Fix a Squished Image with Pixlr

leoraDoes a squished image make you cringe? Ever see a comma out of place? A musical note that doesn’t sound musical? Have you ever viewed a photo like the one on the right, where the image is there but the portrait looks all squished? Learn what is going on here and how it can be set to look right.

I was helping a friend with a newsletter, and I noticed the image looked like it had been squashed into the spot. There were other images on the page, and those looked all right. It turned out the newsletter had a template that preset all the image sizes. It needed an image that fit exactly into the space. It took whatever size the original photo had and re-sized the photo to fit into the spot. So my friend needed a photo that already had that size.

If you right-click on the photo on the this post, you can then select View Image (in Firefox; in Chrome, you can pick Open Image in New Tab), and you will see the image looks fine. It is really much longer than the space allots. The original image is 319px tall, but it got re-sized to 170px tall. Let’s learn how to re-size the squished image using the free online photo editor called Pixlr.

  1. Go to the Pixlr Editor: http://pixlr.com/editor/
  2. Upload the image to be re-sized. I chose “open image from computer.”
  3. Select the crop tool in the upper left:
    crop tool pixlr
  4. Where it says Constraint: No Restriction, change No Restriction to Output Size. Change Output Size to the size in pixels that your newsletter requires. In our case, we will choose 200 by 170.
  5. Drag the crop tool across the photo to get a new composition. You will see a thin box divided into nine smaller boxes:
    crop tool pixlr boxed
  6. Click on the crop tool, and it will ask you if you want to apply changes. If you are satisfied with your new shape, say yes.
  7. Select File-Save and you will get a dialogue box where you can save the image to your computer. You can use the newly cropped image in your newsletter or wherever else you need it.

Here is the squished image:
squished leora

Here is the new image:
fixed leora
If you are fortunate enough to have access to Photoshop, you do this in a similar fashion, using the Crop Tool. In Photoshop, there are buttons on top of the screen on the right when you are ready to crop (you don’t click the crop tool again to crop).

Your Turn, Please

Have you ever used Pixlr or another online photo editor? Do you have a favorite? Have you ever struggled with an image that looks out of proportion? How did you solve the problem?

46 Responses to “Fix a Squished Image with Pixlr”

  1. Catarina says:

    Really useful information, Leora. Will use Pixlr and your guide if and when I need to fix suished picture. Bookmarked it.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Glad you found it useful, Catarina. There is a lot Pixlr can do, and given it is free and Photoshop costs a lot, that can be handy information for those who need a basic photo editor.

  2. Susan Cooper says:

    That was really interesting. I had no idea and I really should. I haven’t run in to that problem as of yet. It’s still good know because I may just need this info in the future.

  3. Jeevan Jacob John says:

    I usually use Photoshop for all my image editing needs, but I have used Pixlr – It is easier to load a website and edit the image :D (You don’t have to load Photoshop or look at all the complicated options available!).

    I have also used Pic monkey, not for re sizing though. Just editing images (they do have a great selection of fonts).

    Anyways, thank you for sharing this, Leora :) Appreciate it!

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Jeevan, I was assuming most people don’t have Photoshop. Thanks for letting me know about Pic Monkey. Another one to try out (or for one of my clients to try). And yes, even if you have Photoshop, sometimes using the online tool takes less time.

  4. Wow! This is great! I never knew you COULD fix this!!!!This is wonderful information…thanks so much!

  5. I have heard of pixlr but haven’t had a need to use it. Most of my editing work is done with snapseed on my ipad. But then there are times when I end up using iphoto or the tools that are readily available on windows.

    When I was having issues sizing the cover of my book that is on smashwords I ended up using the most basic editor to change my pixel definitions and bring it up to the size they required.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Sometimes you come up with a problem like this one and don’t know how to fix it. Maybe someone out there will find this post just as they are puzzling over an out-of-proportion image. Thanks for noting all your related experiences, Jon.

  6. What a wonderful online (and free) tool for photos. I bookmarked it in the event of, well, seemed like it offers a lot when I scanned it. Thanks Leora.

  7. Ally Grigg says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing. I generally use PicMonkey to edit pictures, but I don’t know how to do this on that website.

  8. Jason B says:

    Wow. This is a great tool. I will be using this from now on.

