I’ve discovered that some people don’t know how to resize images in PowerPoint and also don’t know how (or when) to crop an image. These are basic and important skills and you’ll use them even in other programs, because they are universal.
How to resize an image
Sometimes you insert an image and it’s the wrong size. You resize an image when it’s the right shape/proportion, but just the wrong size. To resize an image select it so that you see “handles” on the corners and sides. The image to the right has an arrow pointing to one of the handles.
Then click and drag a corner handle inward or outward.
ALWAYS USE THE CORNER HANDLES TO RESIZE AN IMAGE! The side and top handles are useless and should not exist. Using a side or top handle will distort the image and make your people look fat or undernourished. Just say no to the temptation and read on below where I explain what to do if the shape of your image needs to be adjusted.
If you resize an image too much, especially to make it larger, you run the risk of losing resolution. The image will look grainy (and unprofessional). Check your images in Slide Show view to see if they are still clear. If not, find a different image that has more pixels.
In the image to the right, the proportion is good; only the size is too big So, I moved it to the lower-right corner of the white area and used the upper-right corner handle to make the image a little smaller. Here’s the result.
How to crop an image
But what if you need to reshape an image? Maybe it’s too wide or too high. That’s a different issue with a different solution. You need to crop the image. When you crop the image, some of it will be hidden (or perhaps lost forever). But that’s the only way to get the shape you need without distorting the image.
Here’s a slide with a photo that is too tall to fit inside the white space. I could resize it to make it shorter, but then it would be too narrow.
The only way to get the photo to fit is to crop it. Hmmm, where shall I crop? You have to make a decision, based on the content of the image. In this case, it would be better to crop the bottom, rather than get rid more of the man’s head.
To crop, select the image. Click the Format tab, then the Crop button. (In 2003, click the Crop button on the Picture toolbar.) You’ll see special cropping handles on the image. The image on the right has an arrow pointing to one of the cropping handles.
You can use any handle, but if you only want to crop from one side, use the cropping handle on that side. So in this case, I would use the cropping handle on the bottom side of the image.
You need to click the cropping handle and make sure that you see the special cropping cursor. Then drag inward.
In 2007 and 2010, you need to then click off of the slide to remove the cropping handles. Then you can move the image to its proper place.
Tip: Before I crop, I usually use the arrow keys on the keyboard 1 or 2 times to move the image slightly off where I want it to be. I do this so I can see the edge of the slide (or wherever I want the image to be). This helps me crop to the right place. When I’m done cropping, I just move the image back in place, using the same arrow keys.
Here’s the final slide. Can you see that most of the table in front of the laptop, at the bottom of the drawing, is now hidden? That’s the part that I cropped off.
Guess what? The image actually looks better! You’ll see this a lot when you crop. If you can crop off parts of a photo that aren’t necessary, you’ll make the image more powerful.
You can sometimes reset an image and get back its original shape and size. To try, select it and on the Format tab, click the Reset Picture button. In 2003, you’ll find the Reset Picture button on the Picture toolbar.