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Photoshop How To Print Actual Size

By | 25/08/2022


Get More Authentic Print Size Previews In Photoshop

In a previous tutorial, The 72 ppi Web Resolution Myth, we looked at a belief held by many digital photographers and web designers today that images destined for the web or for viewing on-screen need to be saved in Photoshop at a resolution of 72 pixels per inch. Some believe information technology allows their images to display properly on the web. Others believe a 72 ppi resolution prevents people from downloading and printing high quality versions of the image. Still, we learned in that tutorial that neither of these reasons hold true, and that 72 ppi hasn’t actually been a useful “standard” in over 20 years!

As nosotros learned in that tutorial, computer displays today all accept screen resolutions college than 72 pixels per inch, and we proved information technology by learning an like shooting fish in a barrel manner to detect your monitor’south actual screen resolution. In this tutorial, we’ll learn how to take that information, give information technology to Photoshop, and enjoy much more accurate on-screen previews of how our photos volition look when printed!

Version Requirements: To get the most from this tutorial, you lot’ll demand to exist using
Photoshop CS4 or higher
and that’s because we’ll be using a characteristic that Adobe first introduced in CS4. It is not available in CS3 or earlier. I’ll be using Photoshop CS6 hither just whatsoever version from CS4 and upward will do.

The Problem With Photoshop’s Print Size View

Photoshop lets us view our images at just about whatever zoom size we like using the Zoom Tool, and it also includes a few automatic zoom options under the View menu in the Menu Bar, like
Fit on Screen, which zooms the image to whatever size is needed for information technology to fit entirely within the dimensions of your brandish, and
Actual Pixels
which instantly jumps you to the 100% zoom level.

Yet ane zoom option under the View bill of fare has remained a mystery to most Photoshop users over the years –
Print Size. I’one thousand calling it a “mystery” to exist polite, merely well-nigh Photoshop users simply telephone call it “useless”, a more accurate description. At least, it’south authentic if you don’t know the 2 important things we’re about to learn – why information technology’s useless and how to prepare it!

Like Apple’s original 72 pixel-per-inch screen resolution standard from nearly 30 years ago, the goal of Photoshop’s Print Size view way was to give united states of america an accurate preview of how the image on your screen will look when printed. The way it’s supposed to piece of work is that when we choose the Print Size command from the View menu, Photoshop instantly zooms the image to whatever level is needed for it to announced on your screen at the same size information technology volition appear on newspaper. For example, if yous’re working on an image that will be printed as a 4×6, the Print Size command would display the prototype 4 inches x 6 inches on your screen. Non merely would this assistance y’all visualize the concluding printed effect, it would besides aid when sharpening the image for output. At least, that was the plan.

Here’due south the problem. In order for the plan to piece of work, Photoshop needs to know your calculator display’south screen resolution then it can do the math and figure out the correct zoom level, but Photoshop
know your brandish’south screen resolution and information technology has no manner of finding that out on its own. And so what does it do? It just assumes your screen resolution is that skilful ol’ 72 pixels per inch nonsense when information technology’s actually much higher than that. What happens when we do the math using the incorrect numbers? We get the wrong answer, and in the instance of the Print Size view mode, Photoshop ends up choosing the incorrect zoom level, resulting in a print size preview that’southward non even close to being accurate.

As an example, here’south an epitome I currently have open in Photoshop. At the moment, it’s being viewed at the 100% zoom level (young thinking adult female photo from Shutterstock):

young thinking woman in glasses with pen. Image licensed from Shutterstock by Photoshop Essentials.com

An image open up in Photoshop at 100% zoom.

I’ll open my Epitome Size dialog box by going up to the
menu in the Menu Bar along the top of the screen and choosing
Image Size:

Selecting the Image Size command in Photoshop. Image © 2013 Photoshop Essentials.com

Going to Image > Image Size.

