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Pixels per inch or pixels per centimeter is a measurement of the pixel density of an electronic image device, such as a computer monitor or television display, or image digitizing device such as a camera or image scanner. Horizontal and vertical density are usually the same, as most devices have square pixels, but differ on devices that have non-square pixels.

Pixels per inch (PPI) or pixels per centimeter (PPCM) is a measurement of the pixel density (resolution) of an electronic image device, such as a computer monitor or television display, or image digitizing device such as a camera or image scanner. Horizontal and vertical density are usually the same, as most devices have square pixels, but differ on devices that have non-square pixels.

PPI can also describe the resolution, in pixels, of an image file. The unit is not square centimeters—a 100×100 pixel image printed in a 1 cm square has a resolution of 100 pixels per centimeter (ppcm). Used this way, the measurement is meaningful when printing an image. It has become commonplace to refer to PPI as DPI, even though PPI refers to input resolution. Industry standard, good quality photographs usually require 300 pixels per inch, at 100% size, when printed onto coated paper stock, using a printing screen of 150 lines per inch (lpi). This delivers a quality factor of 2, which is optimum. The lowest acceptable quality factor is considered 1.5, which equates to printing a 225 ppi image using a 150 lpi screen onto coated paper.

Screen frequency is determined by the type of paper the image is printed on. An absorbent paper surface, uncoated recycled paper for instance, lets ink droplets spread (dot gain)—so requires a more open printing screen. Input resolution can therefore be reduced to minimize file size without loss in quality, as long as the quality factor of 2 is maintained. This is easily determined by doubling the line frequency. For example, printing on an uncoated paper stock often limits printing screen frequency to no more than 120 lpi, therefore, a quality factor of 2 is achieved with images of 240 ppi.

The outside of the square shown above is 200 pixels by 200 pixels at zoom 100%. To determine a monitor's ppi, set the browser's zoom at 100%, then measure the width and height, in inches, of the square as displayed on a given monitor. Dividing 200 by the measured width or height gives the monitor's horizontal or vertical ppi, respectively, at the current screen resolution.

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