Cropping and Straightening Images

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Cropping an image will trim unwanted parts of the photo from the edges. Remember, images to be displayed on the web need to be small for faster download. It is a good idea to crop tight into the important parts of your image, so the image can be more readable at small sizes. Once you have cropped, you may still need to resize the image (see the section on resizing).

When scanning an image, it is very difficult to get the photo to be exactly straight on the scanner. Most scanned images will need to be straightened. You will want to straighten an image before cropping, unless you have a more deluxe image editing program that allows you to straighten the image while you crop (covered below).

Straightening an Image before Cropping

In Adobe Photoshop (Windows & Mac):

  1. Open the image into Adobe Photoshop by going to the File Menu and choosing Open, browse to your image.
  2. Select the Measure tool from the Tool Bar. It looks like a ruler and is hidden under the Eyedropper tool. Click and hold the Eyedropper tool until you see the Measure tool displayed. Click on the Measure tool to select it.

    Measure Tool
     
  3. Click and drag the Measure tool across an edge of the image. Release the mouse.
     
    Illustration of using Measure Tool on crooked photo

    The Measure tool calculates the angle that was drawn. In this case, it was 87.9 degrees, about 2 degrees off from a 90 degree angle. The angle is displayed in the Options bar (along the top of the screen, just under the menus).

    You do not need to input this number anywhere as Photoshop keeps track of the number for you just where you need it.

  4. Choose Image > Rotate Canvas > Arbitrary. A dialog box appears with the precise number that is needed to straighten your image, already entered. In this case, 2.1 degrees set to rotate counter clockwise.

    Rotate Canvas Dialog Box
     
  5. Click OK and your image will be rotated to the desired angle.
  6. Crop the image to remove the unwanted the edges.

In Adobe Photoshop Elements (Windows & Mac):

  1. Open the image into Adobe Photoshop Elements by going to the File Menu and choosing Open.
  2. Choose Image > Rotate > Straighten Image. Photoshop Elements calculates how much to rotate by all on it's own. This method may not be as precise as the method described above in Photoshop, but it should be close enough.
  3. Crop the image to remove the unwanted the edges.

In iPhoto (Mac Only):


iPhoto Straighten

  1. To work on images in iPhoto, you must first import the image into the iPhoto library.
    1. View instructions for importing photos from a digital camera directly into iPhoto with a USB cable on Apple's Web site. You must have a compatible camera to do this.
    2. Import a photo from your hard drive or disk, by going to the File menu and choosing Import to Library.
  2. Once you see your photo in the iPhoto library, double-click on it to open it into iPhoto's edit view.
  3. Click on the Adjust button at the bottom of the window to open the Adjust panel.
  4. In the middle of the panel, find the Straighten slider bar and adjust it. A grid appears over your photo to help you line it up. You can revert back to the original at any time before selecting the Done button by going to the Photos menu and choosing Revert to Original.
  5. If you are finished editing, click the Done button at the bottom, right of the window. If you want to crop closer, see the iPhoto crop section, below. NOTE: After you have selected Done, your file is saved with the edits. To revert back to the original, you need to Control-click (or right-click) on the thumbnail in the Library and choose Revert to Original from the context menu.

iPhoto will crop the image as it straightens it. You will not need to crop to fix the edges.

In Graphic Converter (Mac Only):

  1. Open the image into Graphic Converter by going to the File Menu and choosing Open.
  2. From the Picture Menu, choose Rotate and then from the list, choose Other Value with Line.
  3. Your cursor will become a cross hair. Draw a line across one of the edges of the image.
  4. The image will be straightened in alignment with your drawn line.
  5. Crop the image to remove the unwanted the edges.

In Graphic Converter you need to straighten before cropping, you cannot crop and straighten at once.

In Microsoft Picture Manager (Windows Only)

  1. Open the image into the Microsoft Picture Manager program by going to the File Menu and selecting Locate Pictures.
    Locate Pictures Task Pane

    On the right side of the screen, the Locate Pictures task pane will show.

    Next to "Look in," your computer's hard drive is selected by default. If you need to, click on the drop down menu to select an alternate place to browse. Click OK. Browse through your files to locate the picture you want.

    After using this function, the folder you access will be appear in the left pane where Picture Shortcuts are listed. You can easily access your folders of images here.

  2. Click on the downward arrow at the top of the task pane to show the task pane drop down menu.

    Choose Rotate and Flip from the menu.

    To rotate by 90 degree angles (changing a portrait orientated image to a landscape orientated image), click on the either Rotate Left or Rotate Right button.

    For rotating by smaller amounts, next to "By Degree," enter the amount you want to rotate by or click the up or down arrows to set the rotation amount in one degree increments. Each time you click, you will see the image rotate in the preview pane.

    Rotate and Flip

  3. Crop the image to remove the unwanted the edges.

In Microsoft Picture Manager you need to straighten before cropping, you cannot crop and straighten at once.

In Microsoft Photo Editor (Windows Only)

There is no easy way to straighten a photo in Microsoft Photo Editor, other than rotating by 90 degrees. You can rotate, but you will have to guess the degree amount to rotate by. With trial and error it can be done.

  1. Open the image into the Microsoft Photo Editor program by going to the File Menu, select Open, browse to the image you want.
  2. To rotate the entire image, go to the Image Menu and choose Rotate. If you need to rotate an image at 90 degree angles (changing a portrait orientated image to a landscape orientated image), click on the choice.
  3. For rotating by smaller amounts, click on "By Degrees," enter the amount you want to rotate by. You will need to guess how many degrees your image needs to be rotated by to be straight.
  4. Crop the image to remove the unwanted edges.

