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2 Minute Tutes - Pictures

In 2 minutes, you should know:

  • How to view a picture

  • Image size & resolution

  • The differences between picture formats

  • How to email a picture

  • How to edit a picture

  • How to view a picture

 

How to view a picture

In Windows XP:

  • Click Start

  • Click My Pictures

In Windows 98, 2000 & Me:

  • Double-click My Documents

  • Double-click My Pictures

You will see all the pictures available.

  • Double-click on the picture you wish to view

If the picture is in a different location, you can either browse around your folders until you find it, or click Start, Search (Find in Windows 95 & 98) and let your computer find it for you.  If the picture is in an email, open the email, then double-click the icon attached.  Sometimes this is indicated with a paperclip.

Windows Me & XP make it easy to view images, zoom in & move to the next image.  Older versions of Windows are not as good at this, so you may wish to download a better image viewer, such as ACDSee.
 

Image size & resolution

With photos, itís easy to say how big a picture is, such as 10 x 15 cm.  Itís not so easy with a computer because any picture can be printed out at different sizes.  What we often want to know is how much detail is in the picture.  This is measured in pixels (short for picture elements), the small dots that make up any picture.  For example, an image that you use as your desktop background may be 800 x 600 pixels.  On the screen, it may be 25 cm wide.  When you print this image, it may be bigger or smaller. 

What determines the physical size of an image?  The answer is the resolution.  This is usually measured in dots per inch, or dpi.  Monitors usually display about 75 dpi, while your printer may be capable of 300, 600 or even 1200 dpi.  More dots per inch mean a smaller picture size, but the level of detail will stay the same.

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The differences between picture formats

The saying, a picture is worth a thousand words is pretty true for computer images as well. Because pictures are intended for many different uses (viewing, printing, sending, zooming in etc), many different picture formats have been developed. The following table lists the main formats and their pros & cons.

Format

     

BMP (Bitmap)

     

JPG, JPEG

     

GIF

     

TIF, TIFF

     

WMF (Windows Metafile)

     
     


 

Image size & resolution

With photos, itís easy to say how big a picture is, such as 10 x 15 cm.  Itís not so easy with a computer because any picture can be printed out at different sizes.  What we often want to know is how much detail is in the picture.  This is measured in pixels (short for picture elements), the small dots that make up any picture.  For example, an image that you use as your desktop background may be 800 x 600 pixels.  On the screen, it may be 25 cm wide.  When you print this image, it may be bigger or smaller. 

What determines the physical size of an image?  The answer is the resolution.  This is usually measured in dots per inch, or dpi.  Monitors usually display about 75 dpi, while your printer may be capable of 300, 600 or even 1200 dpi.  More dots per inch mean a smaller picture size, but the level of detail will stay the same.

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Format

Pros

Cons

BMP (Bitmap)

most basic format, no loss of quality

very inefficient, large filesize

JPG, JPEG

compatible with all types of computer, very efficient, small filesize, excellent for photos

Some quality is lost when an image is saved as a JPG.

GIF

Very efficient, supports transparency, good for graphics like icons & buttons

Limited to 256 colours so not good for photos

TIF, TIFF

No loss of quality, filesize is compressed but not as much as JPG

Although reasonably common, this format is not compatible with as many computer systems as JPG & GIF

WMF (Windows Metafile)

Good for logos & simple graphics, image is stored as a series of strokes and is redrawn as you zoom in (you donít get the blocky effect)

Only suitable for images that can be reproduced by lines & filled areas, no good for photos

Because some formats reduce the quality to reduce the file size (while keeping the same number of pixels) a good measure of the level of detail in a picture is the file size, measured in bytes, kilobytes (KB) or megabytes (MB).
 

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How to email a picture

This procedure varies depending on which email program you use. An easy way to email a picture is to open your pictures folder (see above) then right-click the picture, point to Send To then click Mail Recipient. This will automatically create a new email & attach the picture. All you need to do is type the address and click Send.

If this doesnít work for you, start an email in the usual way and click Insert, File Attachment (or similar) or look for a button with a paperclip on it. This will open a window where you can locate the picture you wish to send.

How to edit a picture

In Windows XP, once you are viewing your picture, click the Edit button to open an image editor program. In any version of Windows, you can open your pictures folder, right-click the picture, the click Edit.

Once open you can usually click different tools, such as a paintbrush to touch up parts of your picture, a paint bucket tool, to fill an area of one colour with another colour (such as turning red eyes to black). A powerful method of editing photos is to click the Selection tool, drag the mouse pointer over an area of the photo, click edit, Copy . Then click Edit , Paste and move the new part around to cover something up. Using this method, you could copy an area of wall and paste it over a person to completely remove them from a photo.

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