From the Kenosha News on 6-18-06

Use MS Photo Editor to modify digital pictures

If you have Microsoft Office installed on your computer, you should have a handy picture manipulation program called Photo Editor. Click Start, go to All Programs, then Microsoft Office Tools, then Microsoft Photo Editor to launch it. While Photo Editor doesn’t have the features of a full-fledged image editor like Adobe Photoshop, it can do many simple tasks including resizing, cropping, adjusting brightness or color, changing resolution, and applying special effects. You can also change pictures from one format to another, including .bmp, .jpg, .gif, and .tif.

If you send digital pictures via e-mail or put them on a web site or blog, use MS Photo Editor to prep them first. Here’s why. Most newer digital cameras take very high resolution pictures. My Canon G5 5 Megapixel camera creates JPG files that are 2592 pixels wide by 1944 pixels high. One pixel is one dot of light on a computer screen or one dot of printer ink. At 300 pixels per inch, that picture would print at 8.64 inches by 6.48 inches. However, a computer screen can only display 72 pixels per inch, so the same picture displays as 36 in x 27 in – much larger than a typical monitor, which displays 1024 x 768 pixels. This explains why attached pictures are sometimes WAY too large to display properly.

Several rules of thumb for pictures: 1) ALWAYS keep the original picture at its original resolution. You can decrease the resolution, but increasing it will make it fuzzy. Use Save As and save the modified version with a new name. 2) If a picture is to be printed or processed by a photo processor, keep it at the highest resolution possible. 3) If a picture is to be displayed on the screen – such as on a blog or web page – or sent via e-mail, decrease the resolution to 72 pixels per inch. The resulting file will take less disk space, display more quickly, and appear just as clearly.

To see the actual size of your pictures, open them in Photo Editor and then click the File menu and go to Properties. This will show you how large the file is in pixels and inches. Change the resolution in the fill-in box to 72 to see how it would display on the screen. Cancel out of this screen rather than saving.

To change the size of a picture so it will appear correctly on a screen, open the picture, click the Image menu, and click on Resize. Change the units to pixels. Specify a reasonable size, e.g. 800 pixels wide; the height should change automatically to stay proportional. Once you click OK, the picture may appear much smaller that you expected. Look at the far right end of the toolbar for a drop-down box with a percentage in it. Change the percentage to 100%. This will show you the actual size that the picture will display on a computer screen. If necessary, go back to Image -> Resize and change the size again. Remember to Save As and NOT save over your original picture file. Exit without saving if you’re not happy with the results, then start again.

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 6-18-06