We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is DPI?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Dots Per Inch (DPI) is a measurement of printer resolution, though it is commonly applied, somewhat inappropriately, to monitors, scanners and even digital cameras.

For printers, the DPI specification indicates the number of dots in each inch that the printer is capable of achieving to form text or graphics on the printed page. The higher this specification, the more refined the text or image will appear. To save ink, a lower concentration is often used for draft copies or routine paperwork. This setting might be 300 or even 150 DPI. High resolution starts at 600 for standard printers, and can far exceed that for color printers designed for turning out digital photography or other high-resolution images.

In the case of monitors, DPI refers to the number of pixels present per inch of display screen. The technically correct term is "PPI" or pixels per inch, but DPI is commonly used instead. A display setting of 1280 x 1024 has 1.3 million pixels on the screen, while a setting of 800 x 600 has 480,000, or less than half the resolution of the higher setting. With fewer pixels, the picture will not have the clarity that can be achieved with a higher saturation. Each dot or pixel reflects a certain color and brightness. The greater the number of pixels, the more detailed the picture can be. More pixels also require more memory, and it can take longer to "paint" images, depending on the system's video card, processor and other components.

Scanners also operate at different resolutions. Scan time will increase with higher DPI settings, as the scanner must collect and store more data. However, the greater requested resolution, the richer the resulting image. A high resolution, or DPI setting mimics the original image in a truer fashion than lower DPI settings are capable of doing. If the image is to be enlarged, a high setting is necessary. Otherwise the enlarged picture will look "blocky" or blurry because the software lacks information to fill in the extra space when the image is enlarged. Instead it "blows up" each pixel to "smear" it over a wider area.

Digital cameras have their own specifications in terms of megapixels and resolution, but DPI is often mentioned in this context as well. Since it in all cases refers to the output image, a digital camera capable of the most basic current standards of resolution —- 3.0 megapixels and better —- will output an image capable of taking advantage of a very high DPI setting on the printer. However, if your printer is only capable of 600 DPI, the extra resolution of the camera will be lost in the printing process. When buying or upgrading components it is therefore critical that each product is capable of supporting the highest standards of any interfacing product.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon341627 — On Jul 13, 2013

How do I change my DPI setting?

By anon131479 — On Dec 02, 2010

i just don't understand how the math works on it to figure out what high res would be just to print high res. 600 dpi is that high res for printing large photos? or can you get even better high res? i guess my question is what the highest on everything resolution wise that you can go. i print at a pro lab and feel really stupid right now.

By anon68866 — On Mar 04, 2010

The DPI/PPI measure becomes significant when the actual geometry of the viewing experience is taken into account, since it determines how 'smooth' a given image appears when viewed. With print media, 600DPI is considered 'smooth' no matter how closely an unassisted eye is viewing an image. But computer displays are typically no closer than 18-24" from the eye; 600 DPI would be overkill, and few are more than 120PPI. Mobile displays (ebook readers, cell phones) can be brought much closer to the eye when in normal use, and need higher DPI (150 or more).

By anon57472 — On Dec 23, 2009

I am submitting a photo for judging. The limits are 150 dpi to 300 dpi. I have 2.21 MD and 1944 x 2592 sizes. What is that in dpi?

By anon8442 — On Feb 13, 2008

HELP! PC Photo is running a photo contest. Photos must be submitted electronically and be no more that 125K, 640 X 180, and 72 dpi. I don't get it. When I try to save a photo in Photoshop with these dimensions, it is about the size of a postage stamp, and any bigger, it is all pixelated and looks like crap. What am I not understanding?

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.