Scaling Images with GIMP

'Scaling' an image means you change the height and width of the image. When you scale an image you can change either the height or the width or both.

You might want to scale an image in GIMP for a variety of reasons:

  • Because you want to use an image in a different format. This might be an image you've originally used in Print format being re-used on the web
  • Because you need an image to fit into an exact space you have available such as in a newsletter or on a website

First you will need to have an image open in GIMP.



Then click on 'Image' and slide down to 'Scale Image':


Now you will see a pop up that looks something like this:


This window allows you to change the height and width by changing the numbers in the Width and Height boxes.

There are a few things that you need to know. The first is the role of the 'chain' icon you see to the right of the Width and Height boxes:


This 'chain link' or 'link' symbol means that the Width and Height are 'linked' and will be changed together proportionately. So if you change the numbers in one of these boxes the number in the other will change automatically. This means that if you scale the image by changing the height (for example) GIMP automatically changes the width so that the image retains the same proportions as the original.

If you click on the 'link' symbol the link becomes broken:


This means that the automatic changing of height and width is turned off. Now if you change the height (for example) the width does not change. Hence if you do this the image will get 'skewed' or stretched.

So, lets try changing the Height of the image so that the Width remains in proportion. First, ensure the 'link' icon is not broken:


In this example we will change the height to '1200'. So we type '1200' into the 'Height' box:


Now you might notice the width doesn't change. You will need to click somewhere outside of the Height box or press 'return' to make the Width change automatically:

Now you need to click 'Scale' and your image will be resized and everything will be kept in proportion:


Now lets change the width to make the image longer, but keep the height the same as it is now. So, we open the 'Scale' window again and this time we make sure the 'chain link' symbol displays as broken (click on it):


Now we will change the width to '5000' :


Now press 'Scale' :


You can see the image now looks a little stretched.