How to change the native resolution of a screenshot?

When I use PrtScn to take a screenshot, and paste it into an image editor, the default resolution seems to be 72 dpi. Does anyone know how to change that to 300 dpi? I have Windows 2000 Pro. Thanks.

Change the DPI in your video editing program. I don’t understand what you’re asking.

I am asking how to change the resolution at which Windows takes a screenshot. I don’t want to take a 72 dpi image and blow it up to 300, I want it to start at 300. Is that any clearer?

dpi and resolution are two completely different and independent things. Here is a useful link: The Myth of DPI
By the way if you change a photo from 72 dpi to 300 dpi, it will be printed smaller, not be blown up.

I’m not an expert, but I don’t think it’s possible to do that with a screen capture. The resolution refers to the number of pixels, and a computer screen can only display 72 dpi. In order for the resolution to be higher you have to either a) shrink the image (which puts the same number of pixels in a smaller area, so more pixels per inch) or b) add pixels to keep it the same size (which is not possible with something like paint, and very difficult even with professional graphics applications because you have to create part of the image out of thin air to fill in the extra space between pixels). The only surefire way to be able to easily resize an image is to create it as a vector image. Screencaptures are not vector images.

OK, mangled terminology aside, this is what I’m after. I have a program that creates images, but will only save them in its own proprietary format for printing, and not export the image to .jpg or anything else. To demonstrate it to someone, I’d have to take a screenshot. The resulting resolution is so low that small print on the image can’t be made out. I have this idea that it’s because the resolution of the screenshot as set by Windows is so low. I think that if it could be increased, the image would be clearer and sharper and more legible. Is there a way to accomplish this?

I guess I’m not really understanding why you’re having problems. How exactly are you saving the screenshot? If you paste it in to MS Paint and then save as a bitmap you should have no problems viewing/printing it exactly as you see on the screen. The lower resolution will mean that things like photographs may not be as crisp as you’d like but text should be perfectly readable assuming you don’t resize the image. Can you walk through how you’re doing it?

Bring up the image in its program. Hit PrtScn. Paste as new image into Microsoft Photo Editor. Crop off the rest of the screen. At 100% size, small print is obscured and illegible. Left click on image, select Properties. 72 dpi. I wish it were possible to get a screenshot with higher resolution so that the print was legible. Is this going to be possible?

Set your screen resolution to a lower setting and then take the screenshot.

Try this bit of freeware.

The big advantage of this program is that it saves screenshots directly to file, instead of keeping them in the clipboard. But it does have other options, including adjusting the quality of the image.

I installed that nice bit of freeware, and it prevented Photoshop from opening! It would hang before the splash screen came up. I uninstalled the program and now Photoshop works.

That was odd!

Right click on an empty space on your desktop, select Properties, then the Settings tab. Move the Screen Resolution slider to the highest setting available and click Apply. After screen resets to the new resolution and is stable, bring up your image - be sure the image is as large as it can be and still be seen in its entirety, hit PrtScn, etc, etc. That will give you the most pixels you can do with your computer system.

Okay, hi. Time for some sanity here.

The number of pixels - the size of the image - is irrelevant. That’s based on your monitor settings. If you change the monitor settings to fit more pixels on the screen, all the text and so forth will be proportionately smaller (unless you adjust all those things yourself as well.) There’s no reason to do so anyway. The number of dots per inch on a monitor is in the area of 72ish to maybe 120 if you set the resolution really high. Either way, that doesn’t matter (your printer can print at far higher resolutions.) If you change to a higher or lower resolution, all that changes is the amount of stuff that fits on your screen. A line of text that’s normally X number of pixels high will show up on the screen the same number of pixels high no matter what the resolution of your monitor is set to.

You cannot somehow magically turn a screenshot on your computer - which is inherently a low-resolution image - into a higher-resolution one, not without interpolating pixels and making the image blurry. What you want to do is change how it prints. If the screenshot is printing too small, you need to lower the resolution that it prints at. Any image editing program that you print from should be able to do that. By lowering the resolution, you make each pixel in the screenshot correspond to a bigger dot on your printed copy. That makes the entire screenshot larger. That’s what you want to do. You don’t want to add or reduce the number of pixels in your screenshot at all. An image holds a certain amount of information. You can’t magically increase that amount. Any computer screenshot that you print out will be sort of grainy compared to your printer’s normal output, because computer displays are inherently lower-resolution than what we expect on the printed page.

