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How to Shrink Your Photos to Fit the Forum 800 Pixel Size

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MadModders forum asks that if you attach a photo, it be no wider than 800 pixels. This helps readability on most computer screens, by eliminating the sideways scroll bar. It also saves forum storage space and allows pages to load faster.

What are pixels? Well just the dots on your screen that make up an image. Pixels sizes are not the same thing as file sizes. It is possible to have a small file size, like a 40 kB photo and yet be an image that is greater than 800 pixels wide. Or a 40 kB image could be 200 pixels wide.

So what we want to do with large photos is shrink them by specifying their finished width in pixels, and not worry too much about what the final file size is.

To shrink an image to fit the forum you can use just about any photo editor, either natively on your computer or phone, or online through a number of websites. I'm going to provide here an example of using MTPaint, a very simple free photo editor, that I have loaded on my Linux computer (it's available for other OSs as well). But the steps to shrink your photo will be similar on just about any other photo editor. (Note: you can also use an online photo resizer -- see post #5 below).

With any photo, I first load it into MTPaint, and then click on the top toolbar Image and then select  Scale Canvas from the dropdown menu, like so:


That step opens a second dialog with a number of choices in it. The only choice we need to make in MTPaint is change the New Width amount (shown here as 2848 pixels) to 800 pixels, and then make sure that the Fix Aspect Ratio choice is checked.

"Fix aspect ratio" here means that you want to shrink both the width and the height of your photo by the same proportion. Otherwise MTPaint would just make it narrower but keep the height as it was -- distorting your finished photo's appearance. Most other editors have something similar -- sometimes a breakable "link" between height and width, or referring to something other than "aspect ratio". Anyway they all do the same thing with slightly varying terminology.

(Note: when you change the Width figure in MTPaint, the height figure doesn't appear to re-compute until you click on something else in the dialog. Don't worry, it will re-compute the height in any case when you close the dialog, and yield a properly proportioned image.)


Ready to shrink to 800 pixels wide. (Note that MTPaint has re-computed the height already to 600 pixels to keep the photo proportions correct.)


Hit Okay in the dialog and your photo will be resized. Now we want to save it as a new file. Generally we don't want to overwrite our original because it has greater resolution and detail. We will pick a new name for our smaller picture.

To save with a new name, first click on File in the top toolbar, then Save As to give it a new name. If you just clicked on Save, MTPaint would overwrite your original file with the new pic.


A dialog will open to ask where you want to save your new file,  what its filetype is, and what its new name should be.

So, navigate to where you want to save your file. Then choose the filetype you want:

JPEG is the most efficient filetype for actual photographs, and preferred for that on the forum.

PNG is much larger (and wasteful) for forum photos, but much better and reasonably compact for line art (like diagrams, CAD and line drawings, etc).

Also the image quality is adjustable for JPEGs: 90% is a good all-around jpeg save quality. It's probably the default if you use MTPaint, and don't specify it. It makes for a nice compact filesize without sacrificing quality on a typical screen for the subjects we commonly present.

Finally choose a new name for your photo. I sometimes add a number to the original name (like the "2" below) or add "-sm" to indicate it is a smaller version of the original -- what you do is up to you.


And here is the result of shrinking the photo. The original was 1440 kB in size (1.4 megabytes) and the new 800 pixel  file is 97kB in size or about 1/15 ! That's a huge savings in forum storage and page loading speed. Yet the photo is a comfortable viewing size on most computer screens.

I've tried to be very specific in the steps above for newcomers and those unused to photo editing. But really, all you have to do is open your photo in the editor, and change the pixel width to 800 and then save the new photo with a new name. Most of the other defaults are set properly in most programs -- it's pretty much a 1 step process. Hope this helps!



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