We all know what it means to crop an image, but what's it called when you want to increase the size of the canvas around the image?

Say for instance, you have a 3:2, 4:3, or 16:9 logo that has to occupy a square frame, but cropping the edges and/or stretching the image to fit would basically ruin it.

  • 2
    Possibly Extend?
    – joojaa
    Apr 25, 2018 at 17:34

3 Answers 3


Theoretically you can't "uncrop" an image. That would entail pulling image data out of thin air. As far as I'm aware, there is no direct opposite term for "crop" - as in a term to mean "keep existing pixels, but add additional pixels around the outside of the image."

You can change the aspect ratio of an image from 3:2 to 4:3 or to 16:9 resulting in a distorted image. You can often "recrop" - change the cropping aspect ratio of an image - but you can't really "uncrop".

You can alter the canvas size a software application is using to display the existing image data, but that technically doesn't alter the image itself. At least not until it's saved. In which case, it then becomes a new image with a different size. Caveat: some software may remove or dump pixel (image) data upon resizing the existing canvas. So what is or is not lost by a resize of the canvas really depends upon the software in use.

Speaking strictly about Photoshop, it is possible to have image data which is hidden by being outside the Photoshop canvas. Choosing Image > Reveal All will resize the canvas to show all existing image data. I guess that would sort of be an "uncrop". But the image data has to be there.

  • 2
    I think "Alter the canvas size" is what the OP is talking about.
    – Welz
    Apr 25, 2018 at 17:08

I'd call that padding, in that you pad your logo with some empty space. Much like you pad fragile contents of the box with protective soft (but otherwise useless) material to avoid getting it damaged.

In CSS the padding property specifies how much empty space there has to be between the container's borders and its contents. Sounds pretty close to the result you're going for.

In most graphics editors I've seen however this is just done via resizing the canvas, which can be seen as a more general operation.

  • I can see this point, but padding, to me, would be adding white space where as "uncropping" would be showing more of the image itself. Probably just semantics though :)
    – Scott
    Apr 29, 2018 at 20:26
  • @Scott logo's boundaries usually are empty space, so "more of the image itself" would probably be just that :)
    – D-side
    Apr 29, 2018 at 20:30
  • Ahh so they did.. sorry.. :) +1 then
    – Scott
    Apr 29, 2018 at 20:32

If you consider that cropping is to reduce the canvas size, I believe that the opposite would be extending the canvas as @jooja said. I've also heard people informally saying uncropping although the former describes the operation more accurately.

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