How to Change Resolution (DPI/PPI) in Adobe Illustrator

Many people just creating designs for the web usually don’t worry about the resolution because the default 72 ppi works just fine. That might not be the case if you design for print. Your design intent will determine whether or not you will change the image resolution.

However, changing image resolution in Illustrator is easy. You can change it when creating a new document, working on an existing one, or exporting your file. 

Hi, I am Rita. I have been using Adobe Illustrator for over five years. I have changed image resolution at different points in my design. In this article, I will show you how to change resolution in Illustrator.

Key Takeaways

  • You cannot directly change the DPI in Illustrator. The resolution is fixed based on the image’s pixel dimensions.
  • Illustrator primarily works with vector-based images (which are resolution-independent). You can freely scale vector objects or change ppi without losing quality.
  • The easiest way to scale a raster image without losing its quality – is to convert it to a vector. Use the Illustrator Image Trace tool to convert your raster image to a vector. 

What’s the Difference Between DPI and PPI?

DPI (Dots per Inch) refers to the number of ink dots on a paper that the printer outputs. It simply refers to the printer’s resolution. If you are not creating print designs, you shouldn’t worry about DPI resolution.

300 dpi is regarded as a high resolution for print. Your print design intent (small or large print) would determine whether to go higher or lower.

PPI (Pixels per Inch) refers to the number of pixels per inch of a digital image. PPI gives you an idea of the number of pixels a screen can display. The default PPI is 72; however, the higher the PPI, the more crisp the image quality. 

You wouldn’t want to use a very high resolution for the web because of its weight. 

In summary, ppi is for web, and dpi is for print. Adobe Illustrator is not a print-based program, so there is no option to change dpi. 

The best option is to save your AI print designs in an EPS or PDF format. That way, the printer can easily open the document with their preferred software, change dpi, and make other adjustments. 

You can only adjust the ppi resolution in Illustrator, and I will show you three methods.

Method 1: Change the Resolution of a New Document

One of the direct ways of changing the resolution ppi in Illustrator is when creating a new document. Let’s see how this works in practice.

Step 1: Open a new document from the overhead menu and select File > New. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl/Command + N to create a new document. 

Step 2: Change your image resolution. You will see the setting window once you create a new document. Go to the Raster Effects option to change the resolution. 

You’ll see a drop-down menu that allows you to select your preferred resolution. 

Click on the Advanced Option to view the raster effect option if you don’t find it in the new document settings window. If you still don’t see it in the Advance Settings, click on More Settings to change the resolution. 

Method 2: Change the Resolution of an Existing Document 

Are you in the middle of a design and discover that you need to change the image resolution? That’s easy!

You can change the resolution ppi in Illustrator on an existing document in these easy steps.

Step 1: Go to the overhead menu and select Effect > Document Raster Effects Settings.

Step 2: Choose the ppi resolution option from the Resolution field. 

If the ppi options from the drop-down don’t meet your need, click Other to input your preferred resolution ppi. 

I’ll type in 250 ppi for my image resolution. 

Step 3: Once you are satisfied with the settings, click OK to save your settings. 

That’s it. 

Method 3: Change Resolution When Exporting Your File

Changing the resolution ppi when exporting your file is convenient because you concentrate on your design and fix all the issues with your image when exporting.

Okay, let’s see how this works in detail.

Step 1: Export your document. To do that, go to File > Export > Export As

Step 2: Save your exported image. To save your image, select where you want to keep it, name it, and then choose a file format before clicking on Export

I’d choose the JPEG format for my image.

Step 3: Once you click Export, the display window will pop up. Go to the Resolution field to change the PPI resolution by selecting from the drop-down options or clicking Other to input your preferred resolution. 

Note: The Resolution field is located at different positions depending on your selected file format. If you choose PNG as your preferred file format, you might see the resolution field earlier in the display window. 

Step 4: Click OK to save your settings. 

That’s it. 

If you need more clarification on your document, PPI, go to Window > Document Info to see the resolution.

Final Thought

You can change the resolution easily at different points. When creating a new document, working on an existing one, and even exporting your file. Any of the methods work well.

People often use dpi and ppi interchangeably, but they are different. So, if you are working on an Illustrator file, you are changing the resolution ppi and not the other way around.

Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comment section below.

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