What resolutions/formats do printers need (please help me)

I am supposed to give some information about developing a web/print online image archive. Now the customer needs to know which image formats should be provided for print.

I’d say something like 300dpi A4 or A3 would be max, but I thought I’d ask some of you first. Regarding the format, printers seem to be keen on TIF, but high quality JPGs seem to be alright for my eye.

Do you think all of the above formats need to be saved in CMYK? Guess so… :slight_smile: Not sure whether JPGs and CMYK actually go together.

As you may notice, I have no clue about printing, so any help is welcome.

funnily enough i save all my stuff as RGB PNG’s when taking it to the printers.

i have only ever had one printer complain and give me bad colours in my life. all the rest has set up their colour correction/automation process to convert RGB to CMYK.

although printers do technically preffer CMYK.

Tiff is definately the preffered option, you can compress tiffs using JPEg compression i believe, but i don’t know how standard that is.

150-300 DPI is the definate requirement, 300 is better and normalyl most preffered, sometimes if i am in a hurry and can’t wait for the computer to do its crap i use 200 DPI for ram reasons.


Printers don’t like Jpeg and they can sometime come out black and white. Jpeg compression also means you lose some quality thus it is not really a pratical format.

PNG is a lossless format, thefore it is pretty good to use for printing, However, PNG does not support CYMK nativly (same with Jpeg) so the printer will be converting RGB to CYMK at their end which could be any type of colour space conversion meaning, a RGB>CYMK conversion of the image at your end might be different to theirs.

TIF, ideally is best…

There is no specific DPI, generally the viewing distance /type of print can change what DPI is accecptable… For example, Posters which are viewed at a distance 100-150DPI is acceptable, some places wont accept 300DPI since it’s not needed and it takes loinger for the ink to dry (which can lead to multiple pages sticking). 300DPI is the general norm. for books and other close up media… i.e. books, magazines, brochures… 600DPI+ High quality prints etc, The massive billboards can be as low as 20DPI

EDIT: where possible always use vectors, I.e. text /illustrations, never convert them to a raster image since the quality wont be as good. In this case the format you’d want would be PDF with the images and fonts tagged along with it… If it’s all vector you might get away with EPS, but i don’t think many printers like this format on it’s own.

Hi there, all professional printers require 300dpi images usually in Tif or Eps in the CMYK color space. By professional I mean large printers who use Komori or Heidleberg presses, not Canon equipment. There is a difference to how these printers work than toner-based or inkjet-based solutions that essentially requires high resolution imaging to print without looking low quality. I have tried 150-200 dpi, but both times I’ve tried this the end result was not great. The ONLY reason I tried this was a low res logo from a client who no longer had the original vector art.

Go with high res, and call some printers to find out what they use, what the requirements are as far as file delivery, and I cannot stress thiss enough, make sure your colors are CMYK safe. Good luck!


Thank you all for your responses.

I still have some questions:

Why do JPGs come out b/w sometimes? Just interested when/why this happens.

When I convert RGB to CMYK, I often hardly see the difference. Is my Image CMYK ‘safe’ then?

I Don’t know why Jpegs print black/White, i only know that it is possible. Jpeg is considered an unsupported format since it discards data - and thefore qualty is decreased whereas an easily avliable alternative format doesn’t.

Chances are it prints B/W because the software doesn’t properly support the format since it shouldnt be used.

You hardly see any difference because naturally, a normal RGB>CYMK conversion is simply picking the closest matching CYMK colour… so the change won’t look much different… that and addictive colour space is totaly differernt than subtractive colourspace.

But in reality, if you want the printed image to look exactly like whats on screen, you’d have to edit the image quite a bit and then it would look absolutly differernt than originally.

However, some colours do change alot and, when printed definatly looks differernt. The idea is to use an on-screen CYMK colour space and past experience to judge what the colours are going to come out like… converting to CYMK is just a more accurate scale for you.

Also, as i said - sending a RGB file to a printer isn’t the best idea since even if the CYMK conversion on your end looks “alright” they might be using differernt software which can result in a totaly differernt RGB>CYMK conversion.