I'm no genius at all of this mumbo- jumbo as you can probably already tell. Basically I need to save an a3 size poster off Illustrator but it's not giving me a very good quality image (I'm trying to send it off to be printed).

this is the image

this is a print screen of the exported image as 'save for web'


  • My artboard is already a3 size,

  • I've tried save for web - the jpeg is really bad quality

  • I've gathered that I somehow need to get it to 300dpi but can't work out how when saving for web?

Thanks in advance!

  • 1
    You have left out an explanation of why are you saving an illustrator file to a raster format before printing? This goes against your ideal of wanting a high quality typography print? Sep 1, 2017 at 21:43
  • Ask them if they accept pngs, the effects you're seeing is because of how jpeg compression works, if they still insist on jpeg maybe you should switch the print service.
    – SitiSchu
    Sep 4, 2017 at 9:04

3 Answers 3


Don't use jpg or any raster format.

Save as either a native .ai file, a .eps if transparency isn't an issue, or a .pdf file. All of these formats are best suited to save Illustrator artwork for print.

There's really little to no reason to ever save an Illustrator file as a .jpg for printing.

  • Hi, thanks so much for replying! I need it saved as jpg because that's all my photo printing service will accept. Ive managed to save it as a pdf (looks brilliant quality) but it will not let me upload it as a pdf onto the printing service website. Is there any way of saving a jpg as a better quality? Sep 2, 2017 at 14:51
  • @FelicityRoseHarris Consider using another service. Anyway use File -> Export
    – joojaa
    Sep 3, 2017 at 9:24

In addition to @Scott's answer, I also wanted to point out something in your question that is important to understand as a newbie.

I've gathered that I somehow need to get it to 300dpi but can't work out how when saving for web?

When you export something for use on the web, it is optimized to be viewed on a monitor of some sort. No monitors can show 300 dpi (dots per inch). Even the highest resolution monitors are limited to about 220 ppi (pixels per inch, which is roughly equivalent to dpi)--or at least this was the case back in 2014 (see this article).

In practical terms, the majority of monitors that are used for viewing the web can only show about 100 dpi--so when a piece of software optimizes an image for viewing on the web, you are asking it to reduce the image size to allow it to open quickly, and telling it that the image does not need any more than 100 dpi (actually, many programs optimize for the web at 72 dpi).

If you want to export an image for printing, you need to use a different export option. In Illustrator, the best way to do this is to use the Export As or Save As options, and select one of the file types that Scott mentions in his answer. You should be offered the option to choose the resolution of your saved image, and as long as you pick a high or maximum value, you should be in good shape.

  • HI @magerber thanks so much for replying.. the only reason I need it saved as a jpg is because the printing service I am using needs a jpg. It will not accept any other format. I've tried saving as a pdf and its brilliant quality as expected but it will not let me upload to printing service in pdf format :( Sep 2, 2017 at 14:54
  • I don't have Illustrator here to check, but you might be able to "export as" (not export for web) to jpg and just tweak the export settings for high quality (300 dpi). If not, if you have acrobat pro, you should be able to export as a jpg and just make sure the settings there are highest quality. You could also open the PDF in photoshop and re save as a "best quality" jpg.
    – magerber
    Sep 2, 2017 at 16:33

The others here are right, for print there's usually no need to output jpegs from Illustrator. Vectors are much better than raster images for this, particularly for type, logos or line art, etc.

However it is possible to do what you want if jpeg is the only format the print service you are using will allow.

A3 = 297mm x 420mm = 11.69" x 16.54" @ 300dpi = 3507px x 4962px

In the Save for web dialog, click on the Image Size tab, and type in 4962px as the height, and hit Apply.

You will probably get a warning that the size exceeds what Save for Web was designed for, but it should be OK to proceed.

When I do this, the JPEG has the ppi set to 96ppi. But that doesn't matter - since the true resolution of the image is its dimensions in pixels.

If your printer insists this be set to 300ppi, then open the resulting JPEG in Photoshop, and click Image > Image Size, and uncheck the "Resample image" option, change the setting to 300 dpi, and save it.

Another way to do this is to place the AI file directly into Photoshop and place it on an A3 canvas set to 300 dpi, avoiding the need to use Save for Web in Illustrator entirely.

  • Don't use save for web if your intention is not to save for web. Use use Export instead
    – joojaa
    Sep 3, 2017 at 9:23

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