10 Replies Latest reply on May 15, 2014 8:24 PM by rob day

    Resolution of screenshots in PDF




      I am creating an 8.5x11 PDF document that contains a screenshot. My workflow is take screen caputure > paste in Photoshop (resize/sharpen/trialerror) > save .png > drag .png into InDesign and set it to 100%. I cannot get the screen shot to not look blurry or pixelated no matter what I try. I understand when you zoom in on the PDF the screenshot will become blurry since it is not vector. However, I have the PDF set to 100% zoom and the screenshot is still blurry.


      I have tried resizing in Photoshop, changing the resolution, etc. I can't get it to a point where the screenshot looks decent. Can anyone offer some advice? I am using Photoshop CS5 and InDesign CS5. I also have Illustrator CS5.


      Thanks in advance,


        • 1. Re: Resolution of screenshots in PDF
          Rik Ramsay Level 4

          Have you tried going to View > Display Performance > High Quality Display?

          • 2. Re: Resolution of screenshots in PDF
            Anthonymcp Level 1

            Yes, it looks fine on the pasteboard/canvas. The issue is with the exported PDF.

            • 3. Re: Resolution of screenshots in PDF
              Rik Ramsay Level 4

              I suppose it would depend on your export PDF settings. Are you exporting as lowest quality, highest quality etc? Also, within each setting, it shows the image resolution. make sure these are where you would like them to be.


              Edit:// I noticed your tag in there for 'interactive'. Same applies for the Interactive PDF setting as you will need to change the jpeg quality and ppi setting at the bottom of that dialogue.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Resolution of screenshots in PDF
                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                What are you doing to the screen cap in Photoshop? The correct answer should be NOTHING but saving in your format of choice. You cannot improve the quality of a screen shot by manipulation. Place as-is in ID, then scale if you must, and set your downsample threshold in the export dialog sufficiently hight that the screen caps are not resampled. YOu might want to swith to Zip compression, or none at all, too.

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Resolution of screenshots in PDF
                  Anthonymcp Level 1

                  I am indeed using the Interactive settings since this isn't going to print.


                  I think I just got it to work. I have been manipulating the file in Photoshop but this time I dragged the untouched png into InDesign. It was huge so I scaled it down to fit. When I exported, it was still blurry so I tried 96 PPI and it was still blurry. If I set it to 144 it's not blurry anymore. Thank you Peter and RikRamsay14. (300 PPI isn't blurry either but I think it's safe to assume 144 is good enough. 300dpi is for press, right?)


                  Should I export for Print or Interactive? I can only see those downsampling and zip compression options when exporting for print. It seems like exporting for Interactive at 144PPI and only scaling it in InDesign works fine.


                  Thank you!

                  • 6. Re: Resolution of screenshots in PDF
                    rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Any resampling (up or down), sharpening, or compression will degrade a screen capture.


                    So if you export for print, do as Peter suggests: set sampling to Do Not Downsample and Compression to None.


                    If you have to export for interactive, make sure the capture's Effective Res (see Info panel) doesn't exceed 300ppi and set Compression to JPEG 2000 Lossless with Resolution at 300ppi. There's no point to setting resolution to 144 because you never want a downsample to occur.

                    • 7. Re: Resolution of screenshots in PDF

                      This has been really helpful for when using Png's etc within indeign. How about pdf settings when I have a PSD placed within the indesign file?


                      I am getting really poor quality still when using the above settings for files with PSD's in. The PSD files have bitmaps in but have layer styles applied such as a drop shadow, is this where the problem lies?


                      Thanks in advance



                      • 8. Re: Resolution of screenshots in PDF
                        Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                        There shouldn't be any difference based on the file format. Can you give us some more details about what your images are? Are they being scaled? Perhaps some screen shots would help...

                        • 9. Re: Resolution of screenshots in PDF

                          Sorry for digging this up, but I've encountered this issue recently and found the cause - people coming here from google searches may find this useful.


                          If you do everything properly (that is when you do everything as advised - do not scale images, use no compression when exporting, etc.) the image in PDF *is* crisp and properly embedded. The issue lies within Adobe Reader. Allow me to explain:


                          Your screen resolution is most probably 96 dpi. This is the original resolution of your screenshot. Exporting it at higher dpi won't do much - it still won't be blurry *only* when displayed at 96 dpi or higher, regardless of resolution you export at. That's not a problem, because 96 dpi is the resolution most displays use.


                          For some bizzare reason Adobe Reader has a default setting of displaying documents at 110 dpi. If you go to Edit > Preferences... > Page display you can change this setting to 96 dpi. Your PDFs will look as intended after doing that. The images also display correctly in Chrome's built-in PDF viewer, as it displays them in 96 dpi by default.


                          There is no way to fix that. You simply cannot change user's reader settings.


                          Also, you might have thought "well, can't I just set the images resolution to 110 dpi when exporting my PDF?". That won't help - as the screenshots are taken in 96 dpi, increasing their resolution will make them blurry. They still will only be crisp when viewed at the resolution they were taken.

                          • 10. Re: Resolution of screenshots in PDF
                            rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            That's not a problem, because 96 dpi is the resolution most displays use.


                            I have three Macs with displays running at 98, 108, and 220, so I don't think you can expect some common display resolution. And as you can see Acrobat lets the user choose what resolution is used for the 100% view, and on top of that you can't control what zoom percentage the client has chosen.


                            When you scale a screen capture in ID before exporting its effective res could be anything—if your capture happens to be 96ppi and you scale it to 50% on the page, its exported res will be 192. As the page is scaled for display the capture gets resampled —a 1:1 screen to image ratio is unlikely.