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What is PPI or DPI?

by Framebridge Editorial
July 28, 2020
3 min read

If you’re trying to get an image printed, you’ve likely seen these letters lately: PPI or DPI. What are they? What’s the difference? How much do you need to know about them to get my photo printed?We’ve got you covered. Printing with Framebridge is easy. Just upload your photo, and our system will choose the right size for it to ensure the crispest quality (or let you know if it is too small). But for those of you who want to learn more about PPI and DPI, here’s some helpful information. 

PPI stands for ‘pixels per inch.’

It's a way to measure the data input of an image. The higher the PPI, the higher quality of the digital image.

DPI stands for ‘dots per inch.’ 

It's a way to measure the print output of an image. The higher the DPI, the crisper the image is.Think about it like this. When you look closely at a printed old-timey cartoon, you see that the ink is made up of individual dots. The more dots there are, the more it looks like a smooth, cohesive image. The less dots there are, the more likely it is to notice them when looking at the image. See for yourself on The Incredible Hulk’s back.

Image by Callie Parker from Pixabay

What’s the Difference between PPI and DPI?

In other words, PPI measures the size of the file, DPI measures the size of the printed photo.

How Do PPI and DPI Work?

Imagine you have one quart of paint. That one quart will easily be enough paint to cover a 4-foot by 4-foot square and look great. It will not be enough to paint the entire room. In this analogy, the paint is the PPI, and the room is the photo size. Just like how much wall you can paint depends upon how much paint you have, the size of the printed photo will depend on the size of the file of the digital photo (the PPI). 

Good Things to Know

A photo’s PPI can only take it so far. If the PPI is around 170 PPI, it will not be possible to print an enormous, 30x30 version of your photo without it looking blurry or pixelated. To ensure your photos are in the best quality possible, our system will not print anything under 150 DPI. This measurement is good for a printed photo size of about 4x4 or 5x5 (photos on the smaller side). 

A 4x4 image in The Piccolo.
Large image in Cairo.

300 DPI is the crispest and best, good to print up to a 32x40 image. There are also apps available to check what the DPI of your photo will be.

As a general rule of thumb, you want to upload the highest resolution photo possible. That means uploading the original photo (avoid screenshots, images downloaded directly from social media, or images that have been compressed by an email). If you took it with your phone, it’s the file in your photos! Tools like Photoshop will allow you to re-size your photo and make it larger, and thus higher resolution. However, if the original photo is blurry, size cannot correct that. 

You can upload a .jpg, .gif, or .png file under 30mb and we'll print and frame it for you. Again, we validate the resolution of your file and won't print anything lower than 150 dpi so that you are pleased with the quality of your print.It’s easy. Just upload your photo and go. However, if you need to resize your photo and don’t have Photoshop or another tool, or have any other questions at all, reach out and we are always happy to help

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