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DPI, PPI and Resolution

DPI, PPI and Resolution – A brief introduction


Paragon Service Point recommends supplying files at a resolution of 300DPI. If you’re not sure what all that means, please read on.

DPI (Dots per Inch)

Typically printed images are made up of a whole lot of small dots. The greater the number of these dots, the clearer and sharper an image will appear when it’s printed. The caveat being that if you start with a low resolution (blurry) image, you’re going to be stuck with it as you can’t increase the resolution of the original image to make it high resolution and thus, sharper. The number of dots is referred to as the ‘resolution’ – thus we end up with high resolution image (large number of dots) and low resolution (small number of dots).

When measuring these dots, we use ‘DPI’ or ‘dots per inch’. This is the number of dots that can be placed on a one-inch line, so if we talk about a ‘Resolution of 300 DPI’ we’re saying that there will be 300 dots per one-inch line that make up the image.

There is some understandable confusion with DPI and PPI. PPI is ‘pixels per inch’ and is the size of digital files.

PPI (Pixels per Inch)

PPI is also the base unit used when we talk about digital cameras. Because they’re now so powerful we’ve created MP or ‘mega-pixels’ as a shortcut to avoid huge numbers; a 12MP camera could have a ‘resolution’ of 4,256 x 2,832 PPI. If we wanted to print such an image at 300DPI the maximum print size would be limited to 14.2″ x 9.4″ print (4,256 / 300 = 14.2 and 2,832 / 300 = 9.4).

We hope this helps clarify some of these terms. If you have any further questions we’d be delighted to help. Please use our ‘Contact Us’ page to get in touch.

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