Cropping Your Image to an Exact Size

You don't have to eyeball things when cropping a photo. You can enter any dimensions you want in the width and height boxes in the Options bar, or, from the Aspect Ratio menu, you can choose one of the Presets, which automatically enters a set of numbers for you. The Aspect Ratio menu offers you several standard photo sizes, like 4 x 6 or 8 x 10, to choose from. The "Use Photo Ratio" choice in the Presets list lets you crop your image using the same width/height proportions (aspect ratio) as in the original.

Warning: If you enter a number in the Resolution box that's different from your image's current resolution, then the Crop tool resamples your image to match the new resolution, as you'll see when you learn about resizing later in this chapter. See "Resampling" in Section 10.5.2.1 to understand why resampling isn't always a good thing.

TROUBLESHOOTING MOMENT Crop Tool Idiosyncrasies

The Crop tool is crotchety sometimes. People have called it "bossy," and that's a good word for it. Here are some settings that may help you control it better:

• Snap to Grid . You may find that you just can't get the crop exactly where you want it. Does the edge keep jumping slightly away from where you put it? Like most graphics programs, Elements uses a grid of invisible linescalled the autogrid to help position things exactly. Sometimes a grid is a big help, but in situations like this, it's a nuisance.

If you hold down Ctrl, you can temporarily disable the autogrid. To get rid of it permanently, or to adjust the spacing on it, go to the View menu and turn off Snap to Grid. You can adjust the grid settings in Preferences —+ Grid.

• Clear the Crop Tool . Occasionally you may find that the Crop tool won't release a setting you entered, even after you clear the Options bar boxes. If the Crop tool won't let you drag where you want and keeps insisting on creating a particular sized crop, click the Crop icon on the left side of the Options bar, and then choose "Reset tool" from the pop-up menu.

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