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How To Edit DPI on Microsoft Paint

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The How To Edit DPI on Microsoft Paint

It’s reader’s question time again and today it’s all about image resolution. The full question was, “What is image resolution, why should I care, and what is the best resolution to post on my blog?” Also, how can I change the DPI in MS Paint? ‘Two separate but related questions, so I’ll answer both in this tutorial.

Quick response BollyinsideYou can’t, but about DPI and PPI below! Read the article for more information

Image resolution is an important topic to understand if you are a blogger, Instagrammer, want to be an above average Snapchatter, or your images to look great online. It’s also a bit complex and while we know how many megapixels our camera phones are capable of, few people know how that relates to image resolution or what resolution works best online.

What is image resolution?

Image resolution refers to the number of pixels an image contains. The more pixels there are, the higher the resolution and the more detailed the image. The more detailed the image, the larger its file size. A lower resolution image would contain fewer pixels and therefore less detail. It would also be a smaller file.

It can be useful to think of a pixel as a mosaic dataset. Individually it doesn’t mean anything but placed in a bigger picture it contributes to the whole. The smaller the tile and the more tiles in a mosaic, the more detailed the image.

Image resolution is measured in PPI (pixels per inch) and the higher the number, the more detailed the image. The lower the number, the less detailed and larger the pixels are to make up the image. Go too low and you see each individual pixel and the image becomes “pixelated” meaning you can see each square rather than the detailed image.


DPI (Dots Per Inch) looks like PPI but is not. PPI refers to the number of pixels that appear on a screen while DPI refers to the number of pixels that appear when printed. Confused, I know, but someone thought dividing them was a good idea. Or at least not rename them when dot-matrix printers were a thing of the past.

Even more confusing, there is no set standard for DPI. Different printers will have different ways of handling this, so you never really know what you’re going to get unless you know your printer.

Monitors display pixels in fixed sizes and pixel density is decided by the screen, not the image. Most HD monitors will display between 72-300ppi regardless of the image resolution. Printers do not have fixed pixel sizes. Instead, most non-laser printers will print CMYK dots of different sizes depending on how you set up the image.

When dealing with DPI, the question you need to ask yourself is not how many DPIs you are dealing with, but what their size will be. Newspapers tend to print at 85 dpi and you can see the individual dots as you approach them. For most commercial print jobs 150 dpi is the practical minimum, but can be much more.

Since the first part of our question is for a blog, you would be more concerned with pixels per inch as they appear on screen, not DPI. The second part, about changing the DPI in MS Paint, is probably about printing the image, so DPI is more of a factor. Even though the two terms are used interchangeably, they are technically different.

What is the best resolution for posting online?

When preparing images for the web, you need to balance the details with the file size. You want an image resolution high enough to look good, but you don’t want the file to be so large that it slows down the page load. The industry standard is 72 dpi, but it is obsolete because PPI does not affect load time, file size does.

Since most cameras and camera phones made in the past ten years are sufficient for high resolution images, all you have to do is resize a good quality image to the dimensions you need. You then need to compress this image to make it as small as possible. If your image placeholder is 800 pixels wide, resize the image accordingly and use image compression to reduce the file size without compromising the quality too much. Two web services for reducing file sizes are http://www.shrinkpictures.com and http://www.picresize.com.

How can I change the DPI in MS Paint?

Changing the DPI in MS Paint is only relevant if you plan to print. As you now know, if you are preparing an image for the web, DPI doesn’t matter. It’s also defined by the image quality, so while you can see the DPI, you can’t change it.

  1. Open your image in MS Paint.
  2. Select File from the top menu, then Properties.

The DPI should be listed in the center next to Resolution.

Image resolution is a complex subject and I have only scratched the surface here to answer the question (s) asked. There are hundreds of sites on the web that can explain things a lot better than I can. Check them out if you like.

Do you have any other questions? Fun facts about the DPI vs PPI argument? Comment below!

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James Hogan
James Hogan is a senior staff writer at Bollyinside, where he has been covering various topics, including laptops, gaming gear, keyboards, storage, and more. During that period, they evaluated hundreds of laptops and thousands of accessories and built a collection of entirely too many mechanical keyboards for their own use.


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