Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Adobe Photoshop > Technique

Guide to Creating and Managing Images in Photoshop Elements 5

This chapter offers some basic guidelines on adjusting image size and resolution, depending on whether you want to print, email, or post to the Web. The authors also cover creating images from scratch (which is what some people use Elements for, ignoring the Organizer entirely). You'll also learn the different methods for viewing additional information about your images.
This chapter is from the book

So far, we've introduced Photoshop Elements and worked mostly in the Organizer, importing and arranging photos for manipulation later. But Elements isn't just a photo album: it's built on the code from Photoshop, the industrial-strength image editor used by the pros. As such, it's important to build a foundation of knowledge about digital images in preparation for editing them later.

This chapter offers some basic guidelines on adjusting image size and resolution, depending on whether you want to print, email, or post to the Web. We also cover creating images from scratch (which is what some people use Elements for, ignoring the Organizer entirely). You'll also learn the different methods for viewing additional information about your images.

Understanding Resolution and Image Size

Resolution and image size are frequently used and often misunderstood terms.

Resolution simply refers to the number of pixels, or picture elements—tiny, square, building blocks—that are packed into a digital image. Today's computer monitors and LCD displays pack millions of pixels into the screen you're viewing; the more pixels, the higher the resolution, and in general the more detail you're able to see.

Image size refers to both the print size and resolution of an image. Depending on whether you want to print a photograph, post it on a Web page, or email it to a friend, you'll need to adjust its image size and resolution accordingly.

This section explains the important relationship between image resolution and image size, and how to control these options to get the results you want.

Pixel Basics

Everything you do in Photoshop Elements involves controlling and changing pixels. Pixels make up your entire image and are typically not visible as individual elements until you zoom in on your picture (Figure 3.1). In fact, Photoshop Elements may even have derived its name, at least in part, from these small but powerful image structures.

Figure 3.1

Figure 3.1 Pixels become more visible as you increase the magnification of your image.

As you work in Photoshop Elements, you'll find that you need to adjust the size of your images for different projects. If you want to email a photo to a friend, you'll need a small file size for easy delivery—so you'll want to create a low-resolution image, which means it contains a smaller number of pixels. If you're planning to print high-quality images on your ink-jet printer, you'll want to maintain as high a resolution as your printer can handle (meaning a greater density of pixels) to ensure a crisp, clear print.

Images are often described using pixels as the unit of measure. For example, a common setting for many digital cameras is 1600 x 1200 pixels (the x is pronounced "by," just as in "3 x 5 photo"). Multiplying 1600 times 1200 gives you the total number of pixels in the image, which in this case is 1.92 million pixels.

Digital cameras often include preset resolution modes. These settings determine both the physical dimensions and file size of the image (Figure 3.2).

Figure 3.2

Figure 3.2 Examples of common digital camera resolutions and associated file sizes, all viewed at 100% (also referred to as actual pixels). Higher-resolution images, like the photo on top, provide a sharp, clear picture that's excellent for printing. Lower-resolution images, like the middle and bottom photos, lack sufficient pixel information for printing purposes, but work fine for posting on the Web or emailing to friends.

Displaying and Printing Images

Any discussion of resolution and output can be confusing, so you need to keep a few basic details in mind. Image resolution is described in pixels per inch, or ppi.

The ideal amount of detail and level of resolution depend on how you intend to use an image. If you're going to display your photos on the Web, keep in mind that large files take forever to download and view, so you'll want to choose a lower resolution like 72 ppi (72 ppi is the most common image resolution for monitor displays).

Three factors affect the way an image is displayed on a computer monitor: the number of pixels in the image, the screen resolution, and the screen size (Figure 3.3). The size of each pixel is determined by the resolution and size of the monitor. For example, a 17-inch monitor set to a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels would have 82 pixels per inch (Figure 3.4). The same monitor set to a resolution of 800 x 600 would have fewer pixels per inch, so each pixel takes up more screen space (Figure 3.5). If you change your monitor resolution to a lower resolution setting, the images and icons appear larger on your screen. It takes fewer pixels to fill the monitor, so the size of each pixel appears larger.

Figure 3.3

Figure 3.3 The display of an onscreen image is based on the resolution of the image, the size of the monitor, and the monitor resolution.

Figure 3.4

Figure 3.4 A monitor set to 1024 x 768 is a more common setting, and allows program menus to be seen more easily.

Figure 3.5

Figure 3.5 The same monitor set to 800 x 600 displays fewer pixels per inch, so less of the image is visible.

Print resolution is usually described by the number of dots per inch, or dpi, a printer is capable of printing. If you want to print a high-quality flyer or photo, you may want to use an image resolution as high as 300 pixels per inch, so that a maximum amount of image information is sent to the printer. Fortunately, a wide range of image resolutions are available that work well for different types of situations, and Photoshop Elements includes some automatic functions (such as the Save for Web command) that take the guesswork out of the process.

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020