What is a good way of viewing an image at the same physical scale as a given print size?

E.g. say I want to print an image at 40x60cm. How do I (most easily) display the image so that 1cm on my screen equates to 1 cm on print?

Is there a way to do that in Lightroom (Classic CC)?

1 Answer 1


Measure your screen. We will just use the horizontal dimensions. Say it's 20 inches.

You want to make a 40x60 image. Long dimension of the print is 60 inches. So you want to magnify it by 60/20 or 300%

This assumes that 100% = full screen. Some software decrees that 100% means one campera pixel = 1 screen pixel. I think Photoshop and Lightroom both do this.

So instead: Click "fit to screen" Now the magnification will show up somewhere. THIS is the number you would multiply by 3.

Blowup ratio of screen = screen width in pixels/image width in pixels. This will be under 100%


Print ratio blowup = Printwidth / Screenwidth.

Lets do a walk through:

Load an image that is 4000 x 6000 pixels. My monitor is only 1500 pixels wide, so that even when I say "full screen" the magnification is 25% (1500/6000)

But my monitor is 20 inches wide. My print is 60 inches wide. So 60/20 = 3.

So if I set my screen to 75% I will see 1 cm of screen = 1 cm of print.

Note: Most of the time as images get bigger they are viewed from further away. An 8x10 printed a 150 dpi normally will have invisible dots. At 300dpi you need a hand lens. This is one reason why office laser printers are 300 dpi for normal work.

So do you need more pixels to print it at 40 x 60? Not really. The 40 x 60 will likely be viewed from 5-10 feet away. You can use bigger dots.

There are some exceptions to this:

A: If you have a mural that people are going to view from a distance, AND get close to to look at details, then the whole image has to be done at a size for the closer viewing distance. Murals in stairwells get this kind of scrutiny.

B: A photo that you are going to turn into a jigsaw puzzle falls into this category. You want each piece to have a sharp image when viewed from 7 inches away.

  • Thank you for the detailed answer. I am still hoping that a more convenient solution exists.
    – AdamAL
    Mar 10, 2019 at 17:06

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