Exporting Different Image Sizes and Resolutions

When you export an image from your drawing, its dimensions and resolution are based on a combination of your drawing settings and your export settings. You can change the scale and resolution of your drawing when you export it. Here’s how…

Drawing Dimensions

Choose ‘File > Drawing Size & Units…‘ to view the drawing setup dialog. Here you can view and change the drawing canvas dimensions. For example, our drawing is 512 x 498pt.

Export Scale

Choose ‘File > Export…‘ from the main menu to view the export dialog. By default, the scale set for drawing export is 100%. In our example file, the exported image size is 512 x 498 px.

When you change the scale, for example to 200%, the exported image export size changes accordingly.

Vector Drawings Scale Up

Your drawing is made of vector shapes and paths that scale up without loss of resolution when you increase the scale and resolution of your exported image. This is one of the primary advantages of vector vs. raster drawing.

Images Don’t Scale Up

Photos / pictures are images that are a set size and resolution. If you’ve added images to your drawing, please note that you cannot scale up the size of an image larger than the original without loss in resolution.

Changing the Export Image Resolution

Image resolution refers to the density of dots per inch “DPI” of an image. The higher the resolution, the clearer the image for a given different application, such as images for print and images for websites. Note, image export size (the width x height dimension) is not directly affected by resolution (we can see here that, when exported at 100% scale, the image export size is still 512 x 498 px at 300dpi resolution), though the file size does increase.

Below are very general guidelines for image resolution for different purposes.

For Print

Printing for publication typically requires 300 dpi (dots per inch) resolution. PDF and TIF formats are often used in the high resolution printing process. If your drawing will be enlarged or reduced for publication, PDF is our recommended export format. PDF is also a good choice for creating a zoomable image, and for example to view with Adobe Reader(TM) or Apple Preview(TM).

For Web

In the most general terms, static web graphics require 72 dpi resolution and will typically use PNG or JPEG formats. For retina graphic resolutions, export at 72 dpi resolution and 200% scale; name the retina export file@2x.png (or file@2x.jpg). For drawings that are primarily represented with vector graphics, PNG will typically give crisper results.

For App Design

Graphics exported for OS X and iOS App design are similar to graphics exported for web. App design graphics generally require 72 dpi resolution and will typically use PNG format with transparent background, or PDF formats. For retina graphic resolutions, export at 72 dpi resolution and 200% scale, and name the export accordingly (e.g., file@2x.png). For example, a 512×512 App icon would be exported at 200% to produce UI icon graphics, such as for toolbar buttons, may be exported as PDF at their original size. Small graphics should be made “pixel perfect” using a pixel grid while drawing.

Viewing Exported Graphics in Preview

View exported graphics in Apple’s Preview(TM) application, an excellent tool for viewing and adjusting exported graphics (Preview is a free application included with OS X). Several functions are available, such as clipping images, adjusting size, and matching image color profiles. Preview’s default preference for viewing images is to scale them to fit the document window. To view images at their actual size, set the ‘Preview > Preferences > Images’ to actual size and to respect the image and screen DPI for scale.

More Information

For complete information on drawing export settings and available export file types, see the Artboard User Guide.