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Printing & PPI Flow Chart

Use the flow chart below to determine if you have enough pixels to print a photograph at a certain size.

Before you sue the chart, you need to know the pixel dimensions of your photograph.

Pixel Dimensions

In Photoshop Elements, the pixel dimensions are located below the photograph to the left.

In the example below, the pixel dimensions are 3008 x 2000 (red rectangle).

To see the pixel dimensions, do the following.

1) Click the tiny black triangle (cyan circle).

2) Select Document Dimensions (cyan rectangle).

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If inches are given instead of pixels, do the following.

Windows

1) Go to Edit > Preferences > Units & Rulers.

2) Change inches to pixels in the Rulers box.

Mac

1) Go to the Apple Menu > Preferences > Units & Rulers.

2) Change inches to pixels in the Rulers box.

Do You Have Enough Pixels?

Do the following.

1) Look for the pixel dimensions of your photograph in the second column below.

2) Look for the desired print size in the Print Size column.

3) Look for the resolution needed, for that print size, in the PPI Needed column.

If your print size is different than those below, estimate the ppi needed from the figures shown in the chart.

Example

The figures for the example are highlighted with blue in the chart below.

Let's say your camera has 6 megapixels.

The pixel dimensions for your photograph are 3008 x 2000.

You want to make a 16" x 24" print.

Scan across the 6 megapixels row.

A 16" x 24" print needs a resolution of 80 ppi.

The actual resolution of your file is 125 ppi, so you can make a quality print.

Printing & PPI Flow Chart

Megapixels

Pixel

Dimensions

JPEG

Quality

Print

Size

PPI

Needed

Actual

PPI

Print

Quality

2 1600 x 1200 Highest 4" x 6" 313 267 Fair
8" x 12" 156 133 Fair
16" x 24" 80 67 Fair
3 2048 x 1536 Highest 4" x 6" 313 341 Excellent
8" x 12" 156 171 Excellent
16" x 24" 80 85 Good
4 2272 x 1704 Highest 4" x 6" 313 379 Excellent
8" x 12" 156 189 Excellent
16" x 24" 80 95 Good
5 2592 x 1944 Highest 4" x 6" 313 432 Excellent
8" x 12" 156 216 Excellent
16" x 24" 80 108 Excellent
6 3008 x 2000 Highest 4" x 6" 313 501 Excellent
8" x 12" 156 251 Excellent
16" x 24" 80 125 Excellent
7 3072 x 2304 Highest 4" x 6" 313 512 Excellent
8" x 12" 156 256 Excellent
16" x 24" 80 128 Excellent
8 3264 x 2448 Highest 4" x 6" 313 544 Excellent
8" x 12" 156 272 Excellent
16" x 24" 80 136 Excellent
10 3888 x 2592 Highest 4" x 6" 313 648 Excellent
8" x 12" 156 324 Excellent
16" x 24" 80 162 Excellent

Print Viewing Distance

The above resolutions (ppi) are based on the following print viewing distances, in a normally lighted interior.

Viewing Distance Chart

Print Size Diagonal

Viewing Distance

(1.5 x Diagonal)

PPI

Needed

4 x 6" 7.21" 11" 313
8 x 10" 12.81" 19" 181
8 x 12" 14.42" 22" 156
 11 x 14" 17.80" 27" 156
16 x 20" 25.61" 38" (3.17') 89
16 x 24" 28.84" 43" 80
20 x 30" 36.06" 54" (4.5') 64
40 x 60" 72.11" 108" (9') 32

If the print will viewed at a closer distance, or will be displayed under optimum conditions, use a higher resolution.

For more about resolution, go to Which Resolution? and Pixels, PPI, & Print Size Calculators