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High resolution screen shots



3:25 pm on Jun 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Is there a way to get a high resolution screen shot? I am making a printed booklet with some website screen shots in it. A screen capture is 72dpi but printers require 300dpi. Apart from reducing the size of the image (say in Photoshop) does anyone know of a way to get high res screen shots?


3:41 pm on Jun 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The best thing for screen shots is to whack it into photoshop change it to 300 dpi and then change the dimensions so that it is the same width approx as the paper you're printing on to.

Or at least its something like that, been a while since i last did it so let me know if it works out ;)


4:11 pm on Jun 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks Knightly - They tend to go a bit fuzzy when I up-the-resolution in photoshop. If I reduce the dimensions to a quarter the size I can get the higher res but I end up with too small an image. I think the root of the problem is in the fact that computer screens are 72dpi. I wondered about taking a photograph of the screen and scanning it?
What do published magazines do when they print a screen image?


6:12 pm on Jun 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

What do published magazines do when they print a screen image?

If you decide to take a picture, use a slow speed film, ISO 50 or ISO 100 preferably, set-up your tripod and shoot three frames one with a shutter speed of 1/15th sec, one at 1/30th sec speed and 1/60th sec speed.

Get your prints from the lab, pick the best one of the 3,scan it in and voila !!!

Time to take my anorak of, bye-bye :)


6:14 pm on Jun 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

From what I can tell, you've got two options: resizing the image in RGB color mode, which makes everything get a bit fuzzy, or resizing the image in Indexed color mode, which prevents antialiasing (fuzziness), but can have some strange effects on the proportions of on-screen text. I've noticed most computer magazines seem to publish rather small dimension screen shots... could this be why?

This sounds like one of those situations where your best bet is to tinker with your settings until you figure out the best method for the effect you want, and then WRITE DOWN your settings so you won't have to experiment next time around.

If you were going to take a photo of the screen, you'd have to be very careful with the ambient lighting to prevent that strange blue cast CRT tubes seem to give off on film, and I'd recommend using an actual film camera... otherwise you end up with another low-resolution image to tinker with.

Good luck! Please let us know what works best for you! (Unless a computer magazine employee is lurking around somewhere, and would like to share their secrets... ;) )

Robert Charlton

5:27 am on Jun 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I can't imagine taking a picture of the screen would really improve the situation. If you had an absolutely sharp picture of the screen you'd have at best... 72dpi. In fact, though, you're actually going to lose some detail when you take a photo, and scanning will introduce further loss.

If you do come up Photoshop solution, I'd be interested to hear what you do. I agree that you need to keep anti-aliasing turned off.


1:49 pm on Jun 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've never had to increase the resolution of a screen shot, but it got me thinking...

When you open Photoshop, select File > New and when the new image window pops up, set the resolution to 300 (or whatever). When you paste your screenshot into the layer, it will have the resolution you specified. I just tried it and it worked for me.


2:24 pm on Jun 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks JohnB but I don't think that solves the problem (in fact it highlights the problem):

A 30cm X 20cm screen shot pasted into a 300dpi photshop file only takes up about 8X5cm of the page area.

If I create a new photoshop file at 72dpi, paste the screen shot, convert to 'indexed colours', increase the resolution to 300 dpi and view the image at 'print size' it looks ok on screen. But I suspect that it should look good when viewed at 100%. A 300 dpi scan looks good at 100% view.


2:50 pm on Jun 27, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Doesn't PhotoShop have a special wizard for this kind of thing?

Load up your actual screen grab....


Then enter in the size of your image for print etc...It'll tell you to rescan your image but, unless you fancy sticking your CRT in the scanner I'd ignore this.

I've never tried this for what you're doing so, Good Luck!


