Software

How to custom-fit your images for the lock screen with Windows 10's Photos app

A handy feature hidden in the Windows 10 Photos app lets you tailor your lock screen images to look the way you want.

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Image: iStockphoto.com/Dvoinik


In an August 2016 article titled Grab spectacular images from the Windows Spotlight lock screen with this handy script, I told you that the stunning photographs that appear on the lock screen when you select Windows Spotlight images for your lock screen background are automatically downloaded from Microsoft Bing and saved on your hard disk in an obscurely named file and folder structure. I then presented my Spotlight Image Finder script and showed you how to use it to find those images.

Since that time, I've received all kinds of feedback and questions about using images as the lock screen background. One question that has popped up quite frequently refers to the way Windows automatically crops user photos that are set as the lock screen background on a wide screen monitor. Most often folks complain that when they set their own pictures as the lock screen background from the Lock Screen tab, as shown in Figure A, Windows crops out the main focus of their photo.

Figure A

Figure A
You can use your own pictures for the lock screen background.

Fortunately, you don't have to rely on the default settings on the Lock Screen tab to set your background. Instead, you can take charge of the entire process by editing your photos and setting them as the lock screen background from within Windows 10's Photos app. In this article, I'll show you how.

Getting started

You can launch the Photos app by clicking the Start button and typing Photos in the search box. The Photos app will then appear in the results panel, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Figure B
Launching the Photos app from Search is quick and easy.

Once you have the Photos app up and running, open your image. For example, the picture I'm using for this article, shown in Figure C, is one I took with my iPhone in portrait mode. As you can imagine, in its current format, it is hard to tell for sure how Windows would crop this image for the lock screen background.

Figure C

Figure C
How will Windows crop this portrait image for the lock screen background?

Editing your photos

To continue, select Edit. When you see Edit screen, shown in Figure D, click Crop And Rotate.

Figure D

Figure D
You'll use the Crop And Rotate controls to edit your photo for use as the lock screen background image.

On the Crop And Rotate screen, click Aspect Ratio and select Widescreen from the menu, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E

Figure E
To get started, select the Widescreen aspect ratio .

SEE: Want better photos? Try these three basic tips

To adjust the size of the image you want to display as the lock screen background, drag the corners of the crop box, as shown in Figure F. You can also click and drag the image to better position it in the widescreen crop box. Once you're satisfied with the image, click Done and then click Save A Copy.

Figure F

Figure F
Position the crop box over the section of the photo that you want to use.

Now, click the Ellipse button, choose Set As, and select Set As Lock Screen, as shown in Figure G. (The Set As menu will allow you to set the desktop background as well as the image to display on the Photos app's tile.)

Figure G

Figure G
When you're ready, select the Set As Lock screen command.

To test your lock screen background, press [Windows]+L. If the picture doesn't display as you like, simply repeat the process.

More Windows how-to's

What's your take?

Have you wished there were an easier way to set your photos as the lock screen background? Now that you know about this Photos app technique, will you take advantage of it? Share your thoughts with fellow TechRepublic members.

About Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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