How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

I see lots of people with photos of their dogs, their family or their favorite vacation destination as their desktop wallpaper on Windows systems. What’s the easy way for me to do this on my own Win10 laptop?

There are a very small number of wallpapers included with Windows, whether you’re running Windows Vista (I hope not!), Win7, Win8 or, of course, Windows 10. They’re beautiful and designed for really big screens but they’re also generic. I mean, who wants your desktop to look the same as the gal in the next cubicle over?

Fortunately, Windows makes it crazy easy for you to take a photograph and turn it into your desktop wallpaper. The trick is to use a photo that’s going to look good. In that regard, higher resolution, bigger images are all really important. A photo that’s 400×250 pixels might be perfect for an email message, but it’s going to look darn fuzzy on your 25-inch desktop monitor!

Most digital cameras now produce images that work just fine, however, with 2000-4000 pixels in each dimension. Plenty of data for a sharp, crisp image as your wallpaper. I also recommend you use horizontally oriented images since that’s the orientation of just about every monitor and display on the market, but if you choose a vertically oriented image, you’ll likely end up with black bars on the left and right side.

Here’s my wallpaper on my own Microsoft Windows 10 laptop system, an image included with the OS:

How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

Hard to see, but I have a photo I want to use instead that’s near the top left.

To set it as my wallpaper, a right click:

How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

And there’s what you seek: “Set as desktop background“. Choose that and you’ve just set the photo as your wallpaper.

I said it was easy, didn’t I?

How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

But it turns out that there are a number of things you can tweak and change when you set a photo as your desktop picture.

To do that, right click on the desktop itself to get a different menu to show up:

How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

Choose “Personalize” from the menu and you’ll be in Control Panels:

How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

What you want to check out here is “Choose a fit”, where it shows “Fill”. Turns out that there are a lot of ways that Windows can make your photo or picture work as a wallpaper for the Desktop:

How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

How do these differ? Well, “Fill” is the default, so you’ve already seen that.

Let’s choose “Stretch” instead:

How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

Pretty similar, but the images are a bit distorted. Not as pleasing.

How about “Center”?

How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

That’s a weird result, isn’t it? Turns out that the photo is considerably bigger than the resolution of the laptop display so Windows was shrinking the image to fit. When I just center the photo, it’s far less interesting.

I’m going to go back to “Fit” and while I’m in the Personalization area, change the color of my Launch Bar to match the photo colors – purple! The results are much more attractive than that ghastly brown:

How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

Very nice. And now you know how to do it yourself too.

Apple makes it easy to display your favorite photos on your iPhone as “wallpaper” — the background image on which your phone’s icons and other controls rest.

You can set a custom wallpaper on the lock screen and the home screen (also known as the app screen, where you find all the icons for your installed apps).

You might find, though, that the picture you want to use doesn’t perfectly fit the screen. There are ways to fix that.

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How to make a picture fit the wallpaper on your iPhone

1. Start the Settings app and tap “Wallpaper.”

2. Tap “Choose a new wallpaper.”

3. On the “Choose” screen, pick the image you want to use.

4. Now pinch and expand your fingers to zoom in or out on the image and position it where you want to place it on the screen.

5. If you are having trouble including the edges of the photo, it’s because Perspective Zoom is turned on, so the iPhone needs to zoom in on the photo, leaving a bit extra of the photo outside the edges to enable the perspective effect. Disable it by tapping the “Perspective Zoom” button at the bottom of the screen.

6. Tap “Set” and choose if you want to save it as your Lock Screen, Home Screen, or both.

How to make an entire picture fit the wallpaper on your iPhone (with black bars at the top and bottom)

If you want to include all of a photo, but your iPhone won’t let you do so because the photo isn’t tall enough, there’s a trick to work around this limitation.

The problem is that your iPhone won’t let you include blank space in a wallpaper — the selected photo must cover the screen, edge-to-edge, in every direction. But you can cheat by taking a screenshot of the photo in your iPhone’s Photos app, which adds black bars to the empty spaces.