Here, in the Document Size section of the Image Size dialog box, where we set up the size and resolution of the printed version of the image, we see that my image is current ready to print as a 4×6 (6 inches for the width, four inches for the superlative):

The Document Size section of the Image Size dialog box. Image © 2013 Photoshop Essentials.com

The Document Size section shows united states of america the size the epitome volition print based on its resolution.

Now that nosotros know how large the epitome will impress, I’ll click OK to close out of the Image Size dialog box, and then I’ll cull Photoshop’s Print Size view mode past going upwardly to the
menu at the top of the screen and choosing
Print Size:

Selecting the Print Size command in Photoshop. Image © 2013 Photoshop Essentials.com

Going to View > Impress Size.

According to how the Print Size view way is supposed to piece of work, Photoshop should instantly spring to whatever zoom level is needed for the image to appear on my screen at the same size information technology will impress, which in this example would be 6 inches across and 4 inches from acme to bottom. In other words, I should be able to take hold of an actual 4×6 photo, hold it upward to my screen and see that the size of the paradigm on my screen in Photoshop now matches the size of the photo.

And notwithstanding, that’s not the example. My image is
being displayed at 6 inches 10 iv inches on my screen. Information technology’s actually being displayed much smaller. If I take hold of a ruler, I can speedily measure it and encounter that it appears roughly 3.8 inches across and 2.5 inches top to bottom. That’s not even close to beingness an accurate on-screen preview of the print size:

The image is being displayed at the wrong size on the screen. Image © 2013 Photoshop Essentials.com

The paradigm should be 6×4 inches on my screen. Something’s non correct.

Let’s wait down in the bottom left corner of the interface where we run across that Photoshop has ready the zoom level of my image to
24%. This, according to Photoshop, is the correct zoom level for making my paradigm appear 6×4 inches on my screen. That’s great, except that information technology’due south apparently wrong. Why is information technology wrong? It’south considering Photoshop is wrongly assuming that my computer monitor’due south screen resolution is 72 pixels per inch:

The current zoom level of the document is 24%. Image © 2013 Photoshop Essentials.com

The electric current zoom level appears in the bottom left corner of the screen.

Finding Your Actual Screen Resolution

How do we fix that? Nosotros find out what our reckoner display’s bodily screen resolution is and and so we give that information to Photoshop. First, we need to find our screen resolution using a simple test. If y’all’ve already done this footstep from the previous tutorial and you have the information handy, yous can skip this part and move on to the next step.

To find your display’s screen resolution, take hold of a ruler or tape measure (a tape measure is probably easier). So, measure the screen’due south width, in inches, from left to right. Don’t include any of the border area effectually the screen. Mensurate simply the screen itself. If yous need to, round the measurement off to a single decimal place. In my case, my screen’southward width is 23.iv inches, simply of course yours may be different (figurer monitor photograph from Shutterstock):

Measuring the actual width of the computer screen. Image licensed from Shutterstock by Photoshop Essentials.com

Measure the width of your screen (not including the outer border).

Next, brand sure your computer monitor is running at its
native display resolution, which gives you the actual number of pixels in your display from left to right and height to bottom. For example, a screen with a native display resolution of 1920×1080 has 1920 pixels from left to correct and 1080 from top to bottom. The monitor I’g using runs at 2560×1440. Whatever your monitor’s native display resolution is, make sure it’south what yous have it prepare to in your operating arrangement’s brandish options.

And so, simply take the commencement number in your monitor’s native display resolution, which gives you the screen width in pixels, and divide information technology by your measured screen width in inches. This volition give you the bodily screen resolution in pixels per inch. For example, I’ll take the start number in my display resolution, 2560, and carve up it past my measured screen width in inches, which was 23.four. Using my operating arrangement’s handy built-in calculator, 2560 ÷ 23.4 = 109.4, which I’ll round off to 109. So, using this easy test, I’ve quickly figured out that my display’south screen resolution is
109 pixels per inch, not 72 pixels per inch like Photoshop had assumed. Again, your screen resolution may be different, but it will certainly be college than 72 ppi.

