In today’s digital era, the sharing of photographic images has become an integral part of our communication and document creation process.

Whether you are producing a business report, marketing document, book or any other type of printed publication, adding graphics can be a simple and effective way to enhance your written content. However, you may have noticed that when you insert a photographic image into a Word document, it often appears pixelated or of lower quality than the original.

The basics of image resolution

Image resolution refers to the amount of graphical detail contained in an image. The resolution size of an image is typically measured in dots per inch (DPI) or pixels per inch (PPI). Higher resolution photographs have more dots or pixels per inch which, in turn, results in greater detail and clarity of the image.

Why high-resolution images are crucial for printing

When it comes to printing, the old adage ‘bigger is better’ holds true. The higher the resolution an image is, the greater the likelihood that it will reproduce well in the final printed item,  regardless whether it’s a book, a brochure or flyer or a poster. Using high-resolution images in your publications will ensure that the printed output maintains the original image’s detail and sharpness. This in turn will result in a professional and visually appealing final product.

Conversely, if you use low-resolution photos in your printed documents, you’re likely to encounter issues such as pixelation, blurriness and loss of detail. This occurs because the printing process attempts to reproduce the image according to the limited information available, resulting in jagged edges and poor image quality. To avoid such issues, it’s crucial to use high-resolution images when you are creating print publications.

Disadvantage of embedding photos in Word documents

Word documents are primarily designed for text-based content and, hence, images are treated as supplementary elements. When you embed a photographic image into a Word document, the MS software program typically compresses and resizes the photo. This process helps to ensure that the Word document remains manageable in terms of its file size so it doesn’t slow down your computer. However, when a photo is resized, there is a corresponding loss of image resolution and quality.

Alternative approaches to sharing images for printed publications

Rather than embedding images into Word documents, it is a good idea to save them into a separate folder as high-resolution JPG or PDF files. These images can then be sent securely via online file-sharing services like Dropbox, Google Drive or WeTransfer. Alternatively, you can copy the folder containing all of your high-resolution images onto a USB stick and then post it to your designer.

By adopting either of these image delivery methods, you’ll ensure that your photographs maintain their quality and integrity which, in turn, will result in a more professional-looking outcome for your printed publication.