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You can think of an image that's open in Elements as sitting on a virtual canvas. You can change the size of the canvas without changing the size of the photo itself. When might you want to do that? Well, say that you wanted to add a little extra space at the bottom of a photo to add a caption or maybe you want extra space around an entire photo so there is room for a fancy frame, or maybe, you want a lot of blank space around the photo so that you can add other photos to make a collage. Let me show you how to increase the canvas size of the photo without changing the photo size.
I'm working orchid_small.jpg from the 10 Canvas subfolder of the Chapter 06 Exercise Files folder. I have my Rulers turned on and I did that from the View > Rulers menu. The shortcut for that is Shift+Ctrl+R. Before we add to the canvas size, I want you to see how big the image is now without additional canvas. You can see that visually in the Rulers or you can come down to the information window at the bottom of the document window. Click the arrow and choose Document Dimensions and that tells me that the image is 1.5 inches wide by one inch high. So let's add to the canvas by going to the Image menu at the top of the screen, down to Resize and over to Canvas Size.
In the Canvas Size dialog box, the first thing I want to do is make sure that Relative is checked. That tells Elements to add whatever I put in the Width and Height fields to the current size of the image. I'm going to go to the Width field, check that the units of measurement are set to inches and I'm going to type in a quarter inch, 0.25. I'll do the same for the Height field and then I'm going to come down and make sure that the Anchor point for this change is in the center and what that will do is cause Elements to add space around all four sides of the photo.
If I clicked another arrow, say this arrow right in the top-middle, then Elements would add space only to selected sides. In this case it would only add space to the right, bottom and left side of the photo. To get back to the situation with the Anchor in the middle, I'm going to click the bottom arrow. That brings back all the arrows. I have one more field and that is the Canvas extension color field. If you are working on your own images you may not see this, because this will only appear if your image has a special background layer and we'll talk about that in more detail in the Layers chapter. Most photographs come into your computer with that special background layer.
Here I'm going to click the arrow and I can choose what color my canvas extension is going to be. I could choose whatever color happens to be in the Foreground or Background color fields in the toolbar or I can choose from White, Black or Gray. Or if I choose Other, the Color Picker will open and I can choose any color I want. I'm going to choose Black and I'm going to click OK. You can now see the extended canvas around my photo and when you come down to the document information field, you can see that the image is now 1.75 x 1.25 inches rather than the 1.5 x 1 inches that it used to be. But the photo remains 1.5 x 1 inches and you could measure that out on the Rulers at the top and the side.
So that's how you can increase canvas size without changing the size of your photo. Comes in handy for making frames, captions, scrapbooking and collages.
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