How can I reduce the size of my photos in MasterCook using tools provided and what do you recommend?
Please note Windows has problems working with data files that are larger than 2 GB in size. This can be a problem in MasterCook with the .mcx cookbook files because those contain all of your recipe photos. This is why it's important to resize your recipe photos or have smaller cookbooks with fewer recipes. (Imagine copying all of your recipes in a cookbook to a single Word document file and inserting every single photo into that same Word document file, and then trying to use that Word document. It's going to be difficult for the computer's system resources.)
STOP!! Before following the instructions below, make a backup copy of your files first!
Please note it can take a long time for MasterCook to complete the task of resizing images in a cookbook. Windows will often INCORRECTLY think it quit responding even though MasterCook is still working on the task. So, do NOT allow Windows to close MasterCook. Allow MasterCook to complete its task. Perhaps start the task and then go do something else, like enjoy a cup of coffee or whatever while MasterCook is busy resizing the photos.
It ultimately depends on how you want to use the photos. If you want to be able to print out a photo on a full sheet of paper and have the quality be the best possible, you will want a large file which gives the best quality. If you are just browsing recipes in MasterCook on the computer and don't really care about them being so large, then you can reduce them to the size that looks best with your computer's screen resolution and what you prefer. So, it's not really a cut and dry answer. It depends on what you want to do with those photos.
However, MasterCook 14 and 15 automatically resize large photos when you export in the .mz2 format. Any main recipe photo that is larger than 500 pixels on the largest side will be resized down to 500 pixels on the largest side. Direction/instruction photos are resized down to 300 pixels on the largest side. So, export all of your recipes in a cookbook in the .mz2 format. Create a new cookbook in MasterCook. Import that .mz2 file. Now all of your photos are no larger than 500/300 pixels on the longest side inside this new cookbook.
Next, you can use the Compress Pictures in This Cookbook command from the Tools menu. This compresses the images just like photo software does. The more compression the smaller file size but it also makes for lower quality images. Create a test cookbook and copy recipes into it. Play with the settings in that test cookbook.