.

Paint (Windows)

Resizing images in the latest iteration of Windows 10 is easy, especially in comparison to earlier versions of the OS. This is because Microsoft chose to remove the Photo Gallery option and focus primarily on using Paint; at least for quick fixes and alterations.

Type Paint in the Windows search box and click the application’s icon once found — it resembles a paintbrush and pallet. Once open, select File in the Paint top menu and choose Open from the resulting drop-down menu. Once you’ve opened your image, look to the Home tab and use the Resize tool to tweak the image as you want.

When you’ve finished, select File, followed by Save, to store your resized image.

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