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1. First create a 12 x 9 inch Photoshop document with 360 pixels per inch and add horizontal and vertical lines after each 12 points. (Edit: 360 is simply what I use myself. You may test it with, for example, 300 instead, - there will be the same issue.)

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2. Then select the Type tool, select 10-point Courier New and put a line of 72 characters. This line will take exactly 6 inches:

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3. Save this file as TIFF/PNG/JPEG, close Photoshop, and open it in Preview, and type the same number of characters using the same 10-point Courier New using the Tools > Annotate > Text tool. Notice the actual font size is now smaller:

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Black: 10-point Courier New in Photoshop; Red: 10-point Courier New in Preview; Blue: 12.2-point Courier New in Preview.

Why is that? That is, why 10-point Courier New text we added in Preview (red) is smaller than 10-point Courier New text we added in Photoshop (black)?

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Preview and Pages are not professional-level tools. They are made for grandparents, parents, students, and non-professionals. Apple does nothing to make these tools applicable in professional design. Pages is a text editor not an image tool - it doesn't care at all about resolution.

Specifically, type sizes in Photoshop are entirely dependent upon the document resolution and the pixel density of your screen. Neither Pages nor Preview consider things like document resolution or pixel density. 12pt type in Photoshop will be different sizes when document resolutions are different.

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Both documents are 500x500 pixels and shown at 100% zoom.
The only difference is the document resolution.

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  • Scott, thanks. I do know Preview is not a professional tool. But notice the image PPI haven't changed, it is simply 360. And the screen is also the same, I tested both apps on the same Macbook. I do understand Photoshop is "right" and Preview is "wrong" here, but I would figure out why the whole issue happens. How it might be that Preview treats fonts 122% smaller. There should be some explanation...
    – jsx97
    Jul 21, 2023 at 0:54
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    Preview is very unreliable for stuff like this. As posted, it's not for professional use. Therefore Apple doesn't waste resources trying to be as accurate as professionals may require. Preview is just designed to show things at all times, it doesn't care if it's pixel perfect. My point is that Photoshop sees and adjusts to 360ppi.. To be perfectly honest, I haven't touched Preview in a decade (although I've always been a Mac user). Preview is just entirely unreliable if you need things specifically accurate. It's a throw away image and PDF viewer for your grandparents, that's all.
    – Scott
    Jul 21, 2023 at 0:58
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    You would need to ask Apple why Preview is not as accurate -- but the short answer is because 99% of Preview users simply don't care and professionals are using more professional tools (like Photoshop). You're comparing throwing a baseball at a brick wall, as opposed to a target. Preview just needs to hit the wall, that's all.
    – Scott
    Jul 21, 2023 at 0:59
  • I use Preview simply because it allows me to edit multipage TIFF files, which is a big part of my workflows. Photoshop cannot edit them, as far as I know (I have tested today, but I might be wrong). Or maybe there is another professional tool for this. It seems multipage TIFFs can be edited in Gimp, but I really don't like its aesthetics.
    – jsx97
    Jul 21, 2023 at 1:05
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    Yeah multi-page Tiffs are a failure for Photoshop. I've requested support many, many times, but it's still not there. I have always used GraphicConverter (no affiliation) for multi-page Tiffs.
    – Scott
    Jul 21, 2023 at 1:06

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