How to determine the dpi of a PDF file

This question comes up with some regularity on

I am in a print for pay environment and i am needing to know if acrobat 11 pro can be used to see what the dpi of a file is. Or does the file have to be opened in in design or illustrator to find that out. I am the production manager in a digital print center.

Technically it not possible to do this for an entire PDF file, because only the raster images within a PDF have a specific dpi or resolution. But, if you have the Pro. version of Acrobat there are some quick and easy ways you can check the dpi for individual images or all images within a PDF file.

The tool to check the dpi for individual images is the Output Preview tool located under the Print Production panel. If you don’t see the Print Production panel (and you have Acrobat Pro.) you can open it by selecting the View > Tools > Print Production menu. In the Output Preview dialog, select Object Inspector from the Preview dropdown, then move and click the cross-hair pointer on top of any image within the file. All the image information will appear in Output Preview display.

OutputpreviewIf you want a record of this information, hold down the Ctrl (Cmd on the Mac) + Shift keys when clicking on the image, and it will create a sticky note with all the image information.


To view all the sticky notes, open the Comments List located under the Comment pane. You can also create a summary of all the sticky notes by selecting Create Comment Summary from the Options dropdown.


Now, this could get rather tedious if you have many files with several images. So, to automate the reporting process, open the Preflight tool also located in the Print Production panel. Click on the Single Checks Icon at the top.check

Next, twirl open the Image panel and select a check – like “Resolution of bitmap images is between 100 and 300 ppi” and select the Analyze button at the bottom.


This will return the results for you and allow you to create a report by using the Create Report… button in the lower right portion of the Preflight dialog.

You can also automate this entire process by creating an Action and running the Action on a folder of PDF files. To learn more about Acrobat XI, check out my Learn Acrobat XI training series on




8 thoughts on “How to determine the dpi of a PDF file

  1. Lori, this is a great post. I’ve been searching for this info and it hasn’t been easy, most posts just tell you how to create a hi-res PDF. I’m bookmarking this for reference.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s