I’m working on a website and need to use images – both screenshots and photos – of specific sizes. I’m on a budget, so I can’t afford a program such as Adobe Photoshop to scale and crop images. Can you recommend a cheap or free way to do this?
Curtis Wagner

You could try to create images of the correct size when you capture them, or you could crop and/or scale your images after you’ve captured them. For screen captures, press Command-Shift-4. A target cursor appears. Click and drag over the area you want to capture. You’ll see a readout of the horizontal and vertical pixel area you’re capturing. Let go of the mouse button, and the capture is triggered. This isn’t helpful if the object you want to capture is larger than the size you desire. In such cases, crop and/or scale your image.

You can do this for free with Apple’s Preview application. Open your image in Preview and choose Tools > Adjust Size. In the resulting sheet, you can select a specific width and height in pixels, per cent, inches, centimetres, millimetres, or points. By default, images will scale proportionally so that they appear in the same aspect ratio as the original did, but you can switch this option off if you’re not concerned about the images becoming distorted (when you want to lop off just a couple of pixels, for example).

If the original isn’t close to the aspect ratio you need, you should crop it first. With the Rectangular Selection tool chosen from the Select menu at the top of the image’s window, drag over the area you want to select. You’ll see a pixel selection readout similar to the one for the Command-Shift-4 screen-capture tool. When you’ve made your selection, choose Tools > Crop (Command-K).

While Apple’s Preview (bundled with the Mac OS) is no substitute for a powerhouse graphics application such as Photoshop, it does allow you to scale and crop images easily