How To Crop Images and Make Your Own Meme For Free

Updated on March 16, 2014
You don't have to buy any extra software, apps or programs to edit or crop photos on your computer.
You don't have to buy any extra software, apps or programs to edit or crop photos on your computer. | Source

While there are many great programs available for cropping an image or adding a text overlay to an image, in most circumstances, everything that you need is already on your computer.

If you are using Microsoft Windows and have Paint on your computer, that is all you need for basic photo editing.

The ability to edit photos comes in very handy when you are writing online, creating projects or reports for school or work or cropping pictures to post on social media sites.

You can also easily create your own memes using Paint.

Here is a step by step guide for editing photos and images. It includes illustrations and directions.

You will learn how to use Paint to:

  • Crop an Image or Photo
  • Add Text to an Image or Photo
  • Make Your Own Meme

You should already have everything you need. Let's get started!

Step 1: Find a Photo That You Want To Alter

First you need to save a photo or image to your computer to work with. This can be a photo that you took yourself or one that you legally acquired.

Remember that not all photos on the internet are legal to use. You must either purchase rights from the owner or find photos with Creative Commons licenses or ones that are in the Public Domain.

Step 2: Open Paint and Upload Your Photo

After you have found the photo that you want to use, open Paint from your programs on your computer.

Once Paint is open you will need to open the image you want to work with.

To do this complete the following steps.

  1. Choose File/Open
  2. Find the picture in your saved Files and click on it.
  3. The full picture will open in Paint.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Open Paint on your computer.Choose Open to find the image and open it in Paint so that you can work with it.Open up your saved image.You should now see your image in Paint.  (Image is Public Domain image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons---http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DeScott_Evans_The_Connoisseur.jpg
Open Paint on your computer.
Open Paint on your computer. | Source
Choose Open to find the image and open it in Paint so that you can work with it.
Choose Open to find the image and open it in Paint so that you can work with it. | Source
Open up your saved image.
Open up your saved image. | Source
You should now see your image in Paint.  (Image is Public Domain image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons---http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DeScott_Evans_The_Connoisseur.jpg
You should now see your image in Paint. (Image is Public Domain image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons---http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DeScott_Evans_The_Connoisseur.jpg | Source

Step 3: Crop Your Image

One of the tasks you can perform in Paint is simple cropping of your image or photo. You can use the cropping feature in order to focus on one part of the photo, to cut out unwanted parts or to clean it up.

To crop an image in Paint follow these steps:

  1. Choose Select/ Rectagular Selection
  2. Drag your Mouse around the part you want to keep, forming a dotted line box.
  3. Choose Crop from the menu
  4. You now have a cropped version of the original image.
  5. Choose File/Save As/JPEG and save the image somewhere on your computer where you can find it.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Choose Select/ Rectangular Selection for a clean cropDrag your mouse over the area that you want to crop.  You should see a dotted line box form.  Then choose Crop from the menu.You should now see your cropped image in Paint.You will most likely want to save the image as a JPEG for the best quality and for the ability for others to open it easily.
Choose Select/ Rectangular Selection for a clean crop
Choose Select/ Rectangular Selection for a clean crop | Source
Drag your mouse over the area that you want to crop.  You should see a dotted line box form.  Then choose Crop from the menu.
Drag your mouse over the area that you want to crop. You should see a dotted line box form. Then choose Crop from the menu. | Source
You should now see your cropped image in Paint.
You should now see your cropped image in Paint. | Source
You will most likely want to save the image as a JPEG for the best quality and for the ability for others to open it easily.
You will most likely want to save the image as a JPEG for the best quality and for the ability for others to open it easily. | Source

Why Crop An Image?

Cropping an image helps you to focus the audience on one particular part of an image and can even change the story being told by the picture.

Think about what you want to focus on. If you are using the image in online writing, consider which piece of the image will help you to get your point across.

Here are examples of an image cropped in different ways.

What do you focus on when you view this photo from different perspectives?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Here is the original photo without any cropping.Notice how your perspective and focus change with each crop.Notice how your perspective and focus change with each crop.Notice how your perspective and focus change with each crop.Notice how your perspective and focus change with each crop.
Here is the original photo without any cropping.
Here is the original photo without any cropping. | Source
Notice how your perspective and focus change with each crop.
Notice how your perspective and focus change with each crop. | Source
Notice how your perspective and focus change with each crop.
Notice how your perspective and focus change with each crop. | Source
Notice how your perspective and focus change with each crop.
Notice how your perspective and focus change with each crop. | Source
Notice how your perspective and focus change with each crop.
Notice how your perspective and focus change with each crop. | Source

Step 4: Add Words or a Text Overlay On Your Image

Sometimes you may want to add words to the image or photo. You can do this if you are making an image for a social media site like Pinterest, which depends on images to understand the context of the post.

