Printing Basics

Print Sizes

Most images have been scaled for proper print size using the size guidelines below. However, some images are unusually shaped, such as long boxes or odd cardboard packages. In these cases the original size has been retained, if known.

(Height x Width) US (inches) Metric (cm)
Jewel Case Front 4.75 x 4.75 12.07 x 12.07
Jewel Case Back (and Front Quad) 4.63 x 5.91 11.76 x 15.01
Cardboard Slipcase (no spine) 4.75 x 4.75 12.07 x 12.07
Gatefold Front/Back 4.75 x 9.50 12.07 x 24.14
Trifold 4.75 x 14.25 12.07 x 36.20
VHS Case 7.50 x 10.10 19.05 x 25.65
DVD Case 7.10 x 10.80 18.03 x 27.43
For more CD size information please refer to this document from DiscMakers

Photo Editors

To achieve proper, scaled prints do not print from your browser. The printed image will usually be too large. Read the Pixel Primer section below for an explanation. Instead, download the image and print using your preferred photo editor. Highly recommended are Photoshop, PaintShop Pro, and PhotoImpact. Unfortunately, these editors can be expensive so check if your digital camera or scanner came with photo software. Or you might give the freeware programs IrfanView or Paint.NET a try. Regardless of source, any good photo editor should handle scaled images based on pixel dimensions and dots per inch (DPI).

Another printing alternative is to use MS Word. This document from LedArt explains how.

Pixel Primer

There is a fundamental difference between how images are displayed on a monitor and how they are printed. One is designed for viewing, the other for paper. For example, a monitor will display a 712 x 712 image using one image pixel for each monitor pixel. Thus, if your screen resolution is 800x600, the image will be almost full screen. Your monitor or browser doesn't care about DPI. For viewing, only pixel dimension is important.

On the other hand, printers do care about DPI. Printers use DPI to determine the size of an image in inches (or centimeters). Therefore, a 712 x 712 image at 150DPI will print at 4.75in x 4.75in. The same 712 x 712 image at 100DPI will print at 7.12in x 7.12in. The math is pretty simple.

Bottom line: The CD cover image you see on the screen will typically be larger then the print size. Why? Most of the images are optimized at 100DPI to 150DPI. Don't print these larger images from your browser. A browser is clueless about DPI and does not scale for printing purposes. (Ok, there are occasional exceptions, particularly with 72DPI images, but I've tried to avoid the lower resolutions because of decreased print quality).

For more information, please visit The author, Wayne Fulton, discusses this topic in detail with sample photos. Or download this Word document No 72 dpi.doc without samples.