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Easy Image Resizing in Photoshop CS2

Last updated Mar 14, 2003.

As I mentioned in the introduction to this article, we’re going to look at a preference setting in Photoshop CS2 that I personally believe should be turned on by default. It’s almost hard to imagine a time when you wouldn’t want this one on. It’s just one of those small things that really makes a huge difference in your workflow if you find yourself placing a lot of images in Photoshop.

Step One:

Go ahead and create a blank document. It can really be any size, but for purposes of following along here make it fairly small – something like 400 pixels in width by 400 pixels in height.

Figure 1

Step 1 Creating a blank image in Photoshop

Step Two:

Now, let’s say that as you’re working on this image you decide that you want to place a photo into it. Since we’re working in Photoshop CS2, you want to try to take advantage of smart objects so try to use the File > Place method when possible. So go ahead and do just that. Choose File > Place, then select any photo that is larger than 400 x 400 pixels in size. Here, I’m grabbing a photo of my fellow Photoshop TV co-hosts Scott Kelby and Dave Cross. Once you find that photo, click Place to actually bring it into your document.

Figure 2

Step 2 The Place dialog box in Photoshop CS2

Step Three:

You’ll see a small bounding box appear around your photo because you placed it. Just press the Enter/Return key to confirm the image placement. You’ll also notice a new layer in the Layers palette.

Figure 3

Step 3 The newly placed image in the Photoshop document

Now here’s the thing... take a look at your placed photo in comparison to the entire window. If you placed a photo that was larger than the actual image dimensions as I specified in Step 2, then your photo will not be totally visible since it was larger than the actual document. You could resize it, but if you’re someone who make a living using Photoshop all day and you often paste or place images in Photoshop, then think of how much extra time this can consume. Fortunately, there’s a solution in the form of a new preference in Photoshop CS2.

Step Four:

Open Photoshop CS2’s preferences by choosing Edit > Preferences > General or pressing Control / Command + K.

Figure 4

Step 4 Opening Photoshop’s General preferences

Step Five:

In the General preferences window you’ll see a "Resize during Paste/Place" checkbox. Go ahead and turn this option on, as it’s not on by default. Then click OK to apply your new setting and close the preferences window.

Figure 5

Step 5 Turning an option on in General preferences

Step Six:

Now repeat Step 2, placing the same photo that you did last time. Examine the photo and bounding box that appears in the document now. Notice how the entire fits into the document without clipping at the edges? That’s because the Photoshop preference automatically resized the image when it was placed. If you want to make it larger or smaller, you can always adjust the bounding box at this point. Or, you can just press Enter/Return and confirm the image placement.

Figure 6

Step 6 The new preference automatically resizes the photo to fit the document

Any way you look at it, this tiny preference change saves a lot of time. While it helps when you’re just placing one image, imagine how much easier it will make life overall, in Photoshop, if you don’t have to worry about trying to make your pasted or placed images fit into every Photoshop document. See you next time.