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So I use a screenshot capture program to capture a part of the screen and copy it to the clipboard.

Whenever I paste it into Illustrator, the captured object is automatically resized to smaller and thus pixelated (zoom level always at 100%). It only becomes clearer when I make it bigger.

This doesn't happen when I use the built-in Print Screen function of Windows or when I paste it into Windows Paint or Photoshop. Also, it is the same with two different popular capture programs (SnagIt and Greenshot) so I suspect it comes from Illustrator.

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This is related to DPI settings. I won't be able to solve the issue without knowledge of the specific screenshot software you're using, but the software is assigning a DPI to the clipped image that doesn't match Illustrator's settings. See if the clipping software allows you to configure the DPI and try 72 or 300, depending on the profile you have set in Illustrator.

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