Giving The Screen Resolution To Photoshop

Now that we have our actual screen resolution, we need to enter it into Photoshop and we do that in the Preferences. On a Windows PC, go upwards to the
menu at the top of the screen, choose
manner down at the bottom of the listing, and then cull
Units & Rulers. On a Mac, become upward to the
menu, choose
Preferences, and so choose
Units & Rulers:

Selecting the Units and Rulers Preferences in Photoshop. Image © 2013 Photoshop Essentials.com

On a PC, the Preferences are under the Edit menu. On a Mac, they’re under the Photoshop menu.

This opens the Preferences dialog box set to the Units & Rulers preferences, and hither’s where nosotros find the trouble. The
Screen Resolution
option (directly below the Print Resolution choice that we don’t need to worry virtually) is set by default to 72 pixels per inch, which is why the Print Size view mode isn’t working properly:

The default Screen Resolution value in Photoshop is 72 pixels per inch. Image © 2013 Photoshop Essentials.com

Photoshop’s default Screen Resolution value is 72 pixels per inch.

To gear up the problem, simply supplant the 72 with your correct screen resolution. In my case, it’s 109:

Entering my actual screen resolution into Photoshop. Image © 2013 Photoshop Essentials.com

Enter your actual screen resolution.

Enabling OpenGL (Photoshop CS4 And Higher)

Don’t close out of the Preferences dialog box only yet considering there’s one more quick matter we need to practice. Select
in the listing of preference categories forth the left of the dialog box:

Selecting the Performance preferences in Photoshop. Image © 2013 Photoshop Essentials.com

Choose the Performance preferences.

If you’re using Photoshop CS6 as I am, make certain the
Use Graphics Processor
option is checked (in Photoshop CS4 and CS5, the option is called
Enable OpenGL Drawing). This allows Photoshop to access the OpenGL capabilities of your video bill of fare for advanced, hardware-accelerated screen rendering. At that place’s a whole listing of features this enables in Photoshop, but the one we’re virtually interested in here is that information technology helps display a sharper, more than accurate image at zoom levels other than 100% (like our Print Size zoom level, for case). Note that if, for whatever reason, the choice was not enabled and you only enabled information technology now, y’all’ll need to close out of whatsoever open up documents in Photoshop and and so re-open them for OpenGL to take consequence:

The Use Graphics Processor option in the Performance preferences in Photoshop. Image © 2013 Photoshop Essentials.com

Make sure “Utilize Graphics Processor” (CS6) or “Enable OpenGL Drawing” (CS4/CS5) is checked.

Trying The Print Size View Fashion Once again

One time you lot’ve entered in your actual screen resolution and made certain the OpenGL feature is enabled, go ahead and shut out of the Preferences dialog box. You should now accept a working Print Size view mode! To test it, I’ll once once again go upwards to
menu at the top of the screen and cull
Print Size:

Re-selecting the Print Size command in Photoshop. Image © 2013 Photoshop Essentials.com

Going back to View > Print Size.

And this fourth dimension, now that Photoshop knows what my actual screen resolution is, it’s able to figure out the right zoom level for my image to display 6 inches x 4 inches on my screen. This, combined with the OpenGL features nosotros made certain were enabled in the Operation preferences, gives me a much more accurate preview of what my image will look like when printed:

The Print Size view mode now works in Photoshop. Image © 2013 Photoshop Essentials.com

The Print Size view mode now works more like it should.

If you remember, back when Photoshop was still thinking my screen resolution was 72 ppi, it chose an incorrect zoom level of 24% for the Print Size view mode. This time, knowing what my screen resolution actually is, it was able to select a more than accurate zoom level of 36.33% (yours may be unlike):

The correct zoom level for an accurate Print Size view mode. Image © 2013 Photoshop Essentials.com

Photoshop chose the correct zoom level this time for an accurate print size preview.

And there nosotros have it! That’due south how to easily find your display’s bodily screen resolution (not 72 ppi), enter it into the Preferences, and become more accurate on-screen results from the Print Size view mode in Photoshop!

Source: https://www.photoshopessentials.com/essentials/print-size/