I have an inkjet printer with a maximum resolution of 2880 x 1440 DPI and I was wondering two things:

  1. Does printing an image with a high PPI resolution makes the printer use more ink?

For example, I have printed an image (on photographic paper) at 300 PPI, then I increased the PPI on the image to 600 and the improvements were barely noticeable, so I wondered if that minimal quality increment on the print used a lot more ink.

  1. Also, if I print an image with out changing its PPI but increasing the printer's quality settings to the maximum, will use more ink than if I print the same image using a lower quality setting?

3 Answers 3


1: No. The printer will print the image using the most appropriate resolution it has at its disposal. This is why we have drivers.

2: Short answer, yes. Long answer, it depends. Depending on how the printer software uses the word "quality", the printer may use more or less ink. In some cases, a "draft" quality will use less ink (and produce a lower quality print) than a "fine art" quality. Check your printer's manual.

  • 1
    Right. The image we provide for processing is resampled by the driver to whatever the driver wants or needs it to be. Similarly, when a plate is made for offset press, the halftone settings determine the dot size, not our image. We try and provide enough samples (pixels) for the next step to have enough data to work with.
    – Yorik
    Dec 2, 2015 at 15:06

Note that you cannot alter an image's PPI (pixels per inch) in-printer, only DPI (dots per inch). Modifying PPI can only be done in an image editing application. By various terms it's called “up-res'ing” because you're upping the resolution through interpolation. That is, you're making up data that isn't in the original file. This is why you didn't see any appreciable increase in image quality. The data simply wasn't there. Remember you can always throw data away, but can never get it back. Hence the desire for "lossless" compression schemes. As a side note: while often seen in use –and many applications for "print" support their import– .JPG is not a lossless scheme, and is therefore not a print-quality image format in any but the most marginal quality situations.

Considering the ink usage question, think about this from a physical/ mechanical standpoint. If you go from laying down 300dpi to 600 dpi, you’re taking a single dot that defines an area of color (nominally the size of a pin point), and laying down two dots half the size of that single dot in the same area. In order for those two dots to be distinct as two dots, there must be space around them. Therefore, there ought to be fractionally less ink consumption.

Actual results may vary.

  • Not sure if your explanation applies to inkjet (not sure for offset either). Technically there will be a drop of ink anyway and everywhere on the sheet; that drop will simply be "duplicated" on a lower resolution and "unique" on a high resolution. In a similar way as pixels are shown on a monitor. But inkjet will still apply ink everywhere when standard mode is used. I don't think there's a huge difference in ink with extra high or normal resolution, if any.
    – go-junta
    Dec 3, 2015 at 8:46

Ink usage does not depend on resolution, it depends on what paper quality setting you have.

Higher resolution print puts smaller dots and lower resolution printing puts bigger dots, bigger dots are bigger drop if ink so it is actually more ink for the same area if two of your paper are the same kind. For that reason higher resolution ink drop has less color appearance or less vivid, so! even if you print higher resolution and select plain paper option, they are not actually your highest quality print. because letter size plain paper cannot accept large amount of ink due to its low density. It will smear through the entire paper.

So what printer does is puts smaller dots but not once! many layers of smaller dots to make color stands out!!high quality photo papers are able to accept all that amount of smaller dot ink drops and keep them in the same spot unlike plain paper blurs it out. so higher resolution vs low resolution on the same paper?? high resolution is definitely less ink, but!! if you select (or automatically selected higher quality photo paper) then higher resolution definitely consumes at least twice more ink. Higher resolution print on different papers have different color intensity.

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