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How to print to specific size?

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Print size is a somewhat difficult subject to get your head around if you haven't met it before.

You see, print size is a product of the image size divided by the image DPI (Dots Per Inch).

Let's say you have an image that is 400 x 300 pixels.

Case 1. Let's print it at 300 DPI - that would give us an image 1.333 inches x 1 inch (because 400/300=1.333 and 300/300=1.0).

Case 2. Let's lower the print resolution and print the same image it at 100 DPI: Now it prints at 4 inches x 3 inches (because 400/100=4.0 and 300/100=3.0).

Case 3. Let's lower the DPI even more (just to see what happens!). Let's try 40 DPI. Again, the same image is now printed at 10 inches x 7.5 inches.

In summary, just changing the dimensions of the image is not enough. You also have to factor in the print resolution/DPI in order to come up with a print size. You can change the resolution via the Resize or Canvas Size commands.

For a much more in-depth discussion of this subject, read this excellent tutorial by David Attwell:

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All of what EER said is hard to grasp. Even when planning ahead, I've had some serious issues getting anything to print (to my needs and satisfaction) without doing some dial-in on the printer in question. The image ground work is key of course, but the printers can throw you for a loop depending on what they do when specifying various media types as well as ink types, etc.

Also some printer drivers will do scaling modifications to accommodate various print size(s) when using the photo-printing api that PDN calls on. I found this with Samsung to cause me all sorts of headaches. It does a great job in adjusting for DPI of the source images but I sometimes lose specific parts of the alpha and relative luminosity unless I get a match using those ground rules ...

My experience is not as detailed as I'd like to pass more than a passing warning that the formula for image DPI and printer controls can be more problematic than it should be. Suffice to say the same source image printed to a host of different makes and models of printers can make following the rules more important. It also helps when dialing in any controls you may have over the printer setup.

Just two cents in case you run into something that doesn't seem to match how it is supposed to work. The DPI topic EER pointed you to kept me from becoming the next YouTube star of pitching a printer or two down a stairwell.


Gallery at PDN-Fans

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I am trying to print an image to an exact size but can't seem to get it right. I am using the resize tool but the image always appears cropped at the edges. The image is a circle. Is there a way to determine the exact size before printing?

You may save the image as PDF (using the ImPDF filetype plugin) and print this one. Because the PDF format is not pixel-oriented it is easierer to get what you want.

One remark: Not all printers are able to print up to the borders of the paper. So some cropping is normal.

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  • toe_head2001 changed the title to How to print to specific size?

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