How to edit pictures for the lab and field reports and web pages using the free program Irfanview.

Download Irfanview. It's great.


1) First thing to do is open your digital picture in Irfanview to identify it. Then close the file and rename it by right clicking in windows and choosing "rename" . For example, if your digital camera labels your picture PXG142.jpg, then rename it something like "latourelle_lavacolumns142.jpg". If you rename this way, you don't lose any details in the original file (because saving as a jpg to rename causes file compression and loss of information)*. Also, if you choose all lowercase letters and put underlines between words, then you can easily use the picture on a web page too.


2) Now to "resample" the picture and make it smaller so it will fit in your report or in your email: Open the picture again in Ifranview. In the image menu, choose resize/resample. You can also use the various rotate options and enhance colors options to make pictures lighter, darker, etc. In resize/resample I like the 800 x 600 pixels choice on the right for powerpoint size pictures. If you want it really small, go even smaller to the 640 x 480. Then save as "latourelle_lavacolumns142_small.jpg". Now you have the original high quality picture and the smaller picture that you can import into word processing program or powerpoint or whatever.


Another good option is to crop the picture if you need to by pressing left clicking on the mouse and dragging out a rectangle of the picture you want. Then choose edit menu and "crop selection".

3) Now to add arrow and text to the picture: If you need to do this, import that picture into Powerpoint. Use arrows and text to add labels to or draw on the picture. When you are done, choose save as from the file menu choosing jpg as the "save as type" in the query box at bottom. You will be asked if you want to export ever slide or just that one. Now choose a name such as "latourelle_lavacolumns142_small_edit.jpg" to denote that you have added something to the picture.

*The only way to save a picture and not loose information (image quality) is to save as tiff image (blahblah.tif) with no file compression. That's particularly important if you want to use a picture for scientific measurements of some kind (scans of cell walls or polished tree rings for measuring dimensions or density, etc).

Question: What if I have a cool map displayed in Google maps and want to copy that image and edit it?

Answer: Use alt—PrtScn command. Press the Alt key at the same time you press “PrtScn”. This takes a screen shot. In Macintosh computers cmd—shft—4 used to do the same thing.

Then paste this image into Irfanview (PC) Graphic Converter (Mac) to edit. You might want to use the either graphics program to crop the image to exactly what you need for your diagram.

Earth Sciences at Centralia College

This page last updated on April 25, 2008