1. Open the photo you want to use in the Photos app.

2. Make sure you are zoomed in so the entire photo is visible.

3. Tap the photo so the background turns black.

5. Start the Settings app and tap “Wallpaper.” Tap “Choose a new wallpaper” and select the screenshot of your photo. You’ll be able to include the entire photo from side to side, with black bars at the top and bottom.

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How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

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How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

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How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

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How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

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How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

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How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

Any picture on the Internet can be set as your computer desktop wallpaper by following the steps below based on the Internet browser you are using.

  • Chrome users
  • Mozilla Firefox users
  • Internet Explorer users
  • Microsoft Edge Legacy users
  • Opera users
  • Using a saved Internet image as a wallpaper

Chrome users

Unlike most of the other browsers, Google Chrome does not include the option to save images as the wallpaper. However, any downloaded image can be set as a wallpaper using our steps on using a saved image as a wallpaper.

Mozilla Firefox users

Mozilla Firefox users have the option of setting any image they view on the Internet as their wallpaper. To do this, right-click the image you want to set as your wallpaper, and then select Set as Desktop Background from the drop-down menu.

Firefox can also position the wallpaper picture (center, tile, stretch, fill, and fit) and set the background color.

Internet Explorer users

Microsoft Internet Explorer users have the option of setting any image they view on the Internet as their wallpaper. To do this, right-click the image you want to set as your wallpaper, and then select Set as Background from the drop-down menu. If you are sure that you want to set the image as the background, click Yes.

Additional Information

When setting a picture from the Internet as your background, the image is saved to your hard drive. Below is an example of the location where this file may be saved.

The “Application Data” folder is hidden by default. If you do not see this folder, you must enable the display of hidden files. For more information, see: How do I view hidden files and folders in Windows?

Microsoft Edge Legacy users

Unlike most of the other browsers, Microsoft Edge Legacy does not include the option to save images as the wallpaper. However, any downloaded image can be set as a wallpaper using our steps on using a saved image as a wallpaper.

Opera users

Opera users have the option to right-click the image and choose Use image as wallpaper from the drop-down menu that appears. However, this option only downloads the image and not set the image as the wallpaper. Once the image is downloaded, follow the steps on using a saved Internet image as a wallpaper.

Using a saved Internet image as a wallpaper

If the browser doesn’t support the ability to save an image as a wallpaper, any image downloaded can still be set as the wallpaper using the following steps.

  1. Download the picture.
  • How to download an app, file, or program from the Internet.
  1. Once downloaded, open your downloads folder and copy the image to a more permanent location such as the My Pictures folder or another folder.
  • Where are the files I downloaded using my web browser?
  1. Adjust the Windows background and point the computer to the image you downloaded.
  • How to copy files.
  • How do I adjust the Windows background?

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Nov 16, 2017
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Wallpapers come in different sizes. If you like an image and it’s a good, HD image you can use it on a large screen even if it isn’t the right size. Windows can stretch an image so that it fills the screen and normally, it does a good job. Sometimes though, it doesn’t work and the image is cut off at the wrong end. The best course of action is to resize an image to fit your desktop. Here’s the best way to resize an image to a desktop wallpaper.

Find Your Screen Resolution

Before you resize an image to a desktop wallpaper, you need to know what size it should be. This isn’t a one-size fits all deal. You’re cropping and resizing an image for your screen. It’s a custom job so use your screen’s resolution.

Open the Settings app and go to the System group of settings. Select the Display tab and look at the value set under the Resolution dropdown. This is the size an image should be to fit your screen perfectly.

How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

Resizing An Image

For this, we’re going to use an image by Unsplash user John Fowler @wildhoney. This image is 4288x4800px. The width is less than the height so it’s a poor fit for the average monitor that is usually landscape oriented. There are two ways to treat an image like this; resize, or crop, or both.

You can resize the image and change it’s width to 1920px. The height will change proportionally and it will not be 1080px. When you set it as your wallpaper, some of it will still be cropped out. If this is acceptable, use IrfanView to resize the image and set it as your wallpaper.

How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

Given the dimensions of this particular image, at least half of it will be cropped out even after you’ve resized it to fit the width of your screen. There’s no way around this but what you can do is crop the image so that it includes the better parts of the image you’re using.

