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How to Increase the Resolution of an Existing Image With Paint.NET

Posted by Matthew on July 27, 2019

When we talk about image resolution, we usually express it in terms of dots per inch (DPI). DPI refers to a physical printout of an image; if your image is 800 pixels by 1100 pixels and is scaled at 100 DPI, then printing the image out will result in an 8″x11″ printout.

Images that are displayed on a screen are generally presented at their native size; that 800 x 1100 pixel image will take up 800 x 1100 pixels on the screen (or will only partially display if that’s bigger than the screen in one dimension or more).

You cannot actually increase the resolution of an existing image file in Paint.NET (or in any other image editing program). Once an image has been created, it is as detailed and as high-resolution as it can be.

Unlike “Star Trek”, we do not yet have that magical “magnify and enhance” technology that lets the viewscreen pick up a tiny four-pixel grey blotch on the screen and somehow turn it into a slightly-blurry but still fully-detailed Klingon cruiser, or whatever.

We can shrink image files and make them less high-resolution, but we cannot increase resolution… at least not yet.

What we can do is change the print resolution of an image so that it will be printed out at its maximum level of detail.

This article will show you how to do that with the freeware Paint.NET, a free photo and image editing software that runs on both Macs and PCs.

First, open Paint.NET and then select a photo to edit by clicking File and Open. Then click Image and select Resize from that menu. That opens the window in the snapshot directly below.

image resolution

That window includes a Resolution box that tells you the picture’s resolution either as dots per inch or per centimeter. Select pixels/inch from that drop-down menu. That will also switch the Print size values below that to inches.

Now enter a higher value in the Resolution box to increase the DPI res. Note that expanding the resolution also decreases the Print size values just below that. Now the image will print more dots per every inch. Thus, enhancing the resolution also reduces the image’s dimensions when you print it.

image resolution3

Most inkjet printers will probably have a DPI of around 300 to 600. Check your printer specifications for DPI details. Then configure the resolution so that it matches the printer’s maximum DPI value for the best possible quality printouts of your Paint.NET documents.

Adjusting the resolution will have no impact on the image open in Paint.NET. It’s dimensions will remain exactly the same. To adjust the picture’s dimensions in the Paint.NET window, you should alter the Pixel size values instead.

Click OK to close the window. Then press Ctrl+P  on a PC or Command-P on a Mac to bring up the Print dialogue box, then click Print to print the Paint.NET document.

With the resolution maximized, the image will print at a smaller scale and be sharper and crisper than lower resolution images.

So now you can increase image resolution in Paint.NET for best quality printing. If you can, print the image with high-res photo paper to further enhance the quality of the final printed output. It’s especially important to use high-res photo paper if you’re printing photographs that you intend to frame.

If you’d like to learn to use Paint.NET, a free image, and photo editing software package, you might want to check out some TechJunkie Paint.NET tutorials, including these:

Do you have any tips and tricks for using Paint to prepare photos to print? If so, please leave a comment below!

One thought on “How to Increase the Resolution of an Existing Image With Paint.NET”

Ron brinza says:
If I want to print something in a size of 2,5 inches by 3.5 inches how do I increase dpi without changing image size
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