Is 72 DPI the Same Thing as 300 DPI?

Image quality is of the utmost importance when it comes to image printing and graphic design. Having a high-quality image is essential for posters, billboards, websites, and more. The sharpness of an image is determined by DPI (dots per inch). 72 DPI and 300 DPI are common image settings. Is 72 DPI the same thing as 300 DPI?

72 DPI is not the same thing as 300 DPI. 72 DPI is better for digital use, while 300 DPI is better for printing. 72 DPI looks clear at a small size, like on a computer screen, while keeping a smaller file size to load quickly on web pages. 300 DPI has more detail and can be printed in larger sizes while keeping its clarity.

Read on to learn more about how 72 DPI is not the same thing as 300 DPI. Both image settings result in high-quality graphics, but where the images are transferred plays a huge role in how they will look for marketing, advertising, and clear descriptions. Below, you will see the differences in 72 DPI and 300 DPI as well as their beneficial uses.

Is 72 DPI The Same Thing As 300 DPI?

72 DPI is not the same thing as 300 DPI. How you are planning to use your images determines what DPI setting it should have. Some DPI measurements are better for online publication, while other resolutions appear more clearly for print copies.

No DPI setting is the same. There is a reason 72 DPI and 300 DPI are represented by different numbers. The number in front of the initialism tells the resolution of the image. With certain software, you may want to adjust the resolution of an image to make it appear more clearly for your purpose.

For an electronic screen such as a laptop or smartphone, lower resolution works more efficiently. Trying to use a high-resolution image can result in you not being able to upload the image to your online template. Of course, a resolution that is too low may be blurry, but that is a quick fix.

Printed images need higher resolution to display as much detail as possible. Just because an image appears clearly on your computer does not mean it will maintain the same quality when printed in larger dimensions. Similarly, too much resolution can stretch an image and make it look awkward when printed, especially for something as large as a billboard.

What Does DPI Represent?

As you might already know, DPI stands for dots per inch. This tells how many pixels per inch are in an image, and for printing, how many dots are transferred from the pixel information. More pixels in each inch of an image result in higher quality. When there are more individual dots made, the image is made clearer, rather than fewer dots taking up more space and taking away from the detail.

If you notice that an image display appears blurry, it is likely due to its DPI measurement being too low. A resolution that is too high may stretch your image and distort its appearance. With certain software, you can alter the DPI setting of your image to make it more suitable for your graphic design purposes.

DPI goes hand-in-hand with PPI (pixels per inch), but they are not exactly the same. In most cases, however, they are used interchangeably. The bottom line is that PPI measurement applies more to the actual pixels used on-screen, while DPI measurement is more specific to print copies. Both are important for online publication and concrete printing.

Can You Use 72 DPI and 300 DPI Interchangeably?

You can use 72 DPI and 300 DPI images interchangeably, but it is not going to help your design endeavors. Perhaps you have heard that 72 DPI and 300 DPI are the same thing. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Each measurement works well for different functions.

Both 72 DPI and 300 DPI are regarded as standards for graphic design qualities, but their usefulness applies to two different graphic design purposes. 72 DPI is best for some instances, while 300 DPI works better for others. See below to learn how each should be used.

Best Uses For 72 DPI

72 DPI is the best resolution to use for online designs. Most images set at 72 DPI will appear clearly enough on your computer, while keeping a small file size to load quickly on web pages. 72 DPI means that there are 72 dots per square inch of the photo, and that should be plenty for a digital image.

Of course, 72 DPI specifically may not work the best for every image you use online, in which case you can raise or lower the resolution to fit your needs. However, 72 DPI is a general starting point and typically works well for most digital designs.

In terms of images used for marketing and digital signage on electronic billboards, you may need to raise the resolution. As an electronic billboard is much larger than a phone, tablet, or computer, it may require higher resolution to display clear digital signage.

Overall, 72 DPI should be the resolution you start at when editing an image for an electronic design. 72 DPI is almost always sufficient for online publication.

Best Uses For 300 DPI

300 DPI is the best setting for printing. As mentioned, just because an image appears clearly on a computer does not mean that it will look the same when enlarged and printed. In fact, this is probably never the case. Even when printing a standard size poster, you will likely need to go for a higher resolution than 72 DPI.

Because print designs are going to be enlarged and appear bigger in the concrete copy, you need to make sure that your image has as much sharpness as possible. Starting at the measurement of 300 DPI is ideal. You may not notice any changes on a computer between 72 DPI and 300 DPI, but you will when the image is printed.

Printing in or around 300 DPI will allow your image to come out clear with as much sharpness as possible. As with using 72 DPI for online images, your printed image may not look perfect at 300 DPI. You can alter the DPI slightly lower or higher to fit the clarity you need.


72 DPI is not the same thing as 300 DPI. Both measurements are useful for graphic design, but they are not interchangeable. 72 DPI is suitable for editing images for online publication, while 300 DPI is better for print copies of edited images.