For most people who use printers on a daily basis to print emails and other documents, the resolution may not be of great concern. Basic printers have a high resolution that leaves every document looking professional, but photo printers must deliver good-looking photos that are detailed and have a high smooth resolution.

If the print quality and vivid details are extremely important in your work, then there is plenty for you to know about the printer resolution.  

So what does resolution mean?

Image resolution is the PPI which denotes how many pixels are displayed per inch of every image. Higher resolutions mean that there are more pixels per inch that result in more pixel formation, creating a high-quality crisp image. Lower resolution images have fewer pixels and if the few pixels are too large, it means the image has been stretched until the pixels can be visible. This is not right for any image because it does not give a clear photo.


What does printing entail?

A normal printer works through an aspect known as DPI – dots per inch. This is what determines the results of your paper once you have printed out your work. The following is what good printing entails.  

    • Dots per inch – This is an art of the printers applying ink or toner onto the paper. Different printers print differently, for example, a laser printer melts dots of toner against the paper while inkjets have nozzles that spray drops of ink. The more dots you squeeze into a square inch, the sharper the resulting image. For example, a 600 DPI printer is able to squeeze 600 dots horizontally and 600 dots vertically in each square inch of the sheet of paper. Some inkjets have a higher resolution in one direction than the other, like 600 by 1200 DPI. The higher the resolution, the crisper the printed image.  
    • Improved DPI – Printers can also place dots of different sizes, shapes or even intensities onto the paper, making it change the way the finished product looks. Some printers are even capable of undertaking an optimized DPI printing process, meaning their print heads improve the placement of ink drops in order to improve the quality of prints. Improved DPI occurs when the paper moves through the printer in one direction more slowly than normal, and as a result, the dots somehow overlap. The final result is attractive and rich to look at. This technique uses more ink and time than the normal printer with normal settings.
    • You can print at the resolution that you want – Let no one lie to you that more is necessarily better. For the majority of daily users, printing every document in the highest possible resolution is a waste of ink and resources. Most printers come with a draft ink quality setting that allows them to print quality for less ink. The document prints quickly using as little ink as possible. It may not look very perfect but it is quite clear and good enough to meet the daily needs.

dot per inch

  • So what is good enough? This question can be answered depending on what you want from your printing. For example:
  • For business documents that come with graphics, 600 DPI is just fine.
  • A normal handout to the board of directors requires about 1200 DPI which work magic to your presentation.
  • An average photographer requires 1200 DPI to make his work look excellent.

All of these different specs are well within the reach of most ordinary printers in the market today. If your printer is among those that are over 1200 DPI, you will find it nearly impossible to see any difference in what you are printing. There are exceptions, of course, that want a higher resolution due to their work, like a professional photographer who wants about 1,440 DPI or higher. In short, everyone has different needs when it comes to printing their daily work, but all these printing demands can easily be met.

  • Does the ink play any part? Of course. The resolution is not just the DPI but also the kind and quality of ink used. Laser printers make text look sharp and outstanding because they use a toner to print. This toner does not bleed into the paper like the ink does. If your main purpose is to print black and white only, then a monochrome laser printer is all you need. In short, understanding the need for the printer and investing in the right kind of printer is vital to getting quality work from your printer.

Remember to always use the right quality of paper to get the best results!