I create my newsletter in InDesign, and then save it as a PDF. I typically print a few copies from Adobe Reader, but no matter how high quality I set the printer at, my photos always look horrible and pixelated. The photos aren't of great quality to begin with, but they look far worse printed than on the screen.

Is there a different way I should be saving the photos in InDesign before turning that file into a PDF? Is there a way to maintain image quality from ID to Adobe Reader?

  • What options do you pick when exporting the PDF?
    – AndrewH
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 15:29
  • 1
    Sure you're using a high enough PPI when making the doc?
    – emmet
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


There are a couple of things to address here, the most important being the initial quality of your images. If you say yourself that the images are of low-quality, that should be an indication in itself that you need to source some higher quality images.

Just because the images look decent on screen (72 PPI), does not mean they will look good in print (300 DPI). An image that you may have placed in a certain layout in ID may look ok on your computer, because the screen is only 72 PPI. When you print that document at 300 DPI, you are essentially stretching a small image to fit the dimensions that its 300 DPI version should have had, causing the pixelation.

You should be using 300 DPI CMYK TIF photos, for raster images.

The second issue to address is how you've configured your PDF export settings. To ensure the highest quality images as possible, assuming file size is not an issue, disable all compression.


  • The comparison of pixels on screen to the dpi of a printer is not accurate. In your reasoning, a printed picture should look better because the printer is capable of finer increments (smaller dots). This is not how resolution works. For one thing, printing involves using halftone screens to approximate shading.
    – user8356
    Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 19:03
  • I wouldn't be too worried about using TIFs either – high-res JPGs or PSDs are just as good.
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 19, 2016 at 0:11

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