- This Week's Free Computer Tip -
141 - How To Make Your Favorite Photo Your Wallpaper Picture
They are known as "wallpaper", "background", or just desktop photos, but they are all the same thing. I used to think that everyone knew how to make a personal photos into wallpaper on their computer screens. That's probably because I had spent my professional time surrounded by computer programmers. Since starting Computer Skills Group, I realize that many people don't know how to take advantage of this simple pleasure. Let's take care of that today. If you already know how to set a picture as wallpaper, you still might want to read the note about display modes.
The photos are often sent to us by friends or relatives. These days, lots of people have digital cameras and can directly load these images and send them to us. For this tip, I'm going to assume you already have the photo available on your computer. If your favorite photo is not in digital form just yet, give me a call and we'll see about getting it on to your computer.
Here's how to make the photo into "wallpaper" -
- Double-click on My Computer on your desktop and locate your favorite picture.
- RIGHT-click on the picture's file name and select Open With, Internet Explorer
(or Netscape, if you use that browser). The picture will display.
(If you don't see a choice for "Open With", just double click on the file name to open it. It probably opens with Internet Explorer by default anyway.
If all else fails, open your browser and tell it to open the photo file.
No matter how you get there, it will work.)
- Place the cursor directly on the picture and RIGHT-click.
- Select "Set As Background".
- Exit from any open windows and you should see the picture on your screen.
A quick note about display modes -
Windows has three modes for displaying wallpaper pictures. They are called "Center", "Tile" and "Stretch". The default seems to be Stretch. Here's what they do.
- Center mode displays a picture in the exact size it was sent to you. Pictures come in all sizes. Some fill the screen. Some are much smaller than the screen. Some are WAY too large, exceeding the screen size by a lot. Using this mode, a photo will be centered in the screen. If it's too large, it simply cuts off the borders of the image.
- Tile mode isn't really designed for pictures. If you take a very small image such as a pattern (the most common use for this mode), tile will repeat the image as many times as it needs to fill the screen. The result is a full screen with that pattern. Again, this is not intended for use with photographs.
- Stretch mode is the tricky one and it is usually the default mode if you do nothing. It is also a misleading name, which I will explain. It doesn't just "stretch". What it does is to take a photo and make it fit the full size of the screen. If the photo is not wide enough to fill the screen width, it stretches it until it does. If it isn't tall enough to fill the screen, it stretches it to fill the screen vertically. Here's the tricky part. If it's too tall, it squishes the image down to fit the screen height. The same with a too wide image. It squishes it together to be the width of the screen. All of this distorts the image. Sometimes the distortion is a little, sometime a lot. If the original photo almost fills the screen and is the same general shape as a computer screen, then Stretch mode can be just fine. If you take a photo which is 6" tall and 4" wide however, as in a typical portrait photograph, stretch mode will produce a very distorted result.
So, here's the tip -
I generally use Center mode as my first choice. I may try the Stretch mode, just to see if I like it, but Center is often the better way to go. Baby pictures are the perfect example. The baby is chubby enough without squishing him down even more!
. . . and here's how to change the display mode -
This one is very quick and easy.
- RIGHT-click on any open part of your desktop and select Properties.
- Select the Desktop tab.
- Near the lower right of the window, find the Position box.
- Click on the down arrow to see the three choices.
- Pick one, click Apply, then OK to exit.
You see a preview of what the result will be, but I like to exit and look at the actual result, before deciding which one I want to use. You can see how easy it is to just go back in and do it again if you don't like the result.
That's it. Your neighbors might have known how to make pictures into wallpaper, but they've probably been wondering why their pictures have been looking a little funny! You can tell them about "Stretch". Enjoy.
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This Week's Free Computer Tip
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