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Saving for the Web

The full-blown version of Photoshop ships with a second program called ImageReady, which is used to prepare images for the Web. It helps you find the best combination of file format, image size, and image quality to place the image on a Web page so it will load quickly and look as good as possible. Elements has a similar feature, which is simply called Save for Web and is found on the File menu. Figure 3.8 shows the Save for Web dialog box.

Figure 3.8 The two views of the image compare the original to the optimized version. It's often hard to see a difference.

Choose PNG or JPEG for full color art and photographs. Choose GIF only if you are working with something that has a limited number of colors, such as a company logo or a drawing, graph, or chart. There's no need to include information on 256 colors if you are only using a handful. Be sure to watch the changes on the screen at different quality settings. You want to find the best compromise between quality and file size. If a file is large, it will load very slowly on an older, slower modem. Most people don't yet have a superfast Internet connection. In some parts of the country they're not even available. As a good cybercitizen, you want to make your pages as accessible as possible for all, and part of that is keeping the download time to a minimum.

On the File menu, you will also see an option called Attach to E-mail. Use this when you want to send a copy of the picture you've been working on. You'll be prompted to save the picture, if you haven't already done so, and then Elements will locate your email program and will open a blank email message with the photo already attached to it. The file will not be modified in any way—its file type, size, and resolution are preserved as they were when you selected this command. Add a message and send it off.

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