How to Resize Images in Lightroom 2

How to Resize Images in Lightroom 2


One of the hardest things for a new Lightroom user to work out how to perform is a simple image resizing. Look as hard as you like and there simply isn’t a resize menu command.

There is, of course, a way to resize images and it is done as you Export them from Lightroom which makes sense when you know how Lightroom works but if you’re a new user it’s just plain confusing.

So, here’s how to batch resize in Lightroom:

Step 1

Select the Library module and select the images to export. Choose File > Export.


Step 2

The Export dialog gives you a series of choices for the exported images. Start by selecting where the exported images should be stored. Choose either a specific folder or the same folder that the originals are stored in.

To place the images in a subfolder of your chosen folder, select Put in Subfolder and type the name of a new subfolder to create. If you want the exported images to be available in Lightroom, select the Add to This Catalog checkbox. From the Existing Files dropdown list, choose what to do if files of the same name appear already in the selected folder.


Step 3

From the File Naming options select what you want your files to be named.

For example, selecting Filename will give the files the same name as the original images. Custom name – Sequence lets you give the files a custom name and Lightroom will add a sequential number to each file. Type the Custom Name in the Custom Text box.

You can also select Edit from the dropdown list and create your own file naming template.


Step 4

In the File Settings area, select the export format such as JPEG for the web and the Quality – the higher the quality, the larger the file size.

In the Color Space area choose sRGB for the web.


Step 5

In the Image Sizing area set the file size and resolution. So you can, for example set the Resolution to 72 pixels per inch for the Web or 300 ppi for printing.

To size the images, enable the Resize to Fit checkbox. By selecting Dimensions you can set the final dimensions for each image such as 800 x 1200 and the images will be sized as close to this as they can be given their current aspect ratio. They won’t be larger than this and one measurement at least will be 800 or 1200. Lightroom does this regardless of whether the images are in Portrait or Landscape orientation so portrait and landscape images will end up the same sizes.

If you select Width & Height you can set the longest dimensions of each image in each direction. All images will be sized so their Width is no larger than the value you set and their Height is no larger than the value you set – the same width and height values are applied to portrait and landscape images so a Width of 400 and Height of 600 will give a larger portrait image than it will a landscape one because the landscape image can’t be wider than 400, forcing its height to much less than this.


The Long Edge and Short Edge options let you set the maximum length of the long or short edge of a photo – so Portrait and Landscape images are treated alike here.

If you enable the Don’t Enlarge checkbox you could have images much smaller than your selected dimensions if the originals are already under the selected size.

Step 6

You can apply sharpening by selecting the Sharpen For checkbox from the Output Sharpening options and select to sharpen for Screen, for example, and set a Low, Standard or High Value of sharpening.

In the Metadata area, select to add metadata if desired and from the Post-Processing options select what to do with the images afterwards, for example you could open the images direct in Photoshop or in an alternate editor or another application or show them in Windows Explorer.

When you’re done with the selections, click Export and the selected images will be exported.


Step 7

If you’ll use these settings again, save them to use next time by clicking the Add button at the foot of the Preset list, type a name for the preset, select the folder to add the preset to or just leave it set to User Presets and click Create.


In future, you can return to the Export dialog and select these options by clicking the Preset name. You can still make changes to the settings, if desired, and export a new set of images.

Read more from our Post Production category

Helen Bradley is a Lifestyle journalist who divides her time between the real and digital worlds, picking the best from both. She writes and produces video instruction for Photoshop and digital photography for magazines and online providers world wide. She has also written four books on photo crafts and blogs at

Some Older Comments

  • Rochelle December 23, 2011 02:05 pm

    Where do you find THE ANSWERs to everyone's questions here?

  • Nathan November 19, 2011 09:00 am

    Not as helpful as it could be. Doesn't really explain how to increase or decrease the file size. This is doable, but hard to find a good tutorial online.

  • Znarfski November 4, 2011 03:57 pm

    I appreciate the article, and have found success with these concepts. My question is what effect does selecting or deselecting the "don't enlarge" checkbox? Does the program interpolate and add more pixels to the image if it is enlarged beyond the original? I am trying to enlarge my image to 16x20 inches or greater. Which selection will give me the best enlargement with the best clarity and least amount of grain?
    Thank You.

