Most images you find online look great on-screen but have a resolution that is too low for printing. A too-low resolution means distorted or fuzzy print results. Learn how to spot this in your images before you print.

Resolution

Pixels

PPI vs DPI

Checking image resolution

Resolution

Resolution describes the degree of detail and clarity in an image. A clear, distinct image is likely to have a high resolution.

Pixels

A pixel (“picture element”) is the smallest single part of a digital image. If you zoom in repeatedly on a digital image, you may see a mosaic of tiny squares. These are pixels.

PPI vs DPI

PPI and DPI are ways of measuring resolution. PPI (“pixels per inch”) describes the number of pixels in one inch of a digital image.

Images print best if they are 300 PPI at the width and height you need.

DPI (“dots per inch”) describes the number of ink dots in one inch of a printed image.

Printers print by transferring dots of ink or toner to paper. To print your image, a printer translates pixels into physical dots.

Tip: If your image has a low resolution, consider if it could work at a smaller size. Shrinking the size of your image increases its PPI and therefore its resolution.

Checking image resolution

You can find the resolution on any image, and decide if it is high or low.

On a Mac:

  1. Open your image in Preview.

  2. Select Tools from the top menu, then Adjust Size.

On a PC:

  1. Right-click on your image, then select Properties.

  2. Select the tab Details.

Did this answer your question?