Resizing Images for Email and the

When your photo is destined for viewing onscreen, it should have enough resolution to be clear and easy to view without being oversized. Have you ever gotten an emailed photo that was so huge you could see only a tiny bit of it at once? That happens when an image isn't optimized for viewing on a monitor. Today's multimegapixel digital cameras spew out high-resolution images that look great when printed, but you need to reduce them for comfortable onscreen viewing. Fortunately, Elements makes it easy.

Note: It's much easier to get good results making a photo smaller than larger. Elements lets you increase the size of your image, but you may get mediocre results. See "Resampling" in Section 10.5.2.1 for the explanation.

To resize photos, you use the Image Size dialog box (Image —* Resize ■—* Image Size). As shown in Figure 10-14 , this box has two main sections. The top one says Pixel Dimensions, and below that is Document Size. You'll use the Pixel Dimensions settings when you know your image is going to be viewed only onscreen. (Document Size is for printing.)

Figure 10-14. The Pixel Dimensions section of the Image Size dialog box contains the settings you'll need when preparing a photo for onscreen viewing. The number immediately to the right of Pixel Dimensions (14.1 M) indicates the current size of your file in megabytes. The Document Size section has the settings you'll use when you want to prepare photos for printing.

A monitor is concerned only with a photo's pixel dimensions . On a monitor, a pixel is always the same size (unlike a printer, which can change the size of the pixels it prints out). Your monitor doesn't know anything about pixels per inch (ppi), and it can't change the way it displays a photo even if you change the photo's ppi settings, as shown in Figure 10-15 . (It's true that graphics programs like Elements can change the size of your onscreen view by, say, zooming in, but most programs, like your Web browser, can't.) All you have to decide is how many pixels long and how many pixels wide you want your photo to be. You control those measurements in the Pixel Dimensions section of the Image Size dialog box.

The dimensions you choose may vary, depending on who's going to be seeing your photos, but as a general rule, small monitors today are 1024 x 768 pixels. Of course, some monitors, like the largest Dell and NEC models, have many more pixels than that. Still, if you want to be sure that everyone who sees your photo won't have to scroll, then a good rule of thumb is to choose no more than 650 pixels for the longer side of your photo, whether that's the width or the height.

Figure 10-15. This screenshot demonstrates how your monitor doesn't care about the ppi settings you enter. One of these photos was saved at 100 ppi, the second at 300 ppi, and the last at 1000 ppi. Can you tell which? No. They all display at exactly the same size on your monitor, because they all have exactly the same pixel dimensions, which is the only resolution setting your monitor understands.

Note: To get the most accurate look at how large your photo truly displays on a monitor, choose View Actual Pixels

Also, although a photo is always the same pixel dimensions, you really can't control the exact inch dimensions at which those pixels display on other people's monitors. A pixel is always the same size on any given monitor, but different monitors have different sized pixels these days. Figure 10-16 illustrates this concept.

To resize your photos, start by making sure you're not resizing your original. You're going to be shedding pixels that you can't get back again, so resize your photos on a copy (File —> Duplicate). Then follow these steps:

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