If you use your printer for print jobs that mostly involve text, you may not understand the meaning and need to learn about printer resolution.
The need for this knowledge arises when you have to do printing work such as printing for Cricut that requires paying attention to resolution details. When you fumble up the resolution details of such documents or photos, it comes out looking blurry in some cases.
In others, it just does not look great. Printworks with low quality is often not appealing, and if this is a profession for you, it can cause you to lose credibility.
What Is Print Resolution
Print resolution refers to the number of dots present in a printed image. It can also be looked at as the level of detail in a printed image.
When an image has a high resolution, there will be a higher level of detail seen by the physical eye than when it has a low resolution. The number of dots present in an inch of the printed media is proportional to how much detail and resolution will be present in print.
Resolution is critical when it comes to printing images, decals, and text on rare occasions. A general rule is that; the higher the resolution, the better the image will look.
So, you always want to scale down your print's size and not scale up. Scaling up means the dots have to be distributed to fill more inches of space, which can ruin the print quality.
DPI not PPI
Frequently when you read on the topics of printer quality and resolution, you will see the acronyms DPI and PPI thrown around. Many people find it hard to differentiate between both acronyms, and they also struggle to describe how they affect print quality.
The first thing to note about these two terms is what they stand for. DPI is short for Dots Per Inch, and PPI is a stand-in for Pixels Per Inch. The difference in their usage lies in how one refers to print work, and the other is used to describe how clear an image appears on digital screens.
Suppose you have a picture displayed on your computer or smartphone screen. In that case, PPI will be a more appropriate term to describe the crispiness of that image. For a print job that looks very clear, you would have to ask how much DPI it was printed at, not how much PPI.
Images on computer screens are made up of tiny little squares called pixels. This is because computer screens themselves are made of small little squares.
These colors fill up the squares to form images on the screen. PPI refers to how many pixels of that picture is crammed into an inch. It is also worth noting that the PPI does not refer to the size of the image in any way.
For this reason, a picture of 2 inches with 1 inch per pixel has only one pixel for every inch. You can quickly tell that this isn’t a picture with a lot of detail.
DPI and the Print Media
In the case of print media, Dots Per Inch is the more used term. Why dots? The mechanism printers employ when they print is the main reason behind the use of this word. Both Inkjet and Laserjet printers print by using tiny dots to represent imagery or text on paper.
Laserjets use toner for printing. They do this by applying toner onto the paper and heating it to melt on the paper in the form of the image or text you are printing. Inkjets are a little different in the way they work.
They spray the ink onto the paper that is to be printed on, and they do it in drops or dots. The fact that both types of printers either melt dots of ink or spray it on paper is why Dots Per Inch is a term acclimatized to the printing industry.
Dots Per inch refers to how many dots a printer can squeeze on an inch of the paper. The more dots you have per inch, the sharper and crisper the image or text look.
When you see pictures in magazines, you can already tell they look sharper than those printed with a cheap printer.
When buying printers, you really should pay attention to the DPI rating if you care about the resolution of your printed work. For example, a 600 DPI printer will squeeze 600 dots on an inch of the printing sheet.
Likewise, a printer with 1200 DPI will press double that number in both the horizontal and vertical directions. Sometimes, you will find printers that have more DPI in one direction than the other. For example, a 300 by 600 DPI printer will print 600 dots in one direction and a lesser number of that in the other direction.
By the sophistication of the technology crammed into them, modern printers are a magic box even by today’s standards.
They are so intelligent that experts have described them to have more computing power than some of the spacecraft NASA has sent to space. That is simply breathtaking. It should not come as any surprise when you find out the next bit about printers and how they draw dots to make pictures.
From the explanation earlier on DPI, you would think that printers are consistent in the size of dots for every single thing they have to make. You would be wrong in that regard because these devices are so intelligent; they know when to make dots of different sizes and intensities, and shapes onto the printing sheet.
Some of the more expensive models have an optimized DPI print process that knows where to place an ink drop to improve print quality further. They do this by moving the paper slowly than usual so that dots can overlap one another to create excellent results.
When deciding on the DPI to use for a print job, you have to consider viewing distance. The distance and sometimes viewing angle of a print can affect how it is seen. You can vary the DPI of your print job based on how far away it will be placed to be seen by its target audience.
Suppose you are making a design that will be mounted several feet from the ground. In that case, you can get away with using low DPI, but for something such as a brochure or flyer, you need to print at nothing less than 300 DPI. For images, a printer of 600 DPI or more is best, and you will not notice the difference if you go much higher than that.
The other things you should pay attention to for optimum print quality are ink and paper type. Ink is the price you pay as you increase your DPI. If you are interested in just text printing, a laserjet looks sharper than an inkjet, even with lower DPI numbers.
With the right paper, you can produce clearer images regardless of your printer’s DPI. Plain paper is excellent for laserjets, while paper fibers are better for inkjets.
Hey, it’s James here. I’m the founder and editor here at RiverstoneNet.com. I’m a network engineer during the day and a blogger at night. Let me know if I can help you with choosing a new modem/router or troubleshooting your Internet connection.