16 November 2009

Create high resolution 300dpi images for journal publication... in PowerPoint

Update July 1, 2011: Dear users of PowerPoint 2010 and all users of PowerPoint on Mac OSX, due to popular demand, I have created a new post taking into account the limitations of newer versions of PowerPoint. Please refer to my new post on how to create high resolution images without PowerPoint. Users of PowerPoint 2003 and 2007 may use the techniques outlined below.

Not many people know that you can create journal quality, 300dpi, .tif images in PowerPoint. Well, you can.

By default, PowerPoint compresses images and saves them at 96dpi. For most users, this isn't a big deal, but if you are interested in printing the contents of your slides, for example, as a conference poster or as a figure in an academic journal, 96dpi isn't going to cut it.

What is dpi?
Dpi is an acronym for dots per inch, and is a measure of printing resolution. Generally speaking, the higher the dpi, the better the printing will come out.

Changing the dpi setting in PowerPoint
The trick to changing PowerPoint's dpi setting, is that you do not actually change it in PowerPoint.
1. Select Run from the Start menu.
2. Type regedit into the Run box, and then click OK.
3. Once the Registry Editor has opened, navigate your way to the registry key for PowerPoint. This will depend on which version of PowerPoint you are using.

PowerPoint 2003: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\PowerPoint\Options

PowerPoint 2007: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\PowerPoint\Options

4. Select Options by clicking on it once, and then click the Edit menu, then New and then DWORD Value.
5. Type ExportBitmapResolution, and then press ENTER.
6. Select ExportBitmapResolution, and click on Modify on the Edit menu.
7. In the Value data box, type your desired resolution value: 300, then click Decimal (the value will change to 768), and then click OK.
8. Exit the Registry Editor.

Saving a high resolution image in PowerPoint
To save an image, you simply export a PowerPoint slide as a picture.
1. Have the slide that you want to export open.
2. Select Save As from the File menu.
3. In the Save as dialog, select the type of file that you want to export your slide as (.gif, .jpg, .png, .tif, .bmp, .wmf or .emf), and then click Save.

Why use PowerPoint to create images at all?
As I've mentioned before, a lot of people have Office installed on their computers, and universities often provide Office for their research students and staff. Because of its large user base, researchers often crunch their numbers and create their figures in Excel. Importing an Excel chart into PowerPoint is as easy as copy-pasting, and you may then save the figure as a high resolution tiff image, as outlined above.

PowerPoint provides another advantage, which is the reason that many conference posters are created in ppt format. The file may be saved as in native PowerPoint format, preserving the different objects. Need to insert a bigger arrow? No problem. Need to change the font size? Piece of cake. The advantage afforded by PowerPoint is its simplicity. It's easy to send the file to a collaborator, changes can be made, and comments inserted in text boxes.

Further reading
Using PowerPoint to Create High-Resolution Images for Journal Publications


99of9 said...

Thanks for writing this, it was helpful.

Matt said...

Methinks that they might be 768dpi images? '300' in hexadecimal equals 768 in decimal....

Mark Antoniou said...

Thanks for pointing that out Matt. I'm not defending the mathematics of PowerPoint. 307 dpi is the PowerPoint maximum, so by following the steps, you hit ceiling.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, very straightforward and super helpful!

greengumbo said...

Did you restart your computer before Powerpoint would export .tif's in 300 DPI?

Mark Antoniou said...

No, a restart was not required.

Emily said...

Hi Mark--
Very helpful. I've been combing the internet for advice on this topic. It looks like your instructions are for PC users. Any analogous instructions for Mac users? I don't have a "Start" menu, so couldn't follow that pathway of instructions.

Mark Antoniou said...

Hey Emily,
It is true that I usually do this work on Windows, even on my Mac by using Parallels. Anyway, I checked this out for you. I have the OSX version of PowerPoint 2011 on my machine, and it seems that you cannot set the dpi to 300. There is an option to scale images to 220 dpi, but that's not the same is it? Apparently, this functionality was included in PowerPoint 2008, but was removed in 2011!

