Thursday, 29 December 2016

Resize any file without losing quality

Resize any file without losing quality

Files are sometimes too large to store or share easily. Wayne Williams reveals the best ways to shrink images, videos and other files without affecting their quality

Shrink JPEGs and PNGs

Most image-editing software lets you reduce the size of pictures saved in JPEG or PNG format, but if you’re not careful, that can have an impact on their quality. There are several online tools that can shrink your photos without introducing any noticeable flaws, including the excellent TinyJPG ( which, despite its name, can handle both JPEGs and PNGs.

Drop up to 20 images (with a maximum size of 5MB each) on to the site, and TinyJPG will intelligently decrease the file size and show you how much space you’ve saved. Alternatively, try Optimizilla ( which is similar and can also handle up to 20 files in the two formats.

If you prefer to use a Desktop program, try RIOT (, which is specifically designed to shrink images for sharing on the web. The Radical Image Optimization Tool – to give it its full name – delivers high compression rates without compromising image quality. Its full auto mode chooses the best options for you, and the side-byside view lets you compare the optimised version of the image with the original. RIOT works with JPEG, PNG and GIF files.

Shrink animated GIFs

Animated GIFS can be a lot of fun, and plenty of websites – including Facebook – now support them. Unfortunately, the GIFs you download from the web can sometimes be too large to use on other sites, and your standard image editor may not be able to shrink them without stripping out the animation. The GIFGIFS Online GIF Optimizer ( solves this problem by reducing the number of colours in GIFs and removing non-essential frames. It diminishes the quality a little, but you can choose what to change and remove from your GIFs so the impact should be minimal.

If you need to alter the physical dimensions of the GIF – rather than its file size – you can use GIFGIFs’ resizer instead ( Simply upload the image and use the slider to adjust the dimensions.

Alternatively, you can download GIF Optimizer Free ( to change the size of your animated GIFs. Just open the file you want to compress and click Optimise to shrink it.

Shrink large videos

Video files are often huge, and can take ages to upload or download. The best solution is to convert the existing video format to MP4, if it isn’t already, using a tool such as Handbrake ( This free program can convert most video formats, and is very easy to use. Import a file to convert, make sure the output container is set to MP4 and tick the ‘Web Optimized’ box. Select the Video tab and make sure H.264 (X264) is selected. You can tweak the settings if you wish (slower speeds are better), but the defaults should be fine. Choose a destination, then click the Start button to scale down the video without distorting the picture.

Shrink MP3 files

As with JPEG, MP3 is a ‘lossy’ file format, which means it strips and discards certain details from the original audio. However, because MP3 removes sounds that aren’t generally perceptible to the human ear, you probably won’t notice the difference on a reasonably good-quality track.

MP3Smaller ( is an online service that reduces the file size of MP3s by adjusting their bitrate. Upload your file (up to a maximum of 150MB), then pick the bitrate you want from the drop-down menu – the lower the bitrate, the smaller the size. Bear in mind that lowering the bitrate will also reduce the audio quality, so you should experiment to find a balance that works for you. 128Kbps is a decent minimum to aim for, or you can choose 128-256Kbps VBR (variable bitrate). This will attempt to maintain the quality while removing inessential data. The size will be larger than a 128Kbps-encoded file, but should be smaller than a track encoded in 256Kbps CBR (constant bitrate).

Shrink Word documents

Images embedded in Word documents can significantly inflate the overall file size. As with PDFs, you can compress pictures to shrink the Office file without (hopefully) losing too much quality. In Word 2013 or newer, click an image, and select Compress Pictures in the menu. You can choose whether to apply your changes to just the one image, and optionally delete cropped areas of pictures.

You can also adjust the default resolution – the lower the quality of the images, the smaller the size of your documents. 220ppi is a good quality for printing, while 150ppi is usually fine for viewing on screen. For emails, you might be able to get away with 96ppi. Some images – such as graphs – can be reduced even further without their quality being affected.

Go to File and, under Properties, you should see the current size of your document. From that menu, open Options, and click Advanced. You can discard editing data, which is used to restore edited images to their original state, and choose whether or not Word should compress images in the file automatically. You can adjust the default resolution to lower the quality of the images here, too.

Shrink PDF files

PDFs contain all the data needed to display a file properly, but some media formats – such as images – inflate the overall file size. PDF Reducer Free ( can slim down PDFs by resampling any photos and graphics and removing unused objects. The publisher claims it can reduce the size of PDFs by up to 80%.

There are no major limitations in the free version, but it does nag you to upgrade every five files.

Compress files by 70%

When you’re compressing files, it’s obviously important to save as much space as you can. 7-Zip ( generally has the highest compression ratio of other similar programs. To make the most of it, you’ll need to use the software’s own proprietary 7z format, which promises a 30-70% size reduction over files compressed using the ZIP format in other programs.


If you have a small image file, making it bigger will introduce all sorts of problems, such as blurring, general loss of sharpness and jagged edges. There are several free programs that you can use to intelligently increase the size of your photos without causing problems. Two of the best are Reshade Image Enlarger (, which we wrote about in Issue 407, and A Sharper Scaling ( They both use photo-enlargement algorithms to produce crisper resizes. Reshade Image Enlarger was originally a paid program, but is now entirely free. It claims to be able to zoom an image by up to 2,000%, but you need a fairly decent image to begin with if you’re going to really super-size it.

If you have a logo you want to resize, it’s worth turning it into a scalable vector using the online tools Autotracer ( or VectorMagic (