  • Ian October 25, 2011 08:03 am

    Does anybody know how to change the over all document size in Lightroom? Say you have a div which is 800px x 800px and you wanted to drop the whole gallery into that div size.

  • vladimir August 24, 2011 01:26 pm

    Thank you for the info. My question regards more the forced resizing of an image. I tried the different settings, dimension, HxW, pixels etc but the export only allows the image to retain its original proportion. What if for example i want to change the dimensions to fit a perfect square if it causes some distortion in the final product? Basicaly i want to convert a rectanguular image and fit it in a perfect square dimension... lets say a 4x6 to convert into a clean 5x5 or 4x4 or 6x6 or 3x3?

  • Marc Semanoff June 8, 2011 08:21 am

    I use Lightroom 3.x and have a need to resize my images in order to display on my IPad. Having been unsuccessful at resizing using lightrom, I contacted adobe support. They said the capability does not exist in LR. Gues what they were wrong. Thanks for the tutorial.

  • Thomas Lyons Pratt February 5, 2011 11:07 am

    Thank you! You're right, I did "Look as hard as you like," without success. Now I know.
    Thanks again

  • jean-claude January 13, 2011 09:17 am

    Thank you for this effective tutorial; my issue was to convert a 10 years old web site pictures set of angling competitions into a modern Flash + XML photo album. Pictures were coming from different cameras with different size and quality, in addition the resolution had to be adapted to what the modem speed at that time was able to support. Now my flash album requires a fixed format and a set of thumb miniatures. Altogether, 2 times 800 conversions. I like this kind of task based tutorial because this is taking into account the user point of view which is more “is it the best tool for my objective” rather than “how to perform this task with the software I have purchased”. You read 4 pages with clear instruction, perform a test on a sample with several corner cases, and that’s it!
    In addition you can keep the native files and the tutorial for further conversions (adding new stuff, adapting the site to smart phones and tablets etc..).

  • Mark h January 6, 2011 01:45 pm

    In the past, downsizing images in Photoshop, I used to do this in stages. Just so that less pixels were dropped each time. I understood this produced better results than doing it all in one go. Is this possible in Lightroom, other than having to read in the previously exported jpeg each time? Is it even necessary....have I been acting on an 'old wive's tale' doing this in the past? ( No disrespect intended to elderly married ladies. )

  • Bill December 6, 2010 04:03 pm

    I still don't understand when I have to get my picture down to under 24 MB. What size L & W do I pick. Lightroom 3 has made it to hard to do this, you should be able to just put in 24 MB and it makes them under that size. I save in TIFF format, sRGB Color Space, no Compression, 16 Bits/component, and resize to fit-Megapixels set to 4.0-4.5 megapixels and most of the pictures come out below 24 MB is the only way I have found that works for me. Then again I don't know how much quality I have lost in the pictures, as they seem to look fine. It would be nice to know how to keep them at the 24 MB mark, but nowhere in Lightroom 3 does it tell you how to do it. I would like to keep the file as big as possible. How do you do that???

    Thanks Bill

  • Bob Evans June 7, 2010 08:03 am

    Thanks for explaining the re-sizing process in Lightroom. It seems a lot more work than in Photoshop. I am just playing with Lightroom 2.7 at the moment. I haven't decided yet, not entirely convinced and re-sizing is a factor. But I do have another 28 days. Bob

  • Zeinab May 24, 2010 04:28 am

    I've found the original ones, Thank you! but some of the pictures were not re-sized from lightroom, so I've already re-sized them and saved them using another program and then I opened them in L2, does that mean I could not enlarge them instead of compressing them , in L2?

  • Helen Bradley May 23, 2010 05:22 am

    If you exported your images from Lightroom you haven't actually changed the size of the original images that you have stored on your disk.

    Return to Lightroom and export the files again, this time don't select the resize option. Burn these newly exported image to a DVD and all should be good.


  • Zeinab May 23, 2010 05:02 am

    Hi Helen again, I really would like to know how could I restore the original size?? well here is wht happened, i need to put nearly 500 pics. on a CD so they could be printed with good quality, so I was after i knew how to make the sizes less so that coul fit on one CD, someone told me to put them with their same size on a DVD!!!! so I was not sure if i would be able tp print them from a DVD, but I was told that they can!!! so what do I do to get my photos back to their original size?
    PLEASE HELP! I'M REALLY STUCK here coz there is a deadline!