Here is a quote from someone working at Microsoft Support, "Unfortunately, the "Dots per inch" option is no longer available in Office for Mac. If this is a feature you'd like to see in future versions of Office for Mac, be sure to send your feedback by clicking..." blah.

See here: http://www.officeformac.com/ms/.59bcff97/0

Mark Antoniou said...

Emily, glad to say that I have looked into this and have come up with a new solution. Take a look: http://markantoniou.blogspot.com/2011/07/create-high-resolution-300dpi-images.html

Dassie said...

Hi Mark
I echo others here. This was really helpful. I used your instructions to enable me to create images for my business cards. The higher dpi now means the printer doesn't get irritated with the crappy resolution!

Mark Antoniou said...

Glad it helped you, Greg. This functionality has been stripped from newer versions of PowerPoint (2010 and 2011), but see my post on how to do this without PowerPoint.

For your business cards, you would simply create them in PowerPoint, then print to PDF as I describe here: http://markantoniou.blogspot.com/2011/07/create-high-resolution-300dpi-images.html

Gary said...

Two other approaches.
1) In Excel, chec the File.Options.Advanced.Print "HighQuality Mode For Graphics", then use the "copy as picture" feature in Excel and select "as shown when printed". This provides roughtly 600 dpi.

2) In PowerPoint, change your page size to 50x37.5 inches. Make all your graphics look good in this page size. Then, Save-As .jpg or .gif. It makes MUCH higher resolution graphics files.

Mark Antoniou said...

Talk about making things more complicated than they need to be! Thanks for the great find, Gary.

Bunny said...

There is definitely an issue in page size. If you force it to save in 300 dpi in registry and use 8x11 size, you might only get a portion of the page when you export the image. Since the picture at 300 dpi is larger than the page size required. I am running into this issue now, probably will go with the pdf approach.

Mark Antoniou said...

Bunny, I have found the PDF approach to be the easiest and most reliable. It is quite quick too.

cuz said...

Hi - Thank you for this very helpful guide! @greengumbo - a restart of the machine is not necessary but a restart of PPT is. @Matt, @Mark, I used 12c for hex (300 dec) to get 300 dpi on export.

jmwing said...

I have changed the reg settings as recommended (win 7, ppt 2007) and still am getting an output of 150dpi - any suggestions? thanks.

Mark Antoniou said...

I no longer have PowerPoint 2007 jmwing, so I can't give you a definitive answer. However, I just tried this with PowerPoint 2010 on Windows 7 and was able to output a TIF file with a printing resolution of 307 dpi. When saving the file, in the Save As dialog, I clicked the Tools button and then Compress Pictures.... I then changed the Target output from Screen 150 ppi to Use document resolution. I am not saying that this will fix your issue, but it is the only "150" that I can find. Hope this helps.

Craig Wright said...

Dear Mark

Thanks for this great information, talk about a breakthrough for me.

I would like to ask for you help pn a similar issue. I am using PowerPoint 2007. I would like to create shapes and text in PowerPoint, but I would like to save them independently of the slide as a whole, at high resolution. Your great advice spoke about saving the whole slide, how about individual artwork on the slide.

If you could solve this problem for me, I'd be Sooooooo grateful.

Yours gratefully

Mark Antoniou said...

Glad you found the post helpful, Craig. You can't save individual objects (such as circles, stars, arrows, etc.), but I think that I have a solution for you.

First, for simple shapes, such as squares, circles, ovals etc., you can just make them in any paint program - you don't even need PowerPoint (although you can, I guess).

Second, and more importantly, for shapes such as curvy arrows etc., you can just insert them into a slide. In the Format Shape dialog, set the Line Color to No line and then Save As a tiff file, then open it in your image editor of choice (I like Paint.NET) and select the magic wand tool, then select and delete the background, and crop the image as needed, and finally click Save. Done

Craig Wright said...

