Blogging with pictures

Conclusion.

  1. For screenshots the picture support in Word 2007 is good enough.
  2. File size might be a little bit to big sometimes since they will be in PNG.

 

Story.

Screenshots.

How to handle screenshots with ease? I have no great picture editing program and have no plan to either buy one or invest time in learning how to handle a tool like Adobe or Corel. Still I want to have screenshots and photos in my blog.

Concerning photos from my digital camera – I am an ordinary amateur like most of us. This means I download my photos from my camera to the hard disk. Then I do some fast face lifting with a few clicks of Picasa 2. ( What I call 3 click magic with Picas, to be cover another day.) In some future I wish I will have time to tag them and organize them better…. I have the unique naming convention of naming the folders by date!! Smart isn’t it?

Using screenshots, I produce them with Alt/Prtn Scrn or Ctrl/Prtn Scrn, if I want to crop them I usually use Paint to cut out the peaces I want and then paste them into a Word documentation for documentation purposes. I have considered SnagIt but never really found I have the needed for it. Some day in the future I will probably give it a try. Before Word 2007 this has been my intentions, but since Word 2007 offers a lot of goodies for picture formatting, I will try to investigate this more in the future. For photo publishing so far I have been lazy using either the Picasa support for publishing on my own Web-site or using photos in a Word document printed into a PDF-document by Fineprint. (The example happends to be a travel documentation from Morocco in Swedish, if wonder about the silly spelling..)

I took a screenshot from Word before starting to write this post, and I got a far to big screenshot to fit into my blog, I did a fast resize shrinking it to what I thought was a reasonable size to fit into my blog. Most blogs seems to handle it OK, just clipping it at the right. The first one is just pasted into Word 2007 from Alt/Ctrl Prnt/Scrn. After that it is resized (shrunk) in Word 2007 and then just published into WordPress with the options I specified for transfer to my FTP-site. Now what type of picture file will you get being that lazy, for screenshots you get PNG. File size might be a little big to bigger, but the good quality might be worth it, at least if my readers have acceptable bandwidth. Bandwidths in the US might point to an opposite opinion…

Size modified in Word (shrunk). This picture is in PNG and is too wide to fit, size is 33kb.

I would like to trim the file size so I will try to make the picture a JPG file. I pasted the picture into Paint and then saved it as a JPG. But that was really silly; you can’t resize it in Paint!! So where to find the shrunk pictures? I saved my Word 2007 document as a DOCX-file, the new file format of Word. Then I renamed the file to zip and opened it with Winzip, and there were my PNG-file inside the Word document. So I grabbed it and saved it on my desktop. After that maneuver I could open it with Paint, and then save it as both JPG and GIF. With JPG the file size shrunk from 33 kb to 18 kb but the result lost a little bit of sharpness. Good news was that Word 2007 kept it as JPG when I published it. I.e. it was sent to my FTP site as a JPG.

Same picture but converted to JPG, size 18kb. I think PNG size is worth it! On my computer it is sharper.

Same file as GIF, 15kb, but a lot of degradation in both sharpness and color. GIF might have been good for screenshots but with the gradients in Office 2007 it will not be a hit. So after these experiments I will drop GIF. Still to consider is PNG or JPG? Using JPG means a little bit wore work and lost quality for the picture above, but is it general. To handle screenshots in your blog you will need more functions. Sometimes the picture is too big, as above, sometimes you will have to crop sometimes you would like to make the picture bigger. What will happen then?

 This is a PNG resized by Word to fit into my blog, by a little bit of experience I found out that 13,5 cm is good enough (I have 740px in my CSS for the area where the pics appear) . I also have give the screenshots a dark gray border, which I think looks better… But since no conversion is done Word seems to prefer PNG, size is impressing 144kb in the docx file.

 

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