Choose the right image resolution

A few tips to remember when selecting and providing digital images for a publication.

You want to acknowledge another agency in your publication by including their logo, which you can download from their website. And you’ve taken the perfect photo to illustrate an important point, so you want to scan it for your publication. How can you be sure the images will print well in the final document?

Tips when selecting and providing digital images

  • Consider image resolution. Most images on the Internet are 72 dots per inch (dpi) for fast downloading. This resolution, however, is inadequate for print reproduction. Before scanning images, discuss the production process with your editor or printer. For Xerox Docutech (photocopied) documents, we recommend scanning slides or photos at 200 dpi. For offset printing, scan photographs at 300 dpi and line drawings at 600 dpi. Images scanned at lower resolutions don’t reproduce well.
  • If you provide an image from a photo CD, most CDs contain several versions of each image. Select the version that is closest to 200 dpi. If the size is indicated in pixels rather than dpi, choose the middle or second-to-lowest pixel size (e.g., 768 x 512).
  • Consider the file format. When scanning a photo or slide, you usually can rely on the scanner software’s default settings. If possible, save the image as a TIFF (.tif) file—a format that works on both PC and Macintosh computers.
  • Send us the digital text and graphics files separately (don’t embed the graphics in a Word file). This allows us to refine the digital images, insert them into the final document, and give you a higher quality product.
  • Remember to ask whether the image is copyrighted. If so, obtain written permission from the copyright holder (e.g., publisher or photographer) before providing us with the file. This also applies to images that you download from a website. Most importantly, it’s easier to ask questions before delivering the project.

Please contact a editor at EESC if you have any questions.