  9. Cassi says:

    I haven’t had any squished pictures lately so I pinned this post for later.

    I too love PicMonkey!

  10. Jeri says:

    I have yet to use pixlr, but now I will have to make a mental not to check it out. I’ve typically been using PicMonkey or the utltra low-tech MS Paint to crop and resize images.

  11. Dare says:

    Hi Leora,

    Good tutorial!!

    Image editing can easily be done using Photoshop ( I use Adobe photoshop CS4).

    Just open the image in photoshop, go to images, image size, uncheck ‘constrain proportions, then put in the new height in the height section ( note that it will change, then also chose a sizeable width figure so that it wont look clustered together).

    I hope this also compliments the tutorial!!

    then chose

  12. Cheryl says:

    Have not run into this issue. I use several image editing apps. I have not used this one though. :)

  13. Diana says:

    what a lovely guide and tool – thanks, Leora – yet another excellent post!!!

    Photoshop is way too complex for my taste… Whatever edits or comments i want to leave on an image, i use Paint (duh?!) but once i tried fixing a squashed image in Paint and it was a pain as i had to manually try and fit in a certain size. I LOVE how this tool is web based, free AND let’s you set the size you want the image to fit in – and then leads you where and how to crop it, perfect!

    Thanks again for sharing – will definitely use it :-)

  14. Adrienne says:

    I’ve used Pixlr Leora but won SnagIt from a fellow blogger so I’ve been using that one. It’s different in that I don’t think it does layering and stuff but I’m not very good at that anyway. I only do the very basics.

    Man, I sure could have used this several months ago. There is a girl that I wanted to share her photo but it was really warped like that and I didn’t know how to fix it without it still being out of shape but just changing the size. I’m definitely not a pro in graphics programs.

    I’m keeping this post because I KNOW I’ll need it in the future.

    Thanks Leora and Happy Halloween.

    ~Adrienne

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Hi, Adrienne. Well, it may have been squashed for different reasons than I wrote in this post. Like if the image is squooshed originally because of fitting into improper height and width proportions, then you take a screenshot of that, the screenshot is like a photo and that’s that – you can’t make it go back to normal looking again.

  15. Leora — this post is so timely because just today I needed to crop a photo. I searched “photo resizer” and the first free site I came across was pic resize http://www.picresize.com/. I uploaded my image and then just dragged the crop tool across the image to the size I wanted. Real easy. But glad to know about Pixlr.

  16. Arleen says:

    I used Photoshop to manipulate my images. How does pixlr do in batching out different size images to fit the size you need. Between Photoshop and Illustrator the price is getting out of hand. As I need to create vector art I have to keep up with the latest versions of the Adobe products. It is nice to see a program like this.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Arleen, I haven’t looked into images in batch – a good one to look out for. Photoshop certainly does this well. Unfortunately, there is little available as extensive as Photoshop and Illustrator. Some people use Gimp, which is free software, but I understand it is not easy to figure out how to use Gimp.

  17. TheGirl says:

    I too, recently discovered pixlr as I was re-designing my website and wanted to put up new pics. I re-did my header and it just screams “awesome”. I feel like a true graphic designer …and the service is free!

  18. For heaven’s sake, you make it all sound so easy! I’ll have to check into pixlr and a few of these other programs mentioned in the comments. All I’ve ever used are the apps that came with my MacBook – photoshop is SO intimidating! Thanks for this good info.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Sometimes a simpler program is all that one needs. I really like Photoshop, but that is with years of learning its details (and always needing to review certain tasks like masking). It’s good there is more than one choice.

  19. Becc says:

    I had no idea about pixlr. So glad you shared this as I think I may be using it a fair bit in the future :)

  20. This is very cool! I love the step-by-step instructions, too. I need those.

    I have not had any experience with this site, but I have heard of it. Images are not really my thing, and are my weakness when it comes to blogging.

    I think I will have to play around with this tool! :)

  21. Great information, the squishy image stuff drives me nuts, I find it completely distracting. My corporate logo is a circle and I can’t count the number of times it has shown up as an oval (ugh!!).

  22. Sarah James says:

    I like this tool. I do use PSD for these stuffs but I will give this tool a try too. Nice info Leora.

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