Make Your Own Wallpaper

Would you like to have one of your pictures as a desktop background? It’s easier than you think!

1. Figure out your screen resolution. Before you begin, you’ll need to figure out what size the final image needs to be. Fortunately, this is really easy. Just right-click a blank area on your desktop and select Properties from the resulting menu. Then, click the Settings tab on the resulting screen. Look at the Screen resolution area and write down the current setting.


2. OK, now you know the size you need, the next step is to pick a photo. So, head to your archives and open the photo you want to use in your favorite imaging program. I’ll wait here.

3. Have the photo opened? Cool. Now, adjust anything that needs adjusted (color, saturation, etc). Now, you’ll need to resize the image to match your monitor resolution. This setting varies by program, but it’s usually found under the Edit or Image menu in most programs.

Most programs will have an option to “constrain proportions”. This keeps the image proportional as you change sizes. Make sure this option is checked or the image may look distorted. For more on how this works, check out:

Now, here’s the trick. You may find that when you resize the image with the proportions constrained, the numbers don’t work out to match your screen resolution. If the numbers are close (say within 10 pixels), don’t worry about it. Any distortion will be minimal. However, if you find the numbers are off by quite a bit, you’ll need to either crop the image or put it onto a black background that is proportional to your screen resolution.

For the details on how to do this, check out our Constrain Proportions article (linked above). It will explain in detail how you can turn an image that’s not proportional into one that is.

4. Once your have your image resized, cropped, and generally ready to go, save it as a JPEG. I’d put it in the “My Pictures” folder for easy reference, but the choice is yours.

5. Last step! Right-click your desktop, select Properties from the resulting menu, then go the Desktop tab. Click the Browse button and navigate to the image you just saved. Select it, hit OK and you should now have your photo set as your desktop wallpaper!

Happy wallpapering.

~ Steve

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