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Post date: 7/26/2012
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  • Definition: a measure of the amount of detail that can be shown in the images produced by a printer or screen. For instance, many laser printers have a resolution of 600 dots per inch (dpi), which means that they print characters using a grid of black and white squares each 1/600 of an inch across. This means that their resolution is 300 lines per inch when printing line art, or 100 lines per inch when printing halftone shadings (such as photographs), which use pixels in groups of six. Inkjet printers often have very high resolution (e.g., 2800 dots per inch), which means they control the position of the ink sprayer to a precision of 1/2800 inch. The actual dots of colored ink are much larger than 1/2800 inch in size. However, halftoning is not needed; each dot can be any color or shade of gray. The human eye normally resolves about 150 lines per inch at normal reading distance, but a person examining a page critically can distinguish two or three times this much detail. The resolution of a screen is given as the total number of pixels in each direction (e.g., 1024 × 768 pixels across the whole screen). The equivalent number of dots per inch depends on the size of the screen. Present-day video screens resolve about 100 dots per inch; they are not nearly as sharp as ink on paper. A big advantage of draw programs, as opposed to paint programs, is that they can use the full resolution of the printer; they are not limited to printing what they display on the screen. However, some paint programs can handle very detailed images by displaying only part of the image at a time.

    Source: Downing, Douglas, et al. Dictionary of Computer and Internet Terms. 10th ed. New York, 2009. Print.

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