tech tips for writers / writing

Tech Tips for Writers #82: How do I convert my picture?

Tech Tips for Writers is an occasional post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future Tip.

Q: My picture file is a .bmp (or a .tif, .pcx, .png, .gif, or any other image file) and I need a .jpg. What do I do?

A: Lots of interactive online sites limit the file types they accept based on size, security, quality, or another reason particular to their needs. If you sell books through Amazon Advantage or Google Play (or Teachers Pay Teachers), you are required to upload a specific image file type or the site kicks it back.

If you have an image you want to use, but it’s in the wrong format, you could use an online free converter. My problem with those is I don’t trust their security.  Too often in my experience, they download some nefarious widget as they’re processing the request that I never would allow on my computer if it weren’t being done invisibly. When I finish my conversion, I discover new stuff on my computer like 1) a search engine toolbar that’s full of advertising, 2) a default search engine that’s much inferior to the one I use, and/or 3) a new homepage because the webtool hijacked mine and replaced it with their ad-intensive choice. These people have gotten a lot smarter than me the last decade and sometimes the only way I can rid myself of their widgets is with a reformat.

Which costs money.

Instead of trusting an online site I don’t know, here’s what I do:

  • Open it in MS Paint and save it in one of the five formats offered. This program is free with Windows 
  • Open it with Photoshop and save in one of the twenty-one formats it offers. This program is fee-based, but I use it for marketing materials, ebook covers, or tweaking photos. If you require a particular format, likely Photoshop includes it. 
  • Add it to an MS Word doc, then right click on the image and ‘save-as’ in one of the five formats offered. 

I use Google Docs a lot as a teacher, but I don’t see that it offers an image conversion feature like Word does. That’s one more reason to keep Word as my primary word processing tool.

Do you have any solutions I didn’t think of?

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

30 thoughts on “Tech Tips for Writers #82: How do I convert my picture?

  1. While I use Lightroom 5 and Perfect Photo Suite 9.5, I just sometimes use my old standby, Picasa. What do you think of using Picasa? I found the Gimp UI difficult to use because of my experience in non-Photoshop experiences…


    • I’ve never used Picasa, but wish I would. It’s free with standard photo editing tools. It’s perfect for my students. It took me a long time to get used to Photoshop, but got there and then taught it to my students which embedded it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Tech Tips for Writers #85: Browser Problem? Switch Browsers | WordDreams...

  3. Pingback: Tech Tips for Writers #83: How Do I Use a ‘Read Only’ Doc? | WordDreams...

    • Last week I needed to post 8 photos, and I needed them to be together with text in the middle. Here’s what I finally did: I created a word document. I use tables because it’s the only way I know to place all the pictures around the text. Then I turn that into a PDF. Then I open the PDF, make sure everything I want to show is showing on the screen. The PDF doesn’t show grid lines on the table. I then take a screen shot. I edit the screen shot to remove all extraneous stuff and I post what I end up with. A lot of work, but it did work.


      • That’s a great solution. There are sites like Canva ( that give you a template with those table squares, you drag your photos into the squares, you add nifty text, and then Canva saves it as a .jpg or a .pdf. You might try that next time. I love it for all its creative templates. It’s become my go-to for photo arrangements. Pic-Collage is good, too.


  4. There’s also a free PhotoShop-like program called GIMP which can convert images and do various other things more effectively than MS Paint. It’s not quite as easy to use as the old version of PhotoShop I have (*really* old, maybe as old as ten years) but it’s got a lot of the same capabilities, and can convert to a large number of file formats. (Though you have to hit “export” rather than “save,” which is a bit annoying.) It’s on my Internet computer — as opposed to my Internet-free writing-only computer — so I use it all the time to crop the photos for my secondary blog about my doll collecting. (And for the rare photos on my main blog…)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have never attempted to do what you describe with images, though I happily do it with audio files. I don’t like the sound of these free online conversion tools at all. Thanks for the warning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • After getting several viruses that caused havoc to my technology, I’m quite paranoid of downloading. I won’t even open attachments from friends without prior knowledge that it is being sent. What as world.


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