How To Enlarge a Digital Picture

Dear Computer Lady,

I see a lot of pictures I would like to use as a background picture on my computer.

When I do a ‘right-click’ and then a ‘left’ on ‘Set as background’ – – Sometimes the picture is only (approx) 2 inches square.

When I open properties and click stretch – – the picture is then distorted and blurry.

How can I enlarge a picture to fill my computer desktop?


Dear Kleo2x,

The short answer to your question is that you can’t enlarge a tiny digital image to fill your desktop and end up with a sharp, clear picture.

Let me explain why.

I’m guessing that you are finding these images on the internet. The person who was creating the website with these photos or pictures, has to consider the size of the digital photo when designing the web site.

If the file size of the digital photo is too large, it will cause the website to load slowly. If it is too small, the pictures won’t look good on the web page.

Most web designers, will use their photo editing program to reduce the file size just enough so that the image still looks good on the web page, while not slowing it down too much.

Your digital photo is made up of many dots of color. The more dots per inch (DPI) there are, the sharper and more detailed your picture will be. When you reduce the file size, you remove some of those dots. While the photo will still look good as a small picture on a web page, if you try to enlarge it, you are just taking the remaining dots and making them bigger. You can’t put back what is no longer part of the file.

You should also keep in mind that not every picture you find online is yours for the taking.

A good place to find some beautiful, free wallpaper is American Greetings at:

Do you have a favorite site for downloading desktop wallpaper?


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    • whitekat1964
    • November 11, 2012

    Hi Elizabeth – hope you are feeling 100% soon! 🙂

    I LOVE this website for free wallpapers:

    I use three monitors at work, all different sizes and one is very wide but turned sideways so it is tall. I put in the size of the monitor and what I want (I usually change them seasonally), and search away.

    • bluelady65
    • November 12, 2012

    I have found to be an excellent source of wallpaper. The site offers wildlife and scenic wallpaper. Of course, the primary reason for the site is to sell the beautiful (and award-winning) photographs, but they still offer three or four pictures each month for wallpaper which is free. I like the fact that they provide a small monthly calendar at the bottom as on option if you want it. (Steve also offers tutorials on photography.)

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