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How To: Modify output resolution (dpi) for ArcMap printing or exporting

Summary

Instructions provided describe how to modify the dots per inch (dpi) or output resolution from ArcMap default when printing or exporting at a higher or lower resolution.

Procedure

  • When printing with the Windows printer engine:
    1. From the Print dialog box, click Properties.
    2. Although all Windows printer drivers are different, most have either a Resolution or Print Quality setting. To print at the highest resolution, select the highest Resolution available (usually 600 dpi) or Print Quality Best mode; to print the lowest resolution, select the lowest Resolution available (usually 300 dpi) or the Print Quality Draft or Fast mode.
    
    Note:
    The actual resolution when printing with Windows depends on the type of media loaded in the printer.
    [O-Image] Modify DPI for Windows printing
  • When printing with the PostScript printer engine:
    - Select the PostScript printer description PPD file:
    1. From the Print dialog box, click Properties to open the PostScript printer properties.
    2. On the Color Separation tab, select the printer's manufacturer, such as HP, from the Vendor drop-down list and select the printer model, such as HP DesignJet 5000PS, from the Device drop-down list. This is the PostScript printer description (PPD) file.
    3. Click OK.

    [O-Image] How to select a PPD file in ArcMap

    - Select the output resolution:
    Once the appropriate PPD file is selected, modify the resolution by selecting a dots per inch/lines per inch setting from the Halftone drop-down list. 
    These settings are dependent on the PPD file; some printers have more resolution options than others and some do not have any to select from at all.

    [O-Image] Modify DPI for ArcMap PostScript printer
  • When printing with the ArcPress printer engine:
    - ArcMap 9.2 and above:
    1. Navigate to File > Print.
    2. Click the Printer Engine drop-down list and select ArcPress Printer.
    3. Click the Properties button. 
    ArcPress automatically senses what output resolutions are supported by the printer selected and displays them.
    4. Click the Resolution drop-down list and select the output resolution desired.

    [O-Image] ArcPress DPI at 9.2

    - ArcMap 9.0 and 9.1:
    1. Click File > Print.
    2. Click the Printer Engine drop-down list and select ArcPress Printer.
    3. Click the Properties button.
    ArcPress automatically senses what output resolutions are supported by the printer selected and displays them.
    4. Click the Resolution drop-down list and select the output resolution desired.
    The resolution may be typed:
    Click the Resolution drop-down bar and type in the desired output resolution.
    Note:
    The resolution entered may not be supported by the printer and may cause the map to print incorrectly.
    [O-Image] ArcPress for ArcMap 9.x: setting output resolution

    - ArcMap 8.x:
    1. Click File > Print.
    2. Click the Properties button.
    3. Verify that the appropriate ArcPress driver is selected, because drivers have different resolutions' settings available.
    4. Click the Resolution drop-down list and select the desired output resolution.
    5. Click OK.
    [O-Image] [O] Modify DPI for ArcPress printer
  • ArcMap 9.x and above exporters:
    - EMF, EPS, PDF, AI, and SVG
    1. Click File > Export.
    2. Click the 'Save as type' drop-down list and select one of the vector exporters: EMF, EPS, AI, PDF or SVG.
    3. By default, the output resolution is 300 dpi. Click in the output resolution edit box and type a new number or click up or down on the spinners to change the output resolution.
    [O-Image] ArcMap 9.x setting DPI for vector exporters
    - BMP, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, GIF
    1. Click File > Export.
    2. Click the 'Save as type' drop-down list and select the raster type to be created.
    3. Click the Options down arrow if the Options are not visible.
    The default output resolution for the raster exporters is 96 dpi.
    4. On the General tab, click in the output resolution edit box and type in a new output resolution, or click the up and down spinners to set a new resolution.
    
    Note:
    Each raster export type has additional settings that affect the output quality and ultimately the file size. These options are available on the Format tab.

    [O-Image] ArcMap 9.x setting the output resolution for raster exporters
  • ArcMap 8.x exporters:
    - EMF, EPS, TIFF, PDF, CGM, and the ArcPress formats PCX, PNG, JPEG, and TIFF
    1. From the Export dialog box, click Options.
    2. Change the resolution by typing in a new dpi in the Resolution box or clicking the up or down spinners.
    3. Click OK.
    
    Note:
    The Options dialog box is slightly different for each format; however, the Resolution works the same for all.

    [O-Image] Modify DPI for EMF, EPS, TIFF, PDF, CGM & ArcPress export

    - BMP
    A BMP exported from ArcMap is always exported at 72 dpi; however, the image height and width can be adjusted to obtain the resolution desired.
    
    When the exporter options dialog box is opened, the height and width text boxes are automatically populated with values that represent the map at 72 dpi. Divide this value by 72, and multiply the result by the desired resolution to obtain a correct image size. Be sure to calculate both the height and width identically to keep the correct image aspect ratio.
    
    For example: The image width is 816 pixels and 300 dpi are desired.
      816 pixels / 72 dpi = 11.33
      11.33 x 300 dpi = 3399 pixels
    
    Change the width text box to read 3399 pixels and perform the same calculation for height.

    [O-Image] [O] Modify DPI for BMP export

    - JPEG
    1. From the Export dialog box, click Options.
    2. Change the resolution by typing in a new dpi in the Resolution box or clicking the up or down spinners. 
    3. Change the quality by moving the slider to the desired point in between Max (maximum) and Low quality.
    
    Note:
    Resolution does not equal quality. Quality affects the amount of compression applied to the image, whereas resolution sets the number of pixels in the image. A low quality setting means greater compression and a smaller file size, but at the expense of low image quality. Compare the following images: same resolution, different quality settings.

    3. Click OK.
    [O-Image] Modify DPI for JPEG

    - ArcMap export format default resolutions
    EMF - 300 dpi
    BMP - 72 dpi
    EPS - 300 dpi
    TIFF - 96 dpi
    PDF - 300 dpi
    JPEG - 96 dpi
    CGM - 300 dpi
    All ArcPress export formats - 96 dpi.
    Note:
    When exporting, always set the Output Image Quality to Best.

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