How to Resize and a Screen Capture for Your Web Page

To add graphics to your Web page, you may need to create a screen capture, and you will probably want to resize it to keep the file size small so your Web page loads more quickly. There are scores of graphics programs out there, many of them completely free, free for a limited time, or relatively inexpensive. But there’s only one graphics program you can count on finding on any Windows computer, and that’s MS Paint.

So, if you use Windows, follow these steps to learn how to capture the current screen image (one of the most useful ways to get graphics, as long as you respect copyright restrictions), resize it, and save it as both a GIF file and as a JPEG.

  1. Open the graphic that you want to use and press the PrtSc key.

    To capture the active window, press Alt+PrtSc. The image is copied to the Windows Clipboard.

    Always think about rights issues when you’re looking for graphics to use.

    This key may have a slightly different name on your keyboard.

  2. Click Start→Programs→Accessories→Paint.

    Windows Paint opens.

  3. Choose Image→Attributes.

    In the Attributes panel, you can resize your image.

  4. Enter 1 for the width and 1 for the height, click the Pixels radio button under Units, and click OK.

    Resizing the working area to one pixel by one pixel, using the Attributes dialog box, makes working with pasted-in images much easier.

  5. Paste the captured image by choosing Edit→Paste.

    The captured image appears in Windows Paint. The entire image is selected.

  6. Choose Image→Attributes.

    Always check the size of the pasted image, and always write it down so you can calculate the percentage by which to resize it.

  7. To resize the image, choose Image→Stretch.

    The Stretch and Skew dialog box appears.

  8. Enter the percentage you want to shrink the image by in the Stretch part of the dialog box and in the Horizontal and Vertical areas. Click OK.

    If the result isn’t what you want, press Ctrl+Z to undo and try again.

    Be sure to enter the same percentage in both the Horizontal and Vertical areas. (If you shrink the image unevenly, it will look odd).

  9. Choose File→Save As, choose 24-bit Bitmap from the Type list. Enter a name for the file. Click Save.

    The file is saved. It will have the suffix .BMP to mark it as a bitmap file, but you won’t see this suffix in Windows, which suppresses filename extensions.

    Always save the file as a BMP file first so you have an uncompressed version for later editing.

  10. Choose File→Save As, choose GIF, enter a name for the file, and then click Save.

    The file is saved. The GIF file loses some image quality if the original image had more than 256 colors. For large or medium-sized photos, JPEG is almost always better, but for small images only experimentation can tell you which will give better results for a given image.

  11. Choose File→Open to open the uncompressed BMP file, and then Choose File→ Save as. For the file type, choose JPEG. Then name the file and click Save.

    A JPEG created by MS Paint usually doesn’t look very good if larger than about 60 pixels in height or width. If the image is too harshly compressed for you, you can still use MS Paint initially, but use a more flexible graphics editor to create the final version of the image.

  12. Open the BMP, GIF, and JPEG versions of the image and note the file size of each.

    Remember you want to use a small file so that your page loads quickly.

  13. Right-click each image and choose Open with→Internet Explorer.

    This lets you see how the image will look in a Web page.

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