Hi Mark

Thanks for the speedy reply and excellent advice. It is a lovely work around (except if you want to preserve the shadows of the objects).

I was just hoping that there was an easier fix.

We live in hope.

Thanks once again, sir.

Mark Antoniou said...

Ah, I see. Well, I guess you could set the background color of the slide to the same as the background that you will use the picture on. Then just crop it in your image editor and preserve the shadow.

Augabog said...

Hi, I've tried setting as both 300 and 307 dpi, but each of my slides converts to 279 dpi (I'm saving as TIFF). I've tried converting individual slides or all in the same save, and also using a different PC, but nothing works. Any advice? I need a minimum of 300 dpi for my works.


Mark Antoniou said...

Perhaps the issue is with the version of PowerPoint that you are using e.g., 2010. At the very top of this post, see my link to another article for creating hi res TIFFs using a PDF printer - that is the way that I do it now.

Augabog said...

I'm using 2007. I just fixed the issue by opening a new ppt file and copying all of my slides over. I have no idea what the issue was, which annoys me, but at least it's fixed. I created the original ppt prior to changing the dpi in the registry, but my dpi did change from 96 to 279 dpi, so it's not as if the regedit wasn't recognized. Very strange...Anyway, thanks for the response!


Mark Antoniou said...

That is very odd. Perhaps it was an issue with when the file was created relative to when the registry changes were made. I have not encountered this before. Glad that it worked out and you were able to generate your images.

Unknown said...

You are brilliant! Thank you so much for the detailed info!

pankaj said...

Hi Mark,I dont want to use photoshop, powerpoint has be too lazy, so I need help from you.
I have a basis confusion about this procedure.
Before that I will tell you what I do to make high resolution poster.
1. Open image in Photoshop, change the resolution of the image to 300dpi.
2. Drag the image to a A4 canvas of 300dpi.That will be one layer then similar steps for other image. Then write text, arrow or whatever then print.

The power point slides will be like A4 canvas in Photoshop.And I will copy and paste other images and arrange for the poster. I will export as high resolution PDF for printing.
Confusion is We do extra step in Photoshop to make increase the resolution of Image to 300dpi before putting them to A4 canvas.
And here In powerpoint if I just copy paste the images will that be same as photoshop way.
In case of Photoshop We are arranging 300dpi image to 300dpi canvas while in powerpoint it will be 72 dpi image arranged in 300dpi canvas.

Please help me on this...(Sorry if the english is poor)


Mark Antoniou said...

It sounds like the image is being down sampled when you copy and paste it.

I would try printing from PowerPoint to a high resolution PDF or TIF and then import that into Photoshop.

pankaj said...

Thank you for the reply.
I am sorry that I wasnt very clear on the issue. I am posting it on your blog this coz I think you understand the process better than me and hence can help me on this Thank you in advance...
I want to use power point to make my fig panels(coz Its more user friendly, everyone in my lab uses Photoshop to the panels.)
I have confusion that.. In Photoshop we first open the image and convert it to 300dpi then Add these images to canvas of A4 size_300dpi..
If I understood right, the article describes way to make a slide of 300dpi quality(which is equivalent of the 300dpi canvas in photoshop)...
If I add a image of low Dpi to PowerPoint slide of 300dpi, will power point automatically convert my low dpi image to 300dpi which is what we have set for the slide.

Mark Antoniou said...

If you create the figure in PowerPoint from scratch, then saving to a high res PDF will work fine. You can then finish it off in Photoshop or whatever other image editor you like.

If you create the figure in Excel, ditto.

If you create the figure in some other program and then copy and paste into PowerPoint, even if you export it as a high res PDF or TIF, it might not look crystal clear. The image file will still be 300 dpi, but the actual content of the image may not be as sharp (due to down sampling on import or any one of a variety of factors that will vary depending on your exact workflow).

I can't really get more specific than that. I will say that you do not need Photoshop to create 300 dpi images. If that is your preferred workflow, then you'll have to find a way to make it work.

pankaj said...

