How to Downsample Images in Photoshop Elements 11 - dummies

How to Downsample Images in Photoshop Elements 11

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

You can change an image’s size and resolution in a couple different ways within Photoshop Elements 11. One method involves the Image Size dialog box, which you use in many of your editing sessions in Elements.

When you use the Image Size dialog box to size an image down, you are downsampling the image. Follow these steps to downsample an image in Elements:

  1. Open a photo in the Photo Editor.

    For these steps, you can use any photo you have handy.

  2. Choose Image→Resize→Image Size.

    Alternatively, you press Ctrl+Alt+I (Command+Option+I on a Mac). The Image Size dialog box opens.


    The Pixel Dimensions area in the Image Size dialog box shows the file size (such as 18.2MB [megabytes]). This number is the amount of space the image takes up on your hard drive. The width and height values are fixed unless you select the Resample Image check box at the bottom of the dialog box.

  3. In the Document Size area, redefine the dimensions and resolution.

    Your options are

    • Width: Type a value in the text box to resize the image’s width; then, to implement the change, press Tab to move out of the field. From the drop-down list to the right of the text box, you can select a unit of measure: percent, inches, centimeters, millimeters, points, picas, or columns.

    • Height: The Height options are the same as the Width options except there is no column setting. If you keep the sizing proportional — by selecting the Constrain Proportions check box — you typically edit either the Width or Height text box, but not both. When you alter either width or height, the resolution changes inversely.

    • Resolution: Edit the text box to change resolution and press the Tab key to change the value. When you edit resolution, the Width and Height values are changed inversely (if the Constrain Proportions check box is selected).

  4. If you’re okay with resampling your image to get the desired size, select the Resample Image check box.

    With this check box selected, you can change dimensions and pixels at the same time, which results in reducing or increasing the number of pixels. When the check box is deselected, the values for dimensions are linked. Changing one value automatically changes the other values.

  5. If you select the Resample Image check box, choose a resampling method as well as other resampling options.

    In the drop-down list, you find resampling-method choices. See the table below this list. The two check boxes above the Resample Image check box become active when you select the Resample Image check box. Here’s what they do:

    • Scale Styles: Elements has a Styles panel from which you can apply a variety of style effects to images. When you apply a style, such as a frame border, the border appears at a defined width. When you select the Scale Styles box and then resize the image, the Styles effect is also resized. Leaving the check box deselected keeps the style at the same size when the image is resized.

    • Constrain Proportions: By default, this check box is selected; keep it that way unless you want to distort an image intentionally.

  6. When you’re done selecting your options, click OK to resize your image.

Resampling Methods
Method What It Does Best Uses
Nearest Neighbor This method is fastest, and the results produce a smaller file
This method is best used when you have large areas of the same
Bilinear This method produces a medium-quality image. You might use this option with grayscale images and line
Bicubic This method is the default and provides a good-quality
Unless you find better results by using any of the other
methods, leave the default at Bicubic.
Bicubic Smoother This method improves on the Bicubic method, but you notice a
little softening of the edges.
If sharpness isn’t critical and you find Bicubic
isn’t quite doing the job, try this method. This method tends
to work best if you have to upsample an image.
Bicubic Sharper This method produces good-quality images and sharpens the
Downsample high-resolution images that need to be output to
screen resolutions and web pages.