Again, you can use IrfanView to crop it. Open the resized image in IrfanView and cut out the part that you want to include in the background. Remember to trim only from the top and bottom if you’ve already resized it to fit the width of your screen. Save the cropped image and then set it as your desktop wallpaper.

How to turn your favorite photo into wallpaper

You can use this same method to crop and resize an image for your phone but you will need to get the size absolutely right. Not all phones will fit an image on the screen so it’s best to crop and resize it to fit.

Most Apple Watch owners already know that you can bounce between different watch faces by flicking your finger across its screen. But did you also know that you can use your own photos and images as your Apple Watch’s wallpaper? You can display a single photo for your wallpaper or a collection of photos that change each time you tap your watch or raise your wrist, and this customization works on any Apple Watch—from the old-school original to the Series 4 . The process requires a few steps, but once you’re done, your watch will have a more personalized look and feel.

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First, make sure to transfer the photos you want as a background from your iPhone to your watch. To do this, open the Photos app on your iPhone. Browse through your Camera Roll and other albums. Open any photo you’d like to have on your watch and tap on the heart icon to tag it as a favorite. You can tag as many photos as you like as favorites, and they’ll all appear on your watch in this single synced album.

Next, open the Watch app on your iPhone. Tap on the icon at the bottom for Face Gallery. Swipe down to the Photos section and tap on the Favorites album. At the Photos screen for this album, tap on “Add” to add the album to your watch.

Raise your wrist and you’ll see that your Apple Watch’s face is now your new synced album of favorite photos. Tap on the watch face, and the photo segues to the next image in the album. Each time you raise your wrist to peek at your watch, the photo will change to the next one as well.

You can also set up a photo face on your Apple Watch by pressing down on your current watch face swiping to the left until you see the “New” option. Tap on it and start turning the Digital Crown until you see the entry for Photos. Tap on the display photo, and your favorite photos will become your new watch face.

Like most Apple Watch faces, you can tweak the information displayed on your new Photos face. Open the Watch app on your iPhone. Swipe through the My Faces section and tap on the face you want to modify. Under Time Position, you can change the location of the time between the top and bottom of your face. Under Complications, you can tap on each of the current complications and change it to a different piece of info, such as Alarm, Heart Rate, Stocks, Stopwatch, Timer, or Weather.

If you want to create a watch face from any photo on your iPhone, not just those tagged and synced as favorites, you can use a single photo or multiple photos (up to 10). To start, open the Watch app on your iPhone, and tap on the Face Gallery icon. Then swipe down to the Photos section, and tap on the album for Favorites. Under “Photos,” tap the option for “Custom” instead of the default “Synced Album,” and go browse your albums for the photos you want to feature. Tap to add them, and then tap “Done” when ready. Back on the Photos Face Gallery screen, tap Add at the top. This customized face will now appear on your Apple Watch. If you selected multiple photos, you can tap on the screen to cycle through all of them.

To create a photo face from your Apple Watch (without using the iOS Watch app), open the Photos apps on your watch. Keep swiping through your photos until you find the one you want to use to create the new face. Press down on the screen. Tap on the icon to Create Watch Face. At the next screen, tap on the option for “Photos Face” to turn that picture you picked into your new watch face.

You can also use the color or design of a photo to create a Kaleidoscope watch face. Instead of selecting “Photos Face” on the previous screen, pick “Kaleidoscope Face” instead. The Kaleidoscope watch face will take on the look of your photo, so be sure to pick something vibrant and fun.

You can tweak the design of your Kaleidoscope faces via the Watch app. On your iPhone, open the Watch app. At the My Watch screen, tap on the Kaleidoscope face you just created. You can now switch between a facet, radial, and rosette style.

One last way to create a watch face: open the Photos app on your phone, and select the photos you want to use. Tap on the Share icon and choose the option to Create Watch Face, then at the Watch Face screen, tap Add to generate your new watch face.

To organize or remove some of your customized photo watch faces, pull up the Watch app on your phone, and tap on the Edit link in the “My Faces” section. Tap the minus sign, and then tap on Remove for any faces you want to delete. Move the hamburger icon up or down for the remaining watch faces to move them higher or lower in the list.