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How do I set DPI in InDesign?

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  • How do I set DPI in InDesign?

    I have used InDesign a few times in the past to make posters for conference presentations. Never had this problem before. I have made a poster, and I can not for the life of me figure out how to set the resolution to something more appropriate for printing (300dpi is good enough for this project). The project is currently at 72dpi - which I guess is the default res. Am I retarded? Where do I change resolutions?

    P.S. I am currently using the 30-day trial version of InDesign. Is this version crippled for high-res?

  • #2
    Well, InDesign itself is a layout program naked of resolution, you simply lay your elements out on it. It's those 'elements' that resolution is determined. So in other words, it's quite possible to put both a 72 dpi graphic on there along with a 300 dpi graphic. In other words, you'd set your raster image resolution in something like Photoshop and import those files into InDesign.

    If it's 'LPI' your wanting to know (wanting to print out and screen the document), that's in the output section of the print dialog box.

    Patrick Shannon

    'Dear valued customer, go home and die. Signed, your friendly graphic artist.'

    My War With Culture
    Political incorrectness reinvented.


    • #3
      In other words, if you put a 72dpi graphic into InDesign there is no magic button that will make it 300dpi.

      If you are having output problems, check to see what format you image is in. Sometimes eps files will print poorly to a non-postscript printer. Try tif.

      PD is a grande format digital print dude. His advice/opinions may not apply to the 4color/offset/web world of printing


      • #4
        Hate to be a stickler about this – wait… actually, I like being a stickler about this.

        It's not DPI. You're not working with dots. You're working with Pixels. So what you're asking is how to set the Pixels Per Inch, or PPI.

        And as already pointed out, raster images will have a PPI equal to whatever they have been saved at, but the application itself does not really use PPI per se.

        The industry moved to using the term PPI someplace in 2000 or so. Since we work on screens, it's all PPI. When you print ink you get DPI, since often the ink is applied as dots (in one method or another).

        Just a little technicality there to clear up. ^^
        Feeding the devil to save the sinners...


        • #5
          Whoa horse.

          Here's an official way to put this (from

          What's the difference between dpi and ppi?

          Even though many industry professionals use the terms dpi (dots per inch) and ppi (pixels per inch) interchangeably, they shouldn't. Dots and pixels are not the same thing: dpi is a measurement of printed dots per inch on a paper; ppi refers to the number of picture elements (pixels) gathered by a scanner or viewable on a screen. There is no one-to-one correlation between the resolution of digital data (600 ppi) and the resolution of a printed image (600 dpi).

          Which is basically what grfxgawd said.

          So you could give me a 20ppi image to print (which is technically 20dpi of digital data and would look like ass) and I could print it on a 600dpi printer. Your image would be printed with 600 dots per inch of ink but it would only have a resolution of 20dpi. You would see 'pixellization' of 20 little squares per inch but printed quite finely with very tiny inkdots.

          PPI is not in relation to monitors it's in relation to the pixels gathered by whatever method they are gathered. Monitors (except for the new hi-def ones) are 72 pixels per inch. Monitors will display my 300ppi image at 72ppi.

          Designers are always getting image resolution mixed up with ink spewage. Just because a printer can print at 2400dpi doesn't mean you want to send me an image with that resolution. And it doesn't mean I'll print it that high either even if you do send it.

          PD is a grande format digital print dude. His advice/opinions may not apply to the 4color/offset/web world of printing


          • #6
            There's no magic button, no... But InDesign does work out an effective ppi value. Go to the info palette and select a frame containing a raster image. It'll give you an actual ppi (ie: the ppi the image is saved at) and an effective ppi (based on how large the image is displayed). This means you can effectively reduce a 100ppi image to 50% and output a 200ppi image. Though I wouldn't condone the lazy method -- usually seems to cause problems later.

            But uh, yeah... I'd use photoshop or similar to save your images at the right resolution.

            I would've taken over the world, but I got distracted by shiny things.

            Ooo! Shiny things!
            "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
            --Albert Einstein


            • #7
              In review the 'monitor' thing is too much a generalization, I agree.


              Monitors are not '72dpi'. I won't get into it though 'cause the math way past escapes me. I've got friends smart enough to be able to explain it, but alas, I don't have that sort of mental horsepower.

              Lets just say they were kind enough after witnessing my violent convulsions from their technical dissertation to murmur something to the extent, 'Monitor resolution and PPI are not directly relational to one another.' If anyone is really curious, you can google the subject and there are a couple really nice explanations on the web about monitor resolution vs. ppi.

              I think if we both kick this back and forth a couple more times well get it all down solid! LOL

              (The moral of the story kids is that we work with PPI, and PPI and DPI are NOT the same thing. I'll step back from the forum now for a moment before I hurt myself.)
              Feeding the devil to save the sinners...


              • #8
                Yeah, someone tried to explain monitor resolution in larger terms to me once too.

                Let's keep it simpler.

                When the 'industry' may have changed the terminology they shoulda sent out a memo. Course they may have done just that and no one read it.

                Monitor, inkjet, all the various press printing, continuous tone, screen printing, etc, ad nauseum...
                Just know what you need for resolution and know the difference between output res and image res, no matter what the 'output' medium is.

                PD is a grande format digital print dude. His advice/opinions may not apply to the 4color/offset/web world of printing


                • #9
                  And while we debate back and forth let's note that the original poster here has never returned.
                  I'm wondering if he's trying to print files using pdf and has his export settings set to 'screen'.

                  PD is a grande format digital print dude. His advice/opinions may not apply to the 4color/offset/web world of printing


                  • #10
                    The eternal MIA poster. They come, they post, they dissapear...

                    I got the memo from Scott Kelby at Photoshop World 2000 in Orlando, FLorida. He said it once, and said it clearly... I didn't forget it.

                    You post a lot of really helpful stuff, PD!

                    ALL generalizations are BAD.
                    Feeding the devil to save the sinners...






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