8 Replies Latest reply on Apr 2, 2015 1:01 AM by Migintosh

    Images print blurry from Indesign

    juliec43256725 Level 1


      I'm new to indesign and the images I put in my files always print (and appear in the file) as blurry. Does anyone know what I'm doing wrong? Also, what does linking images mean and how/why do you do so?

      Thank you!

        • 1. Re: Images print blurry from Indesign
          smoothsea Level 3

          Hi Julie,


          This can be because the images that you are using are not high enough resolution for print or that they have been enlarged in Indesign. They should really have an effective resolution of at least 200dpi to print properly. The display in Indesign is by default a low resolution proxy - you can turn on high resolution display in the view menu however, which will give you a better representation on screen.


          Linking images (as opposed to embedding them by copying and pasting into Indesign) is preferable because it keeps the Indesign file size down.


          Hope that helps.





          • 2. Re: Images print blurry from Indesign
            juliec43256725 Level 1

            Hi Malcolm,

            I set it to high quality in display preferences, however, it still looks the same. In photoshop I always set the resolution to 200 dpi, but have trouble when trying to resize the image in indesign. Also, how do you link images?

            Thank you so much!

            • 3. Re: Images print blurry from Indesign
              Michael Witherell Adobe Community Professional

              Never copy n paste a picture from Photoshop to InDesign.

              Always use the File > Place command to bring in a named image file.

              Therefore, a linked graphic is a placed graphic. The term link means a path and filename leading to the original Photoshop image file that you saved and parked in a folder somewhere nearby your InDesign document.

              • 4. Re: Images print blurry from Indesign
                smoothsea Level 3

                Hi Julie,


                You link images by choosing File > Place and selecting your image in the dialog. Ideally, you wouldn't resize the image in Indesign, although I would probably do it if it was a case of sizing to 80% or so. Certainly don't try to enlarge the image in Indesign though. Check your links palette - you can choose various options for display, including actual resolution and effective resolution - you'll see that any image that has been enlarged in Indesign will have a lower effective resolution.


                Placing is far preferable to pasting because you can make changes to a linked image in Photoshop and then have all occurrences of that image update automatically in Indesign.





                • 5. Re: Images print blurry from Indesign
                  Migintosh Level 4

                  To add just a bit of detail to the responses so far, Hi-Res preview is only intended to make images look better on screen, so that you may position them more accurately, and has no affect on print output. It may also make your document a little slower to scroll around, so I like to leave it at Typical Display most of the time, and only High Quality Display when I need to see it very clearly. Also, if your image is 72ppi or lower, it won't give you a better screen look.


                  As to resolution, you need to decide on a target resolution, and make sure your images aren't below that number in their effective resolution. Your target resolution will vary, depending on what you intend for your design. For example, if you want to print a newspaper ad, you will need a lower resolution than if you were printing a glossy fine art photo book. The best thing to do is to know in advance what will be printing the piece, and check with the printers or pre-press people to find out something called the Line Screen or Line Resolution. That's the number of lines-per-inch that a particular printing device can print. Generally, you want to double the line screen and that will be your target resolution. Newsprint may be 85lpi (lines per inch, which can also be explained as lines per cm if you are on the metric system), so your target resolution will be around 170ppi (pixels per inch). 133lpi can be done by some presses, and 150 by others, so you would need 266 or 300ppi for those. When in doubt, go with the higher number.


                  The downside of too low resolution is blurry images. The downside of too high resolution is too much data, but unless you go way overboard, it might not be as big a deal these days as it used to be when storage size was more expensive. It also takes time to send the data to the Raster Image Processor (RIP), which is the part of the system that organizes the fonts and images into something that can be printed, so more data can be more RIP time, which may mean an upcharge, but there are too many variables to give you an "always do this instead of that" rule to follow. If you want a rule-of-thumb, think of 300ppi a good number to use for print, but your mileage may vary.


                  If you make a 2"x2", 300ppi image in Photoshop and place it in InDesign by clicking on the document, it will likely place at 100%, and have an effective resolution of 300ppi. You can check the resolution (both actual and effective) in the Links pallet. Here are two screenshots of the Links window where I have indicated the resolution:



                  If you click while placing and drag the cursor before letting up the mouse button, the image will be scaled to the size of the area in which you drag the mouse. If the area is smaller than the 2x2 of the example image, it will have a higher effective resolution, because you are packing the pixels into a smaller space, and therefore concentrating them to a higher resolution. If you drag a size larger than 2x2, it will have a lower resolution for the inverse reason. You can also change the size of the image after it has been placed in several ways, but the easiest is to hold the Command key (Mac OS) and drag a handle. As you drag, the image will get either larger or smaller. In the first screen shot, the image is 300ppi at 49%, for an effective PPI of 612.


                  If you also hold the Shift key, it will change size proportionally, but without the Shift key, you will make it either wider or taller if you don't drag just right (and nobody drags just right, so use the Shift key if you need it to be proportional and you want to do it that way). The second screen shot shows the same image, but I have changed the size unproportionally, so you get different resolution for the width (612 at 49%) and the height (240 at 124.9%). This is because I stretched the height more than the width, so it covers a larger area, has more size, and therefore fewer pixels per inch.


                  As Smoothsea has said, if you can place your images at 100%, that's a good thing, but I think it's OK to enlarge them in the InDesign stage as long as you don't go over the target resolution. There was a rule of thumb in earlier years that the computer had to work harder to output an image that was scaled than it was to output an image that wasn't. That may still be true, but I haven't seen that recommendation for a while, so I think today's computers are more up to the task, and it's less of an issue, and possibly not a significant one. Others may not agree, and I would be happy to hear and consider their reasons. If, for example, you placed an image with an effective resolution of 2,400ppi, you would probably want to scale it down in Photoshop with resampling to something that you can place at 100%, but if the image is 400ppi, and you are placing it at an effective resolution of 300ppi, I don't think there's much point in changing the resolution in Photoshop without resampling just to have it at 100%, rather than leaving it at 400ppi and scaling it to 133% if that's the size you want it to be. My 2¢.

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Images print blurry from Indesign
                    juliec43256725 Level 1

                    Thank you so much! This is so informative!! Our printer told us to put all the photos in 200 dpi, but they haven't said anything about lpi; should I ask? However, when I export to a pdf, the images on my file do not look blurry; does this mean it will print well? Does enlarging the photos in photshop make them blurry, or will they be alright as long as you keep proportional?

                    • 7. Re: Images print blurry from Indesign
                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                      You don't need to worry about the LPI settings.


                      If the images in the PDF are OK, they should print OK, and enlarging in Photoshop will make no difference. If you change the dimensions In Photoshop without resampling it is exactly the same as just changing the size in InDesign. Resampling while enlarging in Photoshop is making ups pixels out of thin air and won't improve the appearance of an image.

                      • 8. Re: Images print blurry from Indesign
                        Migintosh Level 4

                        juliec43256725 wrote:


                        …but they haven't said anything about lpi; should I ask?

                        Peter is right. Lpi is only a way to determine your ppi, but if they already know what ppi they need, just make sure you have an effective ppi of 200. If they look blurry in ID but not in PDF, it's just a Display Performance thing. Go to View>Display Performance to select between the options (and their keyboard shortcuts), but remember it only affects the way you see it while you are working in ID.