In case I wasn’t clear, you don’t want to change the size of the image, or the number of pixels, at all. You want to change the DPI setting that it prints at, which would mean changing the setting from whatever it was before to a lower number, because you want fewer pixels per inch and thus more inches across - a larger printout.

First of all, try using ALT-Printscren, so that you only capture the active window. That will get rid of all the other visual clutter.

Open photoshop, and select new after you’ve taken the screenshot. The default settings it chooses should match the snapped screen shot. Create the new file, then go to Edit->paste, and paste your screenshot. It should look EXACTLY like the program looks when it’s on your screen. If it doesn’t, something’s wrong.

Once you have the image in photoshop looking exactly like your screen, you can do lots of things with it. You can select “image size”, and make the image bigger. However, you won’t see any more detail by doing that - photoshop will simply interpolate and add pixels to fill in the larger image size. You’ll wind up with a picture that is physically larger, but which has no additional detail. In fact, letters that look smooth at natural resolution may look fuzzy and jaggy at the larger size.

Ultimately, when you screen capture something, you’re simply copying every pixel on the screen to a file. There’s nothing you can do to improve the quality of the image, short of increasing the resolution of your display and choosing a larger font set so that you get more pixels per character.

BTW, in Windows Vista, this will no longer be the case. Everything in Vista is rendered as a vector graphic, so it will always be rendered in the highest resolution available for the output device.

Are you sure? For things like text, that makes sense, but Vista will also display things like JPEGs and BMPs, which aren’t vector based at all. I assume parts of the OS will also be raster based, since that would much less processing power for the computer and be able to be easier skinned and adjusted. Do you have a cite for that?

Vista will definitely render JPGs and such others in raster mode, since… well… it is simply impossible to turn a JPG into a vector form. A vector image can be converted into a raster image, but the reverse is impossible (at least in any useful form).

Of course it could possibly (and probably will) render it in a “sort of vector” mode where the actual image is just one element and resizing the window on the screen would not need any alteration in the image window’s resolution. But this is simply to simplify drawing and would decrease, not increase image quality (by effectively decreasing the size of the image).

Hrm, sorry for the derail - that came out a bit longer than I anticipated. As for the OP, I think I can explain a bit, although a lot has already been said.

The screen is a bitmap of finite size. 1024x768 is a common size, for example.
However, a printer has a much higher resolution, something like 6000x9000 “pixels” (ballpark figure for 300dpi - it can go much higher, for example, with 2400dpi, which is photo-quality, a sheet of paper is 48000x72000 dots).

When the program renders the image onto the screen, it has to draw it into those very pixels. Same with the printer.

But the result of the window drawing simply contains much less dots - much less information. The picture is not as accurate. The only way to increase the qualtiy is to give it more pixels and thus to increase your screen resolution.

Normal screens (and the video card output) rarely go above 2000x2000, so you won’t get much. But turn it up to the max in the display control panel and you might get some improvement.

Vista uses DirectX under the hood for everything, scrapping GDI. There is a compositing layer that takes text, bitmaps, videos, and renders them. It is completely vector based. Now, a bitmap is still a raster, but I assume the compositing engine uses DirectX to scale it to the output device automatically. You can plop an image in a viewbox in WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), hook a slider up to the size property and scale the image up and down smoothly in real time.

Once again, you will not get any improvement that way. Change the resolution on your monitor. Do it. Try a bunch of sizes. The difference is how much stuff you see on the screen, not the visual quality of the output. Set the resolution to whatever value you like, but the number of pixels used to draw text or any other element on the screen will not change. You can change all your font sizes if you want everything to look bigger and take up more pixels, but you still won’t even come close to matching a printer’s resolution. The only real answer is to increase the size the screen capture prints at, and you do that by reducing the number of pixels per inch on the printed copy, not by altering the screenshot (either through image editing or changing your monitor settings.)