How to Crop a Picture

Cropping is useful for tweaking a photo’s composition, removing superfluous elements, and honing in on a particular subject. Macs and Windows PCs come with free applications that can handle basic cropping, so you don’t need to own an expensive editing suite to get the job done.

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On a Mac, the default Preview software has easy-to-use tools for cropping and resizing images, while Microsoft Paint can perform the same functions on a PC. Cropping reduces the total pixel count of an image and changes its dimensions, so we recommend you save multiple versions of your work.
Using Preview (Mac)

  1. First, double-click on the image file you’d like to crop. Preview should be the default application for opening images, but if it isn’t, hit Control + click to bring up a list of options. Hover your mouse over “Open With” and choose Preview from the list.
  2. Next, enable the Editor Toolbar by clicking on the center-right icon that looks like a pencil. This will give you image selection options, which you can use for cropping purposes. The default is Rectangular Selection, but you can choose others like Elliptical and Lasso on the left side of the Editor Toolbar. We recommend Rectangular for most photo projects.
  3. Click and hold to draw a rectangle on the image, which will define the section you’d like to keep. When you’re happy with how the rectangle looks, click the “Crop” button on the far right side of the Editor Toolbar. The remaining area of the image will disappear, leaving only the rectangular section that you drew.
  4. When you’re ready to save the cropped image, click on “File” and then choose “Save” to replace the original version, or “Save As” to create a new image file.

Quick Tip: For even faster cropping, use Apple’s keyboard shortcuts. First, open the image in Preview and then draw a rectangle around the area you’d like to crop. Then, hit Command + K to crop, and Command + S to save your new version. 

Using Paint (Windows)

  1. First, find the Paint application by clicking “Start” and then “All Programs”. You’ll see it under the Accessories tab.
  2. Once the application loads, click the Paint button and then “Open” to select which picture you’d like to crop. Then, choose the “Select” option within the Image group (on the Home tab).
  3. Now, you’ll be able to click and drag a box around the section you’d like to keep. When you’re happy with the dimensions, click Crop.
  4. To save your newly cropped image as another file, simply type a different name in the “File name” box and click Save.
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