Difference Between DPI and PPI

Digital images are made with pixels. A pixel is the smallest element of a digital photo. It is controllable.

When a digital image is zoomed in there are a lot of tiny squares which are blue, green, and red. These are pixels. They cannot be normally seen on a digital picture but zooming in a little will reveal the pixels.


The main difference between DPI and PPI is that DPI means the number of dots per inch of an image while PPI means the number of pixels per inch. PPI and DPI are two important terms in editing and printing. Both the terms are responsible for the quality of an image.


DPI expands as Dots per inch. It is the quality of an image in the case of physical printers. Printers work on a principle by making tiny ink dots to produce an image.

The number of dots per inch of an image determines the clarity and the quality of the outcoming printed image.

PPI determines the quality of a digital image viewed on a digital screen. It is the number of pixels a screen can display. It also refers to the number of pixels in an inch of an image.

Pixels are further divided into sub-pixels. Sub pixels are red, blue, and green elements that blend to form a pixel.

Comparison Table Between DPI and PPI

Parameters of Comparison DPIPPI
ExpansionDots per inch Pixels per inch
Definition DPI is defined as the density of dots present per inch of a printed image PPI is the number of pixels present per inch of a digital image
DeviceDPI is the characteristic of printersPPI is the camera or screens resolution
Colors usedCyan, magenta, yellow, and blackRed, green, and blue colors are used to form pixels
Adjustments The DPI value of an image to be printed can be changedPPI value can be changed and a high PPI value increases the size of the image

What is DPI?

DPI is the value that determines the resolution ability of a physical printer. DPI uses the subtractive color model in which cyan, magenta, yellow, and black color models are used to determine the amount of light reflected and what color is produced.

These colors are used in a way to print a pattern which on the whole lets our eyes perceive a different color. Dots are used to print the pattern the density of these dots is the DPI.

The number of dots present per inch greatly affects the quality of the printed image. The DPI value changes for each type of printer. So, the clarity of the printout depends on the type of printer used.

Higher resolution in a printed image can be obtained by having more dots per inch. The higher the DPI value higher is the resolution of the image.

Laser printers have a high DPI value of 600 to 2400 DPI while Inkjet printers have a DPI of 300 to 700 and some photo printers have high resolution.

DPI refers to the ability of a printer to produce quality printouts. Different printers have different DPI values and thus the print quality differs in every printer. Photo printers will give a good quality printout since it has a high DPI value.

What is PPI?

PPI or pixels per inch defines the quality of a digital image. A digital image is formed by small pixels grouped. The density of these pixels within an inch is the PPI value.

A higher PPI value indicates a higher quality of the image. The image viewed on a digital screen like mobile and computer screen with high PPI will look better than the image with a low PPI.

Screen resolution also varies for every type of device and it also affects the resolution of the image.

The image with a high PPI or resolution has a high storage size. The quality of an image depends on the camera it was shot with.

Camera’s have a fixed value of resolution and they can be adjusted. A picture taken with a top-notch camera will have a high resolution compared to the image taken with an ordinary camera.

When an image is to be printed PPI of the digital image determines the number of pixels that are used to make on DPI. If the print taken is large the dots produced representing the pixels will be distributed throughout the larger print.

But in the case of a smaller printout, the dots are compactly or densely distributed in the print.

Main Differences Between DPI and PPI

  1. DPI is the number of dots present within an inch of a printed image but, PPI refers to the pixels present per inch on a digital image
  2. DPI value shows the ability of a printer to produce quality printouts while PPI is the camera or screens ability.
  3. DPI determines the print quality while PPI determines the digital image quality
  4. PPI value is considered during transferring a file to get it printed. Whereas, DPI is used by the printer to print small dots on the paper.
  5. The PPI value of an image can be changed or adjusted. The DPI value can also be changed.
  6. DPI uses four colors to print the dots which collectively produce different colors. But, in PPI subpixels of red, green, and blue are used.
Difference Between DPI and PPI


DPI and PPI values are both considered while printing a digital image. If the PPI value of a picture is low it can be resampled to get a larger printout.

However, resampling can result in loss of image quality. So, it is not recommended. The terms DPI and PPI are used commonly during taking printouts.

PPI also determines the print size of an image. DPI doesn’t have anything to do with the digital image but it is the working ability of a printer.

The pattern of spraying ink is determined by the software of the printer. This can be controlled by changing the setting of a printer. Though DPI and PPI are used interchangeably they are not the same and both are very different.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/319815/
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