Power Tools for Technical Communication:
Sizing Graphics (Print Documents)


In this lab, you experiment with enlarging or reducing images using any of the techniques discussed in Chapter 11 of Power Tools for Technical Communication:
  1. Follow the directions below for sizing.
  2. Paste the sized image into a document you create in your preferred word-processing software.
  3. Put your name, Sizing Graphics: Print, and the date on this document, and print it out for your instructor.


  1. Size the following image from its current 4-inch × 8-inch dimensions to 2-inch × 4-inch dimensions, and see what happens:

  2. Size the preceding image from its current 4-inch × 8-inch dimensions to 8-inch × 16-inch dimensions, and see what happens:

    You probably noticed that the graphic blurs, particularly when you enlarge it. You cannot enlarge bit-mapped graphics, which are likely to be the type you most often work with. They lack the graphic data to fill in. You can freely enlarge or reduce vector graphics, but then again you need a vector graphic and the software it was created in to size it. For example, vector graphics are created in software like Adobe Illustrator and Novell CorelDRAW.

    In a technical-writing course, you're not likely to create illustrations from scratch in these applications. Instead, you use bit-mapped graphics (which have file-name extensions such as .bmp, .tif, .gif, and .jpg) and work within their limitations.

  3. To minimize these problems involved in sizing graphics, here are some suggestions:

    1. Start with the graphic as large as you can display it.

    2. Save it in a high-detailed format such as .bmp, .tif, or .jpg.

    3. Now, if it's not there already, open that big graphic file in your preferred image-editing software.

    4. Size it down to dimensions that are right for your document. (Turn on the rulers in your image-editing software so that you can size it correctly.) You'll notice that the image does not distort as badly.

    5. Save the image in whichever file format you prefer.


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