Hi Mark, I thank you for the responses..Actually I had basic problem with concept of 'dpi'. Which is solved now and the your article make more sense to me...Thanks a lot


Mark Antoniou said...

Great. I'm glad that you managed to work it out.

~ Me ~ said...

This is great great information. I made an image in powerpoint. Actually, not necessarily an image but just a text box with words i'd like saved as an image. It only seems to save part of it. I've tried changing the page sizes to all sorts of different sizes and hasn't helped. Any suggestions?

Mark Antoniou said...

Try printing your slide to a PDF. There is a step-by-step guide at the top of this post. Click the link Create high resolution images without PowerPoint.

Piggles Fribbitz said...


Ahmad said...

Hi, I create figures in matlab and then print them as pdf. Then copy past the file into powerpoint to put the labels etc. But when I insert the pdf into powerpoint I don't get good quality images even when I tweeked the registry based on this post. I appreciate any help and suggestion.

Thanks for your great blog.

Mark Antoniou said...

No need to go into PowerPoint from Matlab, Ahmad. You can add labels right there. If that is too complicated, just use an image editor like Paint.NET to add the labels and preserve the dpi.

Ahmad said...

Mark, Thanks for your reply. Yes I can make everything on matlab but I prefer extracting the plot only and adding labels and other stuff in powerpoint. I print the matlab plot as pdf and when I copy the pdf into clipboard and paste it in powerpoint I get low quality plots but I just found that if I use the snapshot tool and cut a snapshot out of my pdf file and paste that on powerpoint everything looks alright. I just left this here in case others happen to encounter the same problem.

Ahmad said...

I found this very useful.

Gaurav M said...

i followed the process Mark had suggested. The resulting png outout is not same as the slides. The pieces of the original design are moved around in the output. What might be the problem?

Kate Bitters said...

Worked like a charm. Thank you so much! Best tutorial I've seen of this type.

Larissa Bittencourt da Silva said...

Why when I get to Power Point it does not have the "option" feature? :(

Chris McCormick said...

Having spent a good 6 hours sorting out teething issues of my own when trying to convert powerpoint files to 300 dpi TIF images for Rapid Inspector approval this might be of interest to folks. My original PPT files had been set at a page size requested by the Journal I was wanting to publish in (21.6 x 28cm). Everytime I did a TIF conversion the DPI dropped to 284 and I spent a long time thinking this was down to one aspect or another of my figure. Turns out all I needed to do was copy and paste the image to a new PPT file with a default page setting. Also had to use GIMP to get rid of the alpha channel that Powerpoint ended up inserting everytime it did the TIF conversion.

Unknown said...

For Mac users with Powerpoint 2011, the maximum image size for export is 2999 pixels wide. You can manually set this in Preferences - > Save at the bottom of that panel, "Save slides as graphics files"

George Hill said...

Hi, Mark.
I had a full A4 Powerpoint I just had to get in a Word document for a journal and I'm on Office 2010, not Mac. I couldn’t enlarge it enough as others described, because of its size. I tried your 2003/2007 Powerpoint technique above but in Ppt 2010; in my version it was in 14.0 not 11.0 or 12.0 in the registry. You suggest it didn’t work but it seems to now. I selected D-Word (32-bit) (I am on Windows 7 Professional) rather than Q-Word (64-bit) which I didn’t try. The result was a JPeg with 307 pixels/inch which was fine and went into Word as I wished.
Thanks for pointing me to this – saved me from trying to scan a print, which was my nightmare last option!

Mark Antoniou said...

Great news George. I suspect that it has been rectified in (your) version 14.

hara pasion said...

Thank you!!!!!!!!!

Mega Lord said...

Hey mate, have a slight problem. i followed this guide to the letter, but after clicking 'decimal' then 'ok', it will close down and change back to hexadecimal.

Rakshita Sharma said...

Wonderful an very helpful information ! Thanks for sharing this blog.
Online Print Journal

lodger said...

Really useful stuff! Many thanks!