How can I make a screenshot of a graph smaller with Illustrator or Photoshop without losing quality? I am using a Macbook Pro with retina display. I also have a monitor without retina display.

I usually take screenshots in Chrome. When I size them down with Illustrator or Photoshop -- by resampling and also not resampling -- the end result is very pixelated. The graphs have thin lines and text. Please let me know if I should use a different technique, browser, etc.

I also tried bicubic sharper in PS. As I understand, pixels are thrown out when sized down so it may be impossible to maintain crispness in thin lines...?

  • what do you want to do with the reduced image? is it for print or just for screen presentation?
    – hsawires
    Mar 28, 2015 at 5:57
  • 1
    Making it smaller will result in information loss, no matter what you do (at least this applies to pixel-based images). That's kinda the point of making something smaller. What are you trying to do anyway?
    – MoritzLost
    Mar 28, 2015 at 11:05
  • Hi Denise, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your question. If you want to know more about the site, please see the help center or ping one of us in chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site! Mar 28, 2015 at 13:19
  • I'm aware that it will lose pixels, but it seems to become too lossy since the image looks poor at the smaller size. I am reducing some images for web and even smaller ones for print.
    – Denise
    Apr 1, 2015 at 0:04
  • I assume the lines and text become excessively pixelated since they are already comprised of a small number of pixels and reducing the size results in these elements losing too much info.
    – Denise
    Apr 1, 2015 at 0:06

1 Answer 1


You have, in effect, answered your own question:

As I understand, pixels are thrown out when sized down so it may be impossible to maintain crispness in thin lines...?

This is the reason why what you are asking is not possible. The resolution of your monitor does not have anything to do with the process that is taking place when you downsize.

You can experiment more with the kinds of downsizing algorithms that Photoshop offers (you mentioned you've already experimented with bicubic variants). One option is to take your low resolution screenshots and put them into a high resolution document. This will effectively shrink your images without losing any of the actual pixel information.

For example, putting a 72dpi graph into a 300dpi document will make the graph smaller without losing any of it's pixels. However, this may not be possible if you are working within a digital space instead of a print space.

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