How to Change GIMP DPI Without Changing the Size

When you change the size of your GIMP window, it can be difficult to keep the image quality the same. If you’re using a high-resolution image, you may find that your image quality decreases as the size of your window changes. To fix this, you’ll need to set a new GIMP DPI.

Open GIMP, find your File menu, and select “more details”. Choose the “Options” tab. In here there should be an available DPI column that you can adjust and play around with to find the DPI you want. Once, done, don’t forget to save the changes.

By changing the DPI (dots per inch) of your GIMP installation, you can decrease the number of dots that are displayed on your screen. This will make it easier for you to see what is on your image and may also improve its clarity. Keep reading to learn how to do it. Keep reading to learn how to do it.

How to Check DPI of Images

There are a few different ways to check the DPI (dots per inch) of an image. One option is to right-click on the image in your file browser and select “Properties” from the menu. Then, in the “Details” tab, scroll down to the “DPI” section.

A second option is to select the image in your file browser, then press Ctrl+Shift+I (or Cmd+Shift+I on a Mac) to bring up the image info window. There, you can simply type in the DPI you’re looking for.

Does DPI Affect Image Quality?

DPI is a measurement of how small an image is on the screen. It doesn’t change the resolution of the image, so you won’t lose any quality.

In theory, a higher DPI makes an image look “smaller”, which can make it easier to fit on the screen. However, this is only the case for images that have been scaled to a specific DPI in the first place.

Let’s say you have an image that’s been scaled to 72 DPI. If you then try to scale that image up to 300 DPI, it will look “smaller” because it’s been upsampled from 72 DPI. If you try to scale an image up to 300 DPI, the results may be unpredictable. The size of the image will be different depending on how high and wide you increase the resolution.

Can You Increase DPI on a JPEG?

The short answer is yes, you can upsample a jpeg to any DPI you choose. The long answer is a bit more complicated.

First, it’s important to understand where the jpeg compression comes from in the first place. The main idea behind JPEG compression is to create a smaller file that’s “looks” the same as the original.

The compression process reduces the amount of data in the image, but it doesn’t actually change the underlying information in the image. To upsample a jpeg, you’d simply upsample the image itself. This would require taking an image with a lower DPI and scaling it to the DPI you want.

Set your GIMP DPI by Using Terminal

If you don’t mind getting a bit technical, you can also use the dpinfo utility to find out the actual DPI of your system. This can be useful if you’re trying to troubleshoot a less-than- intuitive GIMP setting.

Run dpinfo in a terminal and it will return the DPI of your system as well as other information about your graphics card.
Using GIMP’s Settings Dialog

If you’d rather not go through all that trouble, you can also change your GIMP’s DPI via the Settings. To do this follow this file path:

  1. Settings
  2. System
  3. Display Menu

Once you’re in this menu, select “DPI” and you’ll be given the option to select a new DPI.

To change the DPI of images you’ve already loaded into GIMP, select Edit > Preferences from the menu. In the window that pops up, select the Images tab, then click on the “DPI” button near the top.

Change GIMP DPI by Using .desktop Files

If you want to change the DPI of the GIMP, you can do so by editing the .desktop file. To edit this file, open it in a text editor such as Notepad or WordPad. Once opened, make sure that you are browsing through your ~/.gimp folder and find the gimpmgr package (.pkg) and then select it from the list of files Advanced, Package Management, and finally Sources.

This is the file that’s located in your home directory (i.e., ~/.gimp-2.8). The .desktop file defines what programs start when GIMP is launched, along with other useful information.

Simply open the file in your text editor of choice, and look for the line that starts with “Desktop Entry”. After it, you’ll see lines that contain the word “DPI” and the desired DPI. Simply replace the word DPI with the new value you’d like.

Change GIMP DPI by Using .config

If you’d rather not mess with any of these advanced techniques, you can also just change the DPI in GIMP’s settings. Open the Settings window (via the Edit menu) and select “Interface”. From here, you can choose a different DPI.

If you want to go even further, you can also change the size of your icons in the same window. You can choose from 8×8 pixel icons (best for low-DPI displays), 16×16 pixel icons (good for most displays), or 32×32 pixel icons (ideal for high-DPI displays).


There are a lot of different ways to change the DPI in GIMP, and it’s important to know which one works best for your system.  Because this can be complicated, many individuals forgo adjusting settings for the simple use of apps like to get the job done.

You should also know that the DPI setting actually only applies to the GIMP window, not to other programs, which have their own settings. This means that if you set the DPI for a program like Photoshop, you won’t actually see any difference until you open your image in GIMP. While keeping your DPI at 100% will ensure that everything looks as sharp as possible, you may still want to change it if you’re using a low-DPI display.