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Troubleshooting

Which file format you choose has a big impact on how your photographs and illustrations are reproduced online and on the printed page. Most problems that people have with images come from choosing the wrong format, or setting the wrong resolution or color depth. Unfortunately, if you format a picture to a lower resolution, you can’t reformat it back to its original resolution; if you go from 300 dpi down to 72 dpi, your picture is now 72 dpi, no going back. This is a good reason to always keep your original image file intact, and make all changes to a copy of the file. You’ll always have your original, at its original size, resolution, and color depth, in case something goes wrong with your editing or formatting.

If you try to make a print from a file created at a lower resolution or color depth, you’re likely to be dissatisfied with the result. A 72 dpi file created for the Web will not make good 5 x 7 color prints, whether you’re using your own color inkjet or the professional printer at an online photo service. Not even the best professionals can add resolution or color to a picture, so your output quality is limited to that of the source material.


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