You may also just want to add words to help with meaning.

This is really easy to do in Paint.

  1. Open the image that you want to add words to in Paint
  2. Choose the Letter A from the menu at the top.
  3. Place your mouse where you would like to start typing and click and drag to draw a box.
  4. Type your words (don't make it too long)
  5. Highlight it to change the font or color
  6. Make sure it is readable
  7. Save your new image with a file name that is different from the original one.

Note: If you mess up or if the text becomes unhighlighted, simply choose the back arrow at the top to undo and restart with your original image.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Original image without words.Choose the Letter "A" in Paint to create a text box.Place your mouse where you want to create a text box.  Press the left mouse button and create the box.  You'll see a dotted line box form with a cursor in the middle.Type the text that you want in the box.  Notice that you can change the font, size and color via the menu options.  Highlight the typed text first and then make the changes.Here's an example of a changed font and color.  Notice the point circled on the text box.  You can click and drag that to change the size of the text box itself.  Notice that this box needs to be made a bit bigger so that whole word is on one line.If you make a mistake or the text box becomes unclickable, just use the back arrow to erase what you've done and start over.
Original image without words.
Original image without words. | Source
Choose the Letter "A" in Paint to create a text box.
Choose the Letter "A" in Paint to create a text box. | Source
Place your mouse where you want to create a text box.  Press the left mouse button and create the box.  You'll see a dotted line box form with a cursor in the middle.
Place your mouse where you want to create a text box. Press the left mouse button and create the box. You'll see a dotted line box form with a cursor in the middle. | Source
Type the text that you want in the box.  Notice that you can change the font, size and color via the menu options.  Highlight the typed text first and then make the changes.
Type the text that you want in the box. Notice that you can change the font, size and color via the menu options. Highlight the typed text first and then make the changes. | Source
Here's an example of a changed font and color.  Notice the point circled on the text box.  You can click and drag that to change the size of the text box itself.  Notice that this box needs to be made a bit bigger so that whole word is on one line.
Here's an example of a changed font and color. Notice the point circled on the text box. You can click and drag that to change the size of the text box itself. Notice that this box needs to be made a bit bigger so that whole word is on one line. | Source
If you make a mistake or the text box becomes unclickable, just use the back arrow to erase what you've done and start over.
If you make a mistake or the text box becomes unclickable, just use the back arrow to erase what you've done and start over. | Source

Create Your Own Meme Using Paint

You can also use Paint as a simple way to create your own meme.

Memes are very popular on the internet and you've probably seen them on social media sites like Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest.

To make a meme you will want to use the same directions for creating a text overlay. But consider placement of the text. Memes usually have the wording split at the top and bottom. Or they have it in one spot that is easy to read.

Memes are usually funny or thoughtful sayings that get people's attention and are usually pretty short.

If you have an idea for your own meme, you can create one using your own image or photo or one that is legally usable.

Here are some examples of memes created using public domain photos and Paint:

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Meme for the Monday BluesMeme for the beauty in all of usMeme for the fluffy ones
Meme for the Monday Blues
Meme for the Monday Blues | Source
Meme for the beauty in all of us
Meme for the beauty in all of us | Source
Meme for the fluffy ones
Meme for the fluffy ones | Source

Why do you usually crop an image?

See results

There are many photo and image editing software programs and apps available. But sometimes they can be confusing or expensive.

As you get better at cropping, editing and adding words to a picture, you might want to try a different program or one that gives you more options. This program, however, is great for beginners and casual users.

Cropping and adding text to images in Paint gives you a lot of versatility without having to buy an extra program.

Have fun editing and cropping images for your personal, business or school use!

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • RonElFran profile image

        Ronald E Franklin 

        4 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

        Good tutorial. I'm sure you've inspired some new memes!

      • LCDWriter profile imageAUTHOR

        L C David 

        4 years ago from Florida

        I'm so happy that this information is helping others!

      • The Examiner-1 profile image

        The Examiner-1 

        4 years ago

        Another wonderful one which comes in very handy. I tested it with Paint as I read it and I found very easy to do. I did not use Paint for years because I cannot paint. Now I am finding that Paint does other things too! Thumbs up on this Hub and highly rated.

        Kevin

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        4 years ago from Central Florida

        Excellent! Thank you for posting this. Much appreciated!

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