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Viewing digital scrapbook files at actual print size in Photoshop & Illustrator

actual print size, Photoshop print size, Illustrator print size, scrapbook tip

The actual print size is not the size when you zoom in 100% in Photoshop or in Illustrator. But wouldn’t it be great if you could see the actual print size before you print the page and check if your font size is going to be legible?

For Photoshop/Illustrator to show the design in print size, it needs to know your screen resolution. When you install Photoshop or Illustrator these settings are not configured automatically. So you have to do this on your own. But don’t be afraid because setting this up is pretty easy!

actual print size, Photoshop print size, Illustrator print size, scrapbook tip

Calculate the screen resolution

To get the screen resolution of your own computer we’re going to use a screen resolution calculator. What you’ll need to calculate this is horizontal & vertical pixels of your computer and also diagonal screen size.

To get your horizontal & vertical pixels;

On a PC
  • Go to Windows Settings > System > Monitor
  • On my screen I have 1920×1080 as recommended size. 1920 is my horizontal pixels and 1080 is vertical pixels. These values may vary for your computer.

actual print size, Photoshop print size, Illustrator print size, scrapbook tip

On a Mac
  • Click on Apple icon on top left corner of your screen.
  • Follow this path; About This Mac > More Info > System Report > Hardware > Graphics/Display
  • You’ll see your resolution as something like this; 1600×1200. This means; 1600 is your horizontal pixels and 1200 is vertical pixels. These values may vary for your computer.

Type these values in the screen resolution calculator.

actual print size, Photoshop print size, Illustrator print size, scrapbook tip

Now all there is left is to find out your diagonal size. You can either search for your computer model on internet to find out about your diagonal size or you can get a ruler to measure it. This value is in inch. And it’s usually featured in the name of the model on internet. For example 27″ iMac. My laptop has 15.6″ screen so it means I have 15.6″ screen size when measured diagonally.

Once you type in the diagonal size as well, click on “solve” button to get your PPI ( Pixel Per Inch). In my case, my PPI is 141.21

actual print size, Photoshop print size, Illustrator print size, scrapbook tip

Adjusting Actual Print Size in Photoshop

Once you find out your PPI value, you’re going to put this number in your Photoshop screen size setting. To do this,

  • Go to Edit > Preferences > Units & Rulers
  • According to your Photoshop version this screen will vary but look for “New Document Preset Resolution” in this window.
  • Copy paste your PPI value we just calculated into the box that says “Screen Resolution”.
  • Make sure “Pixels/Inch” is selected.
  • Click Okay so save the new setting.

actual print size, Photoshop print size, Illustrator print size, scrapbook tip

Now open a document you want to print and go to View > Print Size in Photoshop. You’ll see that the zoom level is adjusted to actual print size. When printed, put your print material on your screen and see if it’s actually showing the correct size. Now onto Illustrator!

actual print size, Photoshop print size, Illustrator print size, scrapbook tip

Adjusting Actual Print Size in Illustrator

Seeing the actual print size in Illustrator is a bit different because this software is not designed to work with pixels or inches. You won’t be able to find a screen resolution panel in Illustrator but there is a formula to find out the zoom percentage for print size. I tested this on my own software and compared it to a 3×4 inch size pocket card to verify. The result was a success.

What you’ll need for this formula is to have the PPI value of your computer. We calculated this value above, so read that first. Once you have your PPI value, divide it by 72 and multiply by 100. So the formula is;

(PPI / 72) x 100 = Zoom %

My zoom percentage is (141.21 / 72) / 100 = 196.125

Type the result in the zoom adjustment panel which is located at the bottom left corner of your Illustrator. All you need to do is to remember this percentage when you need to see the design in the actual print size.

actual print size, Photoshop print size, Illustrator print size, scrapbook tip

Now that you learned how you can see the actual print size in Photoshop and Illustrator, you never have to wonder if your scrapbook designs and journaling are printing in the size you want.

Did you like reading this article? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic in the comments section below.

What makes you worry the most when printing digital scrapbook supplies? Have you found a work around for it yet?

actual print size, Photoshop print size, Illustrator print size, scrapbook tip

Elif Sahin

Hi there! I’m a graphic designer, memory keeper, and fond of simplicity. I love producing quality supplies that’ll make scrapbooking process easy and fun for you.

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  1. Reply

    SUSAN KENDALL

    June 12, 2019

    Have to say this was a need I did not realize I had…lol. One request: Would you mind adding a print friendly link for this sort of tutorial? It helps to be able to find them quickly–offline. Thanks for your offering.

    • Elif Sahin

      July 22, 2019

      I’ve tweaked the website design a little for the print. If you press Ctrl+P on your keyboard it should print better. I hope I’ll have a better print option in the future. And thank you for bringing this up. I didn’t know readers would choose to print or save these as PDF. 🙂

  2. Reply

    LadyPatsFan

    June 11, 2019

    Thank you so much for this! Your steps were very clear and easy, and I will be using “view print size” all the time now!

    • Elif Sahin

      June 11, 2019

      You’re very welcome! I’m glad you liked this quick tip 🙂

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