2:38 am on Jul 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

I would like to share this little secret with all of you. It's not really a secret, but very few people know about it. I just went through a project about capturing and printing screen shots at a very high resolution. This company wanted all the labels on their computer printed out from all their three stores to compare its information to see if they are consistent. The labels are about 3.5in x 4in. I had to come up with a solution and instead of printing all 1500 labels one by one to scan it latter, I'd rather capture screen shots from them and lay it out on Quark or PageMaker, and make a indexed book for a more efficient work. I've tried lots of screen capture software to compare its results and only one was suited to the job I was doing. After lots of tests and experiments I discovered that It doesn't matter what resolution you are capturing the screen, you can capture it at 640x460, 800x600, 1600x1200 or whaterever. The final results will be the same. Everyone here knows that the screen resolution is only 72DPIs. So how do I captured a 500x550 screen, printed it with 3.5in X 4in at a very high resolution and still able to read its very small text and UPC numbers (the label ingredients and the barcode are very small, about 6-7 point size)? Anyone? It was a really challenging task, but after I had everything figured out it was the easiest and fastest way to automaticaly capture screens. You don't need a camera, a scanner or anything else, all you need is the right software and a little tip from someone who already have experienced this kind of thing. The software is inexpensive, and you may have it and don't know. Perhaps this is how these large magazines does it! I'm not selling anything, I'm just a graphic designer who wants to share some of my hard earned skills with nice people like you. I saw warnings about posting URLs on this forum and I don't want to violate any rules.
For this reason I will not post the name of the software used nor the URLs or any names here. If you want to know how I did it, send an email for me with "High Resolution Screen Capture Secrets" on the subject line and I'll send all the details.


3:51 am on Jul 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

activestation, welcome to WebmasterWorld! If you've got such a hot tip about a specific piece of software, it's alright to mention the name of the software you're using.

While posting URLs is a sticky subject here, mentioning the name of a specific piece of software (without a link or URL) is often necessary in the Graphics forum... often, a specific graphics technique or effect will vary greatly in execution depending on which piece of software you're using, or someone's looking for software for a very specialized purpose.

So, if you know of a cheap piece of software that can solve the screen shot dilemma, just mention the name, and anyone who's interested can find more information about it on any major search engine!


11:20 am on Jul 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I found a tutorial on exactly this issue — printing a screenshot at high resolution.


There simply IS a limit on the quality you can get. But 300dpi is not very hi-res for printing, so decent results are possible.

But the way that books, magazines, brochures and so on print large and beautiful screenshots is by faking it. They may start with a screen capture, but they also go back to an original source hi-res graphic, they re-set the type, etc. A true screen capture just doesn't have enough starting information.


11:52 am on Jul 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks Tedster - thats a great tutorial. It seems I was correct from the start, but I have found some useful tricks in this thread to get a better result.


5:47 am on Jul 13, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member mivox is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

OK, I got to thinking about it again....

In order for the original screen shot to be resampled to a higher ppi without fuzziness OR distortion: You must switch the original image to indexed color, and increase the resolution by multiples of 4.

If your service bureau can handle a 288ppi file instead of a 300, without resampling it themselves (and thereby screwing it up), option 1 is quickest: Just switch the image to indexed color mode, then change the resolution from 72ppi to 288ppi. Switch the image to CMYK (for printing), save it as a TIFF file, and away you go... a high res. screen shot with no distortion or fuzziness.

If they insist on exactly 300ppi, you'll have a slight bit of fuzziness from this method, but not much at all: Switch the original screen shot to indexed color mode, resize to 1152ppi (288x4), then switch to RGB mode, and change the resolution down to 300ppi, switch to CMYK, save as a TIFF, and live happy in the knowledge that downsampling the crisp super-high res. 1152ppi image gave you virtually no fuzz at all in your final 300ppi file...

Both these methods (of course) leave you with a high resolution image that's the same original dimensions as your screen shot. I didn't feel like messing around with the file dimensions too... but the rule of x4 with the Indexed color image should work for the pixel dimensions of the image too... between that and some creative cropping, you should be able to tweak out the right size.


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