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How to Convert Images

Updated: 07.Jan.2005

This is mostly for people who don't have a drawing program and who are completely lost about how to convert files. This page is geared toward Windows users. My apologies to Mac users, but I'm not familiar with that system, and I'm afraid I can't help you much. :(

Also, apologies if the language is too simplistic. I'm trying to accomodate several age groups here. :) Are these instructions clear? Are they too easy or too difficult? Comments/feedback would be appreciated.

STEP 1: Things to Check

Basically, there are 3 things you need to check before submitting a picture to this site:

  • File Type: There are many kinds of picture files out there. For my site, please use JPG files. (GIF files are okay too, but I like JPG better.) They are the most commonly used picture file types on the internet.

  • File Size: This means how much disk space your file takes up. Sometimes when you scan in pictures with a scanner, the file sizes can be pretty huge. So please shrink them down to 200kb or less. (Wallpapers can be slightly larger at 400kb or less.)

  • Image Size: This means how big your picture looks on your computer screen. Some internet browsers will automatically shrink down pictures to fit your screen. The Windows image viewer also shrinks pics down automatically. But these only APPEAR to shrink down the picture. The actual image size may be much bigger than what you think it is. So it's important for you to check the image size and see how many pixels it actually is, rather than just looking at the pic in your browser. Images must be under 1000 pixels in width and height. (Unless you're sending in a wallpaper. Check the submission page for specific wallpaper sizes.)

These things are easy to check. If you use Windows, open up a folder and click on your image. The Information ought to be listed in the details section of the folder. I use Windows XP. Your folders may be set up differently, but look around. Most folders have something similar to this:

Click for picture.

If you drew your picture on the computer, then whatever drawing program you used ought to be able to convert files. I'm not familiar with all the different types of programs out there, but the Help function of whatever program you are using ought to list ways to convert and condense files.

If you're not sure whether your drawing program can convert files or not, then feel free to download IrfanView and read the rest of this page.


When you scan in pictures on your scanner, the files tend to be huge. And many scanners use a file type called a bitmap (BMP). I do NOT accept bitmap files. So you definitely should check scanned pics before sending them in.

If you scanned in your pic and you have no image editing programs, you can download free programs from the internet that will convert and shrink files for you.

One of my favorite FREE programs is IrfanView. It's easy to install and use, and it's a small program (only about 850kb) so it won't take up too much space on your computer.

Get IrfanView here.

If you're reading this, I'm going to assume you didn't have a program of your own, and you had to download IrfanView. I'm going to use IrfanView for all the rest of the instructions on this page.

STEP 3: Converting to JPG Files
These Instructions are for the Irfanview Program only!

Converting to JPG will often automatically shrink down your file size quite a bit.

  • Open IrfanView and click on the little folder icon.

  • Click for picture.

  • Find the file that you want to convert and click "Open". You should be able to see your picture now.

  • Click for picture.

  • Under the File menu, click on Save As.

    Under "Save as type", select "JPG - JPEG Files".

    A little side menu will pop up with more options. Slide the little bar to about 80-90. That will condense your picture a bit and help shrink down the file size. You can leave all the other options alone.

    Click "Save".

  • Click for picture.

STEP 4: Shrinking the Image Dimensions
These Instructions are for the Irfanview Program only!

This is how you shrink your image size so that it's under 1000 pixels in width and height.

  • Open IrfanView and click on the little folder icon.

  • Click for picture.

  • Find the file that you want to convert and click "Open". You should be able to see your picture now.

  • Click for picture.

  • Under the Image menu, click on Resize/Resample.

  • Click for picture.

  • A Resize/Resample Image menu will pop-up. There are a lot of choices here. I will explain each one:

    Current Size: This tells you how big your picture is before you shrink it. The first number is the width in pixels. The second is the height. If both numbers are under 1000, then your image size is okay, and you don't have to shrink it anymore. If you don't need to shrink the pic, then click on "Cancel" and go on to STEP 5.

    If your size is too big, then type in a new Width or Height that's under 1000.

    Make sure that you're using "pixels" as your Units.

    And make sure that the "Preserve aspect ratio" option is checked. (If that's not checked, then your picture will be stretched in really funny looking ways.)

    Optional: Under the "Preserve aspect ratio" option, you'll see "DPI" and a box with a number in it. The sample picture I used has a DPI of 150. Standard DPI for internet pictures is 72. So if your DPI is some other number, you can type in "72". It's okay if you skip this step. It really only affects pictures that are printed on a printer.

  • Click for picture.

STEP 5: Final Check for File Size

If you've done Steps 1 through 4, then your picture ought to be a JPG file that's under 1000 pixels in width and height. A lot of times, just doing these steps will automatically make your file size less than 200kb.

Open up your folder in Windows and check your image properties again.

Click for picture.

If your file size is still over 200kb, then repeat STEP 4 and make your image width and height smaller, even if it's less than 1000 pixels already.

If everything's okay, then you should have a JPEG file that's under 200kb and less than 1000 pixels in width and height.

Congrats! You're done. :)