Making pictures smaller – some more options.

There are many ways to make pictures smaller, in both senses of the word.  Here are three more options plus an important warning.

Converting images into a smaller file size is sometimes essential.  The large digital camera images (can be 4-6MB each) can be too big for some situations, especially when there are many of them.  With a little work each of those, say, 5MB images can become 1MB pictures.

The smaller pictures are usually more than enough to view on smartphones, tablets and laptops.  We keep our main ‘photos to show off’ collection in a compressed form.  A lot more photos can fit into the same space on a limited memory device.

Tip: shrinking the smartphone version of your photo gallery can free up space and save you buying a new phone with more storage.

Emails have size limits so reducing the size of images lets you put more pictures into a single email.

Dimension vs Size

Before we start lets get some definitions settled. It can get confusing because when you see talk about ‘size’ which can mean:

the dimensions of an image  640 x 480 or 6″ x 10″ etc.


the file size of the image (1MB, 4.4MB etc).

We’re going to be consistent through this article, though that doesn’t mean other publications (even in Office Watch) will use the same terminology.

For our purposes:

‘Dimension’ means the height and width of an image.

‘Size’ means the file size of the image.

There are two ways to reduce the file size of an image:

Dimension – reduce the physical height/width of an image to something smaller.  This is usually done by keeping the original height/width ratio (aspect ratio).  You could include some cropping of the image to cut out unwanted bits (finger on lens etc).

Resolution – reduce the level of detail in the image.  The ‘pixels per inch’ (PPI) can be reduced from the high resolution of a modern camera to something still very clear but taking up less file space.

Keep the original

The important point to always remember is Keep The Original.  Make a smaller copy of a picture but make sure you don’t accidently overwrite the original with a lesser copy.

The original high-resolution image is your source for any future versions of the picture.


In a recent article we talked about the Word / Outlook option for compressing images in an email or document.  There are many other ways to do the same thing.  Most photo editing programs have options to reduce an image resolution but they might not be obvious.

The Windows 10 Photo app, supplied by Microsoft, has some nice features but lacks a compress option.  Again, we wonder about the Redmond decision making process.

None of the available options are ideal.  All these utilities offer a simple set of choices (Document, Email etc) but not an advanced slider to choose a resolution and see the file size that will result. Then you can choose whatever balance of resolution vs file size that suits your needs.

Office Picture Manager

Our favorite way to shrink an image was taken from us in 2013.  Office Picture Manager (OPM) came with Office 2003 to Office 2010.  If you still have Office install media from one of those versions, you can install  OPM alongside Office 2016/2013.

Office Picture Manager has simple, effective editing tools including Resize (for dimension) and Compress Pictures (file size).

You can access OPM by right-clicking on an image and choosing Office Picture Manager from the ‘Open with …’  list.

The main reason we like OPM is that it shows exactly the new file size after compression.  That’s the information most of us need.  No vague talk about ‘PPI’ etc. which means little to most of us.

Warning: by default OPM will overwrite your original image.  Make sure you’re working from a copy.

Image Resizer

Recommended by Office Watch reader Dennis H,  Image Resizer is a continuation of a beloved Microsoft Power Toy.

Right-click on one or more images, choose Image Resizer to see the main options.

Source: Image Resizer

The default is to make a smaller copy of the original photo unless you choose the ‘Resize the original pictures’ option.

We suggest checking the ‘Make pictures smaller but not larger’ to prevent accidental enlargement.

Send to ….

The final option has been in Windows/Office for many years.  Right-click on an image then choose Send To … | Mail Recipient.

Choose the Picture Size or sending the original.

You can see the approx. size of the compressed image (good) but not the original size for quick comparison.

This will send a copy of the original picture to a new email message (using the default mail program set in Windows).