  • Linda May 21, 2010 06:20 am


    I actually have a similar question to Beth. If I were to send my images to a friend to print how do I make sure that whatever size she wants to print them at (4 x 6 to 8 x 12) is okay?

    I'm new to this and sorry if this is a basic question?


  • Helen Bradley May 10, 2010 11:17 am

    @steve and @zeinab This 'limit exported file to a max file size' option is not a feature of Lightroom 2 but it is in the new Lightroom 3 Beta 2 release. There, when you export, you can specify the physical size of the file in pixels wide or high and also limit the file size to a maximum value of your choice. So that means you can export large batches of images from LR3 and ensure that none of them exceeds your specified maximum file size.


  • Zeinab May 10, 2010 04:26 am

    Hi there, I just got Lightroom 2.6.1, and i nearly spent all day trying to figure out where and how to resize my images!! then i found your article which was great, because i guess you are the only one dealing with this topic, but I've also realized that you did not reply or is it thru mail? My problem is like Steve, up in thecomments, i need to batch more than 500 images...and i need them in kb because i'll put them on CD, but what you are saying does not include that and do I have to do it one by one?! I left CS2 beacuse it was very time consuming and i am out of time!! Please help, Thank you.

  • Jon Peters April 28, 2010 03:10 am

    Thank You so much Helen,

    I was going stir crazy trying to size my shots for my web page. Then I found you!!! Really pretty straight forward, but if you don't know, you could spends hours or even days looking for the answer. And thank you Google too.

  • Jack April 19, 2010 01:22 pm

    Thank you so much for this article! Very informative and clears soooo much up ahaha.

  • Beth April 18, 2010 11:04 am

    I have a question (maybe I missed the answer) but what do you do if you are giving someone a file and want them to be able to print 5x7's or smaller but not an 8x10, 11x14, etc. Is there a way to do this? For example if I did 500x700 and the person tried to make larger prints would the resulting prints not look good? Or would they still be good enough to print large.

  • Paul April 18, 2010 04:19 am

    I have LR, the images I export for printing are set at 300dpi as a TIFF file, but when I set the print size to 8x10 it has no effect on the image that has been exported. What is going on?!

  • Allan Harris March 15, 2010 03:08 am

    Lightroom is a very good database program with excellent image manipulation built into it but it isn't really a photo-editing program like Photoshop and should not be expected to perform as Photoshop. Most of my primary image manipulation is done in Lightroom but I do occasionally take images across to Photoshop for Lens Correction etc. If I am going to make a print and not just send images to Flickr then I use Photoshop. I always print in Lightroom though, I find the results easier to get as I like them. I export to Flickr using Jeffery Friedl's freeware plugin and usually set the long edge to 2000 pixels, so the images are reasonable quality but not really as good as the original files. Lightroom is the program I use the most on my computer with my photo files, it really is brilliant.

  • Dick Ensing March 15, 2010 01:16 am

    I am testing Light rm 3 and it is absolutely ridiculas that you can not change your image size like you can in Photoshop cs2 etc..there should be a menu like photoshp where you can change image size and canvus size
    They made this program with some great features but neglected this feature..I am an artist and I understand that this was made for photographers but there ar also nthousands of artist that could benifit from this program if they would consider the market.

  • Dave January 12, 2010 10:26 am

    I have several thousand images. They vary in size and some are tall and others wide.

    I need to have all images square. Not wanting to lose resolution or have smaller images expanded and look bad.

    How can I make all of my images square? Which if any of your programs would do that in a batch process?

    An image 200 x 400 end up 400 x 400
    an image 800 x 600 end up 800 x 800

    and so on. Or if anything make them all 600 x 600 wand resize down large images or give white space around smaller images.


  • Julea October 30, 2009 05:32 am

    Thanks a million! That helped me tons!

  • Elizabeth September 16, 2009 07:45 am

    I have a question. Is there a good rule of thumb or formula to put into the Image sizing box in Lightroom. Is there one size (height and width for pixels) that would work in general for most sizes? By accident I deleted the sizes I had in there before and don't know what to put in.

