ImagingTips.com

FastStone Email Button

by Wren McMains
(5/11/2009)

The second favorite FastStone feature for most people, after the full-screen Viewer, is Email. Most of us have high resolution cameras that take 6-21 Mpix images; we want to eMail images to friends, but sending images at that resolution is usually a disaster. The original images take too long to send, we can only attach 2-5 without exceeding the attachment size limitations of our ISP, and even if they go through the recipient complains that all they can see is some sky in the top left corner of the image.

Emailing images resized, compressed images couldn't be easier using FastStone.

View Video

First select the images you want to send. Here 3 images have been selected (FastStone outlines selected images in blue):

Screen Shot

Once the images have been selected, click on the Email icon on the Control Bar (or use the shortcut F6). This will bring up a dialog box like this:

Screen Shot

The very first time you use this tool, there are several options I recommend changing. Once you change them FastStone will remember your preferences, and from then on, is click on either the "Send Email" or "Copy to Folder" button (depending on the Email program you use).

The first thing to do is pick a maximum size to make the images. I recommend using the Standard Size pull-down:

Screen Shot

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I would recommend choosing either 1024 x 768, or if you know your recipient has a monitor with higher screen resolution, I recommend 1200 x 900. This will create an images that fills most of their screen, but because of the compression will have a small enough file size to avoid problems, even on a dial-up line. As you see below, choosing the 1200 x 900 option from the pull-down fills those numbers into the New Size boxes. (You can also enter other numbers in these boxes, but it's usually not worth the effort because picking a standard size is so fast. The other options I change are pointed out by the arrows:

Screen Shot

For Quality I recommend 70. The images don't need a drop shadow, so I recommend un-checking that box. I rename my images when I download them from my camera card, so I want to keep that name, or a variation on that name, so I un-check the Rename box. (By keeping the name I know what someone is talking about if they later ask me for a higher resolution version. If I renamed them something1, 2 and 3, I wouldn't have a clue.)

At this point I just click "Send Email" (4th button down on the right). However, if you want to see what they're going to look like first you can use Preview first (3rd button down on the right). Preview opens a window like this showing the first image after resizing and compressing:

Screen Shot

The file name and size are shown on the bottom left. (Note that although we asked for a 1200 x 900 image, this one is 1200 x 806 keeping the roughly 3 x 2 aspect ratio of the original image.) The scroll bars indicate we are only seeing part of the image. To see the rest of the image either use the scroll bars or maximize the window. Clicking on the Next button shows a preview of the second image:

Screen Shot

Again, note the file sizes and the fact that this was image 2 out of 3 being sent. Clicking the Next button again previews the third image:

Screen Shot

Notice that size of this image in pixels is closer to 1200 x 900 ... the original must have been cropped and no longer had the aspect ratio of original images from the camera. Once you've previewed the images, click on Close to dismiss the Preview window. This brings you back to this window where (assuming you use a client Email program like: Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Windows Mail, etc.) you click on the Send Mail button: (If you use a web based Email program like AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, etc. jump ahead to how to send via a web based Email.)

Screen Shot

After it processes your images it gives you this summary box that tells you the number of images and total size of all the files after compressing:

Screen Shot

Once you've seen this message a few times and know what you're doing I recommend checking the "Do not show this dialog again" box. After clicking on OK, it brings up your Email program (Windows Mail in this case) with the files already attached:

Screen Shot

Fill in the To: and Subject: fields and type the message to go along with your images. Then click the Send button.

Next time you want to send an image, since all your preferences (discussed above) are set, all you need to do is:

  1. Select the image(s)
  2. Click the Email button
  3. Click the Send Mail button

and you'll be right back here in your Email program with the new images attached to a blank Email. Is that easy or what?

If you have a web based Email program like AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, etc. I recommend you choose the "Compress images into one single file" option:

Screen Shot

The advantage of this is that you'll only have one file to attach to your Email. The disadvantage is that all the images are sent in a single ZIP file. Most people have no trouble dealing with this (and in fact I would rather receive a group of photos in a ZIP file because then there's only one file to save ... the recipient doesn't have to save each individual image). But if you know your recipient will have trouble, it might be worth attaching individual files, in which case don't check "Compress image into one single file" box.

Either way the next step is to press the Copy to Folder button (above). You will then get this dialog which asks where you want to put the ZIP file or the individual resized and compressed images:

Screen Shot

The first time you use Email the Destination Folder will be blank. Click on the Browse button a select the folder where you want to put them. I have one folder where I put Email resolution images, so I select it:

Screen Shot

Click on the Copy button and you're done (well done as far as FastStone is concerned, you still have to go to your Email program and attach the file(s).

(One advantage of always using the same folder for your Email resolution images is that you don't have to use Browse each time after clicking on the "Copy to Folder" button ... it will already be filled in.)

For web based Email I use Gmail, which looks like this. To add the ZIP file as an attachment I click on "Attach a file":

Screen Shot

Which brings up this dialog box. Navigate to the folder where you put the compressed images or ZIP (#email in my case). If you sort by date which I did by clicking on the "Date Modified" column the file(s) you just created will be listed first. (Even in the thumbnail view shown here, it still sorts by date when you click on that column header from the detailed view.)

Screen Shot

When you click on the file, it fills the "File Name" field. You'll note that Gmail now lets you specify multiple files for uploading at one time. Therefore, with Gmail it is just as easy to not compress them into a single ZIP file. The individual files would all be sorted to the beginning of list ... just select them all and press "Open" to upload.

Once they've uploaded to Gmail, you see:

Screen Shot

At this point it's the same in every Email program: fill in the To: and Subject: fields and type your message and you're ready to send.


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