Hey readers! Just wanted to pass along some helpful information regarding the difference between file size and resolution. Although the two terms cannot be used interchangeably – mainly because they represent two very different characteristics of a file – there are a few similarities between the two terms.


Here are some highlights which may help to put things into perspective…

Here’s a general note: PC’s are usually able to save files with a lower file size, while Mac’s tend to save images using a much larger file size. However, just because a file is saved on a Mac and the file size is much larger, doesn’t mean that the image will be higher quality or higher resolution than that of a file saved on a PC.

The file size or weight (e.g. kilobytes “KB” or megabytes “MB”) is the amount of space that your file takes up on your computer and doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s low or high resolution or low or high quality. Although the file size is not necessarily determined by the resolution, the resolution can play a role in being able to adjust the file size if a file is too heavy. For instance, if the resolution of an image is lowered out of necessity (say from 300 to 72 ppi), the weight or file size will also be lowered as a result of reducing the resolution, due to the fact that there are now less pixels being packed together – thus taking up less room on your computer. Typically, photos and images (i.e. files with extensions like .pdf, .jpeg or .png) tend to take up more space on your computer than vector files (i.e. editable files with extensions like .ai or .eps), however, file size can also be dependant on the dimensions of the image as well as the type of computer you are using to save our file.

Ok, now let’s dig further into resolution. The resolution of an image usually refers to the ppi (i.e. pixels per inch). Photos and images meant for the web are preferably created and saved using 72 ppi (screen resolution) while print work or images that are meant to be printed out on paper are usually created and saved using 300 ppi (high resolution) because printer are automatically set to use 300 ppi.


Hope you find this information helpful. As always, feel free to shoot me an email or contact me via my contact form if you have any questions.

About the Author

Laura Freeman currently lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She began her career in design by working at her husband's small web development firm. Today, she uses her eye for art and symmetry to effectively design print and web media for clients across the United States.

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