How To Resize an Image in Photoshop

Resizing an image in Photoshop sounds easy but there are some key considerations. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, you could end up with distorted or low-quality images.

Follow the steps below to achieve picture-perfect results every time.

Resize an Image with the Image Resize Tool

If your needs are very basic, this is the tool to use.

  1. With your image open, go to Image > Image Size in the top menu.

    Resize Using the Image Resize Tool
    Resize your image using the Image Resize Tool.
  2. A new dialogue box will open. If you’re resizing an image you’ll use digitally, leave the Resample option checked. If you are resizing for print, uncheck it.Assuming you want to maintain the current aspect ratio, change the Height or Width dimension – whichever is critical to you. Photoshop will automatically change the other. Clicking on the Link icon will allow for independent dimensions.Click OK, and you’re done.

    Note: If you’re resizing for print, leave the Resolution at 300 pixels per inch. If you’re resizing for digital, you can leave it or change it to 72 if your final file size is an issue.

    Image Resize Tool Options
    Adjust your dimensions using the Image Resize tool options.

Resize a Photoshop Image Using the Transform Tool

Use this method when you’re working with layers and only need to resize a single layer.

  1. Position the layer you need to resize on top of your other layers. (You cannot transform the background layer.)
  2. Select your layer by clicking on it in the Layers Panel on the right and then go to Edit > Transform > Scale on the top menu. Your image (layer) now appears in a box with handles. With your mouse, pick a handle and drag until you reach your desired image size.

    If you need to position the layer after resizing it, you can use the Move tool in the left sidebar.
  3. Go to Layer > Flatten Image in the top toolbar.

Resize an Image in Photoshop Using Content-Aware Scale

The Content-Aware Scale tool allows you to resize an image without distorting any key content.

  1. Unlock your image by clicking the Lock icon. It’s found on the Layers Panel, to the right of your background or layer thumbnail. This will change the name to Layer 0.
  2. Next, scroll up and select the Properties tab. From there, choose Select Subject.

Note: You can find Select Subject via the Search icon.

  1. In a few seconds, you should see the marching ants around your selection. Go to the top menu and choose Select > Save Selection. Name it and click OK.

    Select Subject and Save
    Go to Select and then Save Selection.
  2. Use Windows keyboard shortcut Ctrl + D or Mac Cmd + D to deselect your selection.
  3. In the top menu, find and select Edit > Content-Aware Scale. 
    Edit Using Content-Aware Scale
    Select Edit and then Content-Aware Scale.

    Before resizing your image, go to Protect in the top toolbar. From the drop-down menu select the subject you named in the previous step.

  4. Drag the handles around your image until you reach your desired size. The subject you selected won’t distort.
  5. Use the Crop tool in the left sidebar to get rid of any unwanted space.

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