Pixels and Print Resolution

Pixels and print resolution

The number of pixels and print resolution needs be considered when determining if a file will support the print size that you want. The chart below will allow you to determine the pixel resolution required for various print sizes. Some think of resolution as dpi, which is not accurate.  A 1000 dpi file may produce only a modest sized print, while a 72 dpi file can make a wall size mural.

The only “true” measure of size is the “pixel resolution”, which is expressed as the number of pixels in the length times the width of the image.

How find file resolution in pixels

You can determine the pixel resolution by “hovering” the cursor over the file name or by right clicking and selecting “file info” or “properties”. Some file types will have to opened using an image editor to see the pixel dimensions. Either way, it will be something like 3000 pixels x 4500 pixels. This description can be converted to various sizes at different output resolutions (see the chart below).

Print output resolution

Photo and inkjet printing typically require the pixels resolution to be between 150 and 360 dpi at print size. However, limits in camera sensor resolution may require special processing for optimum quality. We use special software to optimize files for maximum quality. Please let us to handle this if step because improperly re-sizing a file can actually decrease the quality of the final print.  If your file’s pixel resolution appear in, or is lower than that specified in the “pink” column below, please check with us before ordering.

Guide to pixel resolution and output sizes

BEST GOOD ACCEPTABLE POOR
Output Size 300 dpi 200 dpi 150 dpi 100 dpi
4x6 1200x1800 800x1200 600x900 400x600
5x7 1500x2100 1000x1400 750x1050 500x700
8x10 2400x3000 1600x2000 1200x1500 800x1000
11x14 3300x4200 2200x2800 1650x2100 1100x1400
12x18 3600x5400 2400x3600 1800x2700 1200x1800
16x20 4800x6000 3200x4000 2400x3000 1600x2000
20x24 6000x7200 4000x4800 3000x3600 2000x2400
20x30 6000x9000 4000x6000 3000x4500 2000x3000
24x30 7200x9000 4800x6000 3600x4500 2400x3000
24x36 7200x10800 4800x7200 3600x5400 2400x3600
30x40 9000x12000 6000x8000 4500x6000 3000x4000
40x60 12000x18000 8000x12000 6000x9000 4000x6000
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