How to shrink your images with the PowerToys Image Resizer

Size matters, at least when it comes to your photos and other images. Bigger files can mean better-looking photos, but an image that’s larger than it needs to be takes up storage space and can clog inboxes if you’re emailing it. Because of this, reducing the size of your photos and other images is often a worthwhile endeavor. And one tool that can help you with this is Image Resizer, part of Microsoft’s free PowerToys utilities.

Image Resizer allows you to resize an image from small to large to a custom set of dimensions. You can control the quality of the image and the degree of compression when zooming out. And you can specify a specific file name for the resized image.

That’s how it works.

If you don’t already have PowerToys, download and install the PowerToysSetup.exe file from the program’s GitHub page. You can install and use it in Windows 10 or 11; it works the same in both versions.

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Open the PowerToys settings window by double-clicking on the system tray icon. Select the entry for Image Resizer and make sure it is checked. Image Resizer comes with several presets so you can resize without messing around with specific dimensions (illustration 1).

The Image Resizer window in PowerToys

illustration 1: The Image Resizer window in PowerToys.

Screenshot/Lance Whitney

To see this tool in action, go to File Explorer and right-click on an image you want to resize. Select the Resize Image option (figure 2).

Option to change image size

figure 2: Right-click an image in File Explorer to see the Resize Image option.

Screenshot/Lance Whitney

The Image Resizer window appears. Click on the current preset and you can change it to Small, Medium, Large or Phone size. Each preset displays the specific number of pixels for the height and width. Select the preset you want to use (figure 3).

size specifications

figure 3: Choose one of the presets for a specific size

Screenshot/Lance Whitney

Alternatively, select Custom. In the Custom window, you can choose the type (fill, fit, or stretch), width and height, and unit of measurement (centimeters, inches, percent, or pixels) (figure 4).

Custom sizes

figure 4: Select Custom to set your own size.

Screenshot/Lance Whitney

Next, review the different options. Check the box for Make images smaller but not larger if you want to make sure you don’t accidentally enlarge photos. Check the box for Ignore the alignment of images resize regardless of orientation. Check the box for Resize the original images if you want to resize the original file and not make a copy. And check the box for Remove metadata that doesn’t affect rendering to remove all non-essential metadata that can be discarded. When you’re done, click Resize (Figure 5).

image options

Figure 5: Activate the other options and then change the image size.

Screenshot/Lance Whitney

If you chose not to resize the original image, the resized copy will contain the preset’s title (e.g. Small, Medium, Large, Custom) as part of the filename. If you resize the original, the resized image retains the original name. Locate the resized file in File Explorer to see its new size. You should also open it to make sure the quality of the image is still acceptable (Figure 6).

New file size

Figure 6: Check the resized file to see the new size.

Screenshot/Lance Whitney

To configure Image Resizer beyond the default settings, return to its screen in Power Toys. To add a new preset size, click the Add Size button. A new preset will appear at the bottom of the list. Click the pencil icon to edit it. Enter a name, select the adjustment type, and then enter the width and height. Click anywhere outside the editing window to exit. To remove presets you don’t need, click the trash can icon for that entry (Figure 7).

New preset

Figure 7: Create a new preset.

Screenshot/Lance Whitney

Scroll down to the Encoding section. The fallback encoder setting determines what format the tool uses when the original image format cannot be encoded to create a new image. The default is JPEG encoder, which means the resized image will be saved as a JPG file. This should be sufficient in most cases. However, if you want to use another format, click the drop-down menu and you can choose PNG, BMP, TIFF, WMP or GIF.

The next three options set the compression level used to make the file smaller in different formats. For JPG, you can move the slider left or right depending on whether the resized files are still too large or the image quality is not preserved. You can also enable or disable PNG interlacing and TIFF compression if you have either format selected (Figure 8).

Compression level slider

Figure 8: Set the compression level.

Screenshot/Lance Whitney

Finally, scroll down to the File section. Here you can specify which file name format should be used for the reduced copy. By default, Image Resizer keeps the original filename but adds the title of the preset used. To switch to a different file naming scheme, click the info circle next to this setting to view the various variables and insert the required variable for the file name to use.

Finally, the resized copy will automatically get a timestamp from when it was created. If you prefer to use the original file timestamp, click the drop-down menu here and change the option to original file timestamp (Figure 9).

File name options

Figure 9: Configure the file name scheme.

Screenshot/Lance Whitney

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