    Secondly, if I give a file to someone to print 4x6's and 5x7's but nothing larger what would I make for the sizing and would I reset the resolution so that the it would make a clear smaller print but not an acceptable large print?

  • Daemonius July 12, 2009 11:08 am

    Lightroom has worse resizing than Photoshop.. Images kinda lack sharpness after reducing them with LR. Not sure about increasing size.

  • Allan Harris July 4, 2009 01:16 am

    I use the J Friedl plugin with Lightroom for uploading to Flickr. Having read this article I might reduce the size of the images I download as the masters on the Flickr site are pretty big, (Canon 5D mark II) and Flickr reduces the size of the shot for general browsing but maintains the size of the original for downloading. The largest image I downloaded was a JPEG of a panorama I took in Switzwerland. (21879 x 3637 pixels)

    As you can see you could theoretically download this and spread it right across a wall! It might have taken less time if I had reduced the size of the file I sent to Flickr.

  • werner July 3, 2009 05:33 pm

    Easier to use Photoshop.

  • Wayan Suadnyana July 3, 2009 01:48 am

    Great Article, i never new it lightroom capable to resize an image, i'm always use photoshop to resize an image.

    Thank you for your post

  • steve July 2, 2009 06:18 am

    Is there anyway to export a batch of images and limit them to a max mb file size? For example I work for xyz company that requires me to deliver the event images at no larger then 5MB. So when I import the images I look thru them and perform various adjustments to particular images and determine which images I want to send to corporate. However when I export now the images all come out at different sizes depending on what adjustments I have performed. So I get images that are 4mb in size and some that are 8mbs and anywhere in between. So Im stuck going through and re-exporting sometimes 20-100 images and adjusting the quality of the jpeg/srgb to get those few files under 5mb...major pain in the ass when your handling 500+ images to have to go thru and find the over sized files..Id appreciate any help you could offer on this topic.

  • Vilmis July 1, 2009 02:26 pm

    @Alfie and others who are using Lightroom and posting pictures on web sites like flickr, picasa, facebook check plugins at, as you'll be able to publish your pictures on web directly from LR.

  • Helen Bradley July 1, 2009 01:03 am

    Thanks Animator for your kind words. I certainly plan to write lots more Lightroom posts. I really think it is such a powerful tool for Photographers and such a huge time saver that it deserves some comprehensive coverage.

    To answer Dave P. A good (rough) rule of thumb is to multiply the dimensions of your paper (in inches) by the dpi you want to print at to get the ideal printing dimensions. So, to simplify, if you will print at 250 dpi and you want to print on 13 x 19 in paper you (ideally) need to have a (13 x 250) x (19 x 250) pixel image which is around:3000 x 4750. This is a different ratio than your images are coming out of the camera at. Your best bet is to crop to 13 x 19 aspect ratio in your software, eg Lightroom then export the image at the cropped size - if you crop yourself you get to choose what you lose off the shorter dimension of the page - you will lose something in printing if you want to print full bleed (borderless) - so either you make the call or your software/printer makes it for you. Let us know if you have more questions, I track comments so I can help if you tell me what you need.

  • Animator June 30, 2009 10:58 pm

    Thanks again for yet another useful tutorial. You can produce all the tutorials you like on lightroom :-))

  • Alfie Punnoose June 30, 2009 11:31 am

    Excellent, so far I was using photoshop to resize the photos i wanted to upload to the web. I was using the photoshop predefined actions to do this. This post have given me new life. I will use lightroom from now on. Thanks.

  • Dave P June 30, 2009 09:45 am

    Is there a conversion from pixals to size of paper we want the image to print on? For example, I shoot RAW and high quality, so my pix counts are 4000 x 3000 or whatever... (Nikon D90; 12.1 mp)... and I want to have an image print on my 13 x 19 paper in my new Epson R-1900 printer... do I just have to play with the pixal count in order to come up with that image being able to print border to border on that size paper? Sorry...but I am new to this a new found hobby in my later years in life. Thanks for the help.

  • palaniscl June 30, 2009 05:13 am

    Thanks, U allways have great tutorials!, thanks.


  • Raymond June 30, 2009 02:02 am

    Thanks for the tutorial, although I really think this is a guide that should be titled "How to export images in LR2" instead.