Eek! My images don't look right. Help!

Sometimes when you're working with an image from our website, something just isn't quite right. Below are the top issues that members have with images.

In this article we'll address these top issues:

Images look fuzzy/blurred/jagged

The two most common reasons that an image looks and/or prints fuzzy, blurry or jagged are:

  1. Enlarging a bitmap file (TIFF, JPEG, JPG, GIF) too much
  2. Printing a GIF
Enlarged Bitmaps fix

Bitmap (TIFF, JPEG, JPG, GIF) images are actually a grid of tiny black, white or colored pixels. When bitmaps are enlarged, the tiny pixels that form the image are more noticeable and create a "stair-stepped" look.

Solution: Most bitmaps can be enlarged a little bit before they begin to lose quality. If you need to enlarge a picture significantly, use a WMF version of the picture if one is available. WMFs can be enlarged to almost any size without noticeable loss of quality.

Printed GIFs fix

  GIF images are low resolution (72 dpi to match computer screens) and are used for display on websites. They aren't meant to be printed. If you copy and paste a picture from any website, you're actually using the GIF (or sometimes JPEG) format of a picture. The GIFs may display fine in your document onscreen, but may not print as well as you expect, because of the low resolution.

Solution: For print documents use a TIFF, WMF or JPEG file. Avoid copying and pasting art from websites, because they are typically low resolution.

(By the way, Copying and Pasting a picture IS the correct way to get an image if you're going to use it on your website.)

Follow these steps to download TIFF, WMF and JPEG (.jpg) files:
  1. Right-click on the file name beneath the picture. (NOTE: Be sure to select the correct file type for your needs.)
  2. Click Save Target As... from the pop-up menu that appears.
  3. Browse to the folder where you'd like to save the picture (for example, the My Pictures folder).
  4. Click the Save button.
(Mac users should click the 'control' key and then the link. When the pop-up menu appears, select "Download link to disk.")
Importing an image into a document is usually done through Insert > Picture or Import > Graphic or something similar. Because each program works a little differently, check your program's "Help" menu or manual for specific instructions. 

Can't find an image after downloading it or an image won't download

In order to ensure the best quality image, we always recommend downloading the image to your computer. Sometimes this seemingly simple task can turn into frustration.

Searching for images "lost" on your computer

Try searching for the image name using your computer's search feature. To find missing files, use the Search or Find feature of your computer. The Windows Search feature can be reached by clicking the Windows Start button.

To avoid this problem, make note of the folder you select when you download. Or always download to the same location, such as your desktop or My Pictures folder.

Setting where files download on your computer

Where an image downloads actually depends on which browser you are using and your personal settings.

In Chrome, you can enable a prompt to save downloads to a specific location by accessing your Settings>Advanced Settings>Download option and ensuring the box is checked to "Ask where to save each file before downloading."

Windows Edge does not give you the option to select where to save downloaded files. By default, it will save files to your Download folder. If this causes problems, you can use a different browser such as Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Images have a white background behind them

When using an image on a clean white document, we often don't notice the white background.  But all TIFF, JPEG and GIF files have white (or color) backgrounds to them.

Try using a WMF (or EPS) file instead. The file format has transparent backgrounds and works great when placed on a color background or in PowerPoint slide presentations. 

Some programs, such as MS Word, include tools to remove backgrounds from images. Search your program's Help menu for  "remove backgrounds," "transparent picture" or something similar. You can remove a background in Photoshop by using its masking tools. 

Images have a black vertical line on them

This problem may occur if you use My Computer or Windows Explorer to locate an image, double-click to open it, and then copy and paste it into your page layout program.
Please use the following method to insert images into your desktop publishing program: 

  1. Launch either Word or Publisher.
  2. Click Insert from the menu and then select Picture > From File.
  3. Navigate to the folder on your CD or hard drive where the desired image is stored.
  4. Select your image.
  5. Click the Insert button.

Using this method to insert an image will eliminate the vertical line when viewing onscreen and when printing the page. 

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