DPI in Photoshop

Photoshop among its hundreds of abilities, it can be difficult to navigate. One of the most basic elements when creating a project in this powerful Adobe software is understanding DPI. DPI an acronym for dots per inch is crucial for creating content. DPI relates to the sharpness displayed on a computer monitor and printed work. Monitors use pixels not dots, but referring to dots creates common ground when translating to printed content, this is necessary when content must be displayed through diverse medias. The dot pinch indicates the maximum amount of “dots” in an inch.



When material is being printed the standard is 300 DPI give or take. DPI with in itself is specified for print, and the number of colored points in an inch of printed material greatly affect the sharpness. Printers use a specif algorithm in order to properly convert a digital image into printed material, it takes pixels and converts them into printed dots. Since DPI is a conversion factor it is necessary to be cognizant of this. If a mis-written DPI is inputted for printed material that is too low the results are blotchy and dull. The once sharp content is now a blurry mess. Especially when paying money for a large print job putting the web used 72 DPI will be a waste of money.



In the case of digital content that will be shown on a monitor the optimal DPI is 72. Since DPI is used for print not web, it may not have too much of an effect in this realm. The difference between the 2 is that in print there are more dots per inch, and in web such a factor is not applicable because it is based in pixels. The history of the 72 standard in web comes from the 1998 Macs which were linked to the Apple printing application. When adding in DPI information to Photoshop the importance is to be cognizant of what will be done with image. Sending in a web based image (which is less than 300 dpi standard) to a printer will end unsuccessfully without taking into account DPI.


DPI is often confused for PPI which is pixels per inch. Used incorrectly as synonyms these terms refer to very different realms. Monitors use pixels to create crisp image therefore higher PPI better quality picture. This is true for pricey cameras that provide higher mega pixels. DPI once again is used as conversion factor between digital and print. When scanning images there is a conversion from DPI to PPI, while printing is vice versa. Between all the acronyms they can save you much confusion when printing.


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