In Microsoft Photo Editor you need to straighten before cropping, you cannot crop and straighten at once.

Cropping an Image

Many image editing programs will allow you to crop an image. A few have been picked to demonstrate below.

In Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Photoshop Elements:

  1. Open Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Photoshop Elements.
  2. Go to the File Menu and choose Open, browse to your image.
  3. Choose the Crop tool from the tool bar. Draw a rectangle around the area you want to crop to, creating a cropping marquee.
  4. Adjust the Crop edges as needed.
     
    Cropping Marquee

    Click on one of the 8 handles on the corners or sides of the cropping marquee and drag to adjust it. Hold down the Shift key when dragging to constrain the crop to the same proportions.

    The area that will be cropped out is darkened to help you see how your cropped image will look. You can adjust the color and opacity of the cropping shield in the Options Bar.

    If you want to crop very close to the document bounds, you will need to turn off the Snap-to Document Bounds setting. Go to the View Menu, choose Snap To, from the pop-out list, if Document Bounds has a check next to it, select it to turn it off.

  5. Double-click inside the cropping marquee to apply the crop. You can also apply the crop by pressing Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac). Press the Escape key to cancel the crop.

iPhoto

  1. To work on images in iPhoto, you must first import the image into the iPhoto library.
    1. View instructions for importing photos from a digital camera directly into iPhoto with a USB cable on Apple's Web site. You must have a compatible camera to do this.
    2. Import a photo from your hard drive or disk, by going to the File menu and choosing Import to Library.
  2. Once you see your photo in the iPhoto library, double-click on it to open it into iPhoto's edit view.
  3. Click the Crop button. If the Crop button is grayed out, click and drag out a cropping square with your mouse. Notice that the photo has a lightened edge around the photo. This represents the area that will be cropped away.

    iPhoto Crop
     
  4. Click and drag from a corner inward or outwards to adjust the cropping area.
    Click on the Constrain pop-up menu to select from specific dimensions to crop to or to constrain your cropping area to a perfect square.
  5. Click the Crop button again to apply the crop.
  6. You can undo the crop by choosing Undo from the Edit menu or by using the key command: Command + Z. You can revert back to the original photo by choosing Photos > Revert to Original.
  7. If you are finished editing, click the Done button at the bottom, right of the window. NOTE: After you have selected Done, your file is saved with the edits. To revert back to the original, you need to Control-click (or right-click) on the thumbnail in the Library and choose Revert to Original from the context menu.

In Graphic Converter (Mac Only):

  1. Open the image into Graphic Converter by going to the File Menu and choosing Open.
  2. Select the Selection tool (rectangle icon in the upper right corner of tool bar).
    Selection Tool
  3. Draw a box around the area to be cropped to.
  4. Adjust the box as needed by clicking and dragging from one of the handles on the corners or middle edges of the box.
  5. Hit the Return key OR Double-click inside the box, OR go to the Edit Menu and choose Trim Selection. The image will be cropped.

Auto Method:

  1. Go to the Edit Menu and choose Smart Trim.
  2. Graphic Converter will trim out white areas around the edges.

In Microsoft Picture Manager (Windows Only)

  1. Open the image into the Microsoft Picture Manager program by going to the File Menu and selecting Locate Pictures.
     
    Locate Pictures Task Pane

    On the right side of the screen, the Locate Pictures task pane will show.

    Next to "Look in," your computer's hard drive is selected by default. If you need to, click on the drop down menu to select an alternate place to browse. Click OK. Browse through your files to locate the picture you want.

    After using this function, the folder you access will be appear in the left pane where Picture Shortcuts are listed. You can easily access your folders of images here.

  2. Click on the downward arrow at the top of the task pane (currently showing Locate Pictures) to show the task pane drop down menu. Choose Crop.

    Microsoft Picture Editor Crop

  3. Cropping handles appear around the image corners and middle edges. Drag any of these handles inwards or outwards to adjust the crop. The area to be cropped away will appear lighter.
  4. If you need to, you can zoom in or out on the photo by adjusting the zoom slider at the bottom, center of the screen.
  5. When your crop is set to your liking, click OK, the image will be cropped.
  6. In the crop task pane on the right side of the screen, you will see your new Picture Dimensions in pixels. If you need to, resize your image to be ready for the web.

In Microsoft Photo Editor (Windows Only)

  1. Open the image into the Microsoft Photo Editor program by going to the File Menu, selecting Open, browsing to the image you want.
  2. Go to the Tool Bar and choose the Select tool (circled in red below)

    Microsoft Photo Editor Tool Bar
     
  3. Draw a rectangle around the area you want to crop to.
  4. Go to the Image Menu and choose Crop.

Cropping and Straightening at Once

Some programs allow you to straighten and crop an image at the same time.

In Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Photoshop Elements:

  1. Open Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Photoshop Elements.
  2. Go to the File Menu and choose Open, browse to your image.
  3. Choose the Crop tool from the tool bar. Draw a rectangle roughly around the image, creating a cropping marquee.
  4. Move your cursor outside one of the corners until you see a curved double-arrow.
     
    Cropping Marquee

    Click and drag, the cropping marquee will rotate, pivoting from the point you clicked at. Match the cropping marquee as best as you can to the image.

    Adjust the handles of the cropping marquee to be inside the image area.

    To crop very close to the document bounds, go to the View Menu, choose Snap To, from the pop-out list, if Document Bounds has a check next to it, select it to turn it off.

  5. Double-click inside the cropping marquee, or press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac). Your image will be rotated and cropped.

In iPhoto

iPhoto will automatically crop your image while straightening it. See the iPhoto Straighten section above.