File Sizes Printing Knowledge
File Sizes

The size of a computer file, which contains text and images can vary significantly depending on factors such as the number of images per file, the resolution of the images desired for output, and editing undertaken on the images in the file.

Factors Affecting Files Sizes:

  • Components of the File: Text only files will be substantially smaller than files containing images. Image files generally require substantially more storage capacity than text due to the number of pixels captured in the image.

  • Resolution of Image Files: The resolution of an image is measured in pixel dimensions, such as 1200 x 1200 ppi (pixels per image). The higher the resolution, the larger the file size. Higher resolution will be required if the image is to be output to print. Lower resolution will be acceptable if the image is output for use as a draft of a proof or placed on a Web site.

  • Image Manipulation or Editing Enlargement, repurposing, rotating, and compression of images will all affect the size of the digital file.

The following Units of Measure are provided as a guide to illustrate various file sizes and to serve as a means of explanation for the approximate memory storage necessary to accommodate increasing volumes of digital assets measured in binary digits (bits, bytes, megabytes, etc.) and resolutions (dpi, lpi, and ppi).

Bit

  • A single binary digit
  • Bits are always combined in units of 8

Byte - 8 bits

  • 1 B = the storage required for a single character of text
  • 10 B = the storage required for several words of text such as, "my computer"
  • 100 B = the storage required for 12 words of text
  • 500 B = the storage required for a paragraph of text

Kilobyte - Kb (Thousands) - 1,024 bytes

  • 1 Kb = an 8 ½ x 11 double-spaced sheet of text
  • 10 Kb = an 8 ½ x 11 single-spaced sheet of text
  • 100 Kb = a low resolution (JPEG) 3 x 5 image
  • 500 Kb = an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of text with 2 low resolution (JPEG) images or a 3.5" low density floppy

Megabyte - Mb (Millions) - 1,048,576 bytes

  • 1 megabyte = one 8 ½ x 11 sheet of text with 7 low resolution (JPEG) images or a 3.5" high density floppy
  • 2 Mb = 3,000 - 8 ½ x 11 sheets of single spaced text
  • 5 Mb = an 8 Bit RGB Photoshop file 1050 x 1500 dpi (3 ½" x 5") 300 ppi
  • 10 Mb = an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of text with 10 high resolution (TIFF) images
  • 50 Mb = a Web site with 7,000 files with 3,000 screen pages - low resolution graphics (JPEG)
  • 100 Mb = the storage capacity of a ZIP disk or 15 pages of high resolution graphics (TIFF) and text
  • 250 Mb = Windows 98 operating system installation
  • 500 Mb = the storage capacity of a CD ROM disk

Gigabyte - GB (Billions) - 1,073,741,824 bytes

  • 1 Gb = 3 hours of a video with medium quality resolution
  • 2 Gb = 4 medical x-ray images
  • 5 Gb = the storage capacity of a DVD disk
  • 100 Gb = the storage required for 20,000 pages of text with high resolution images

Terabyte - TB (Trillions) - 1,099,511,627,776 bytes

  • 1 Tb = the storage required for the insurance records of 50,000 clients
  • 2 Tb = the storage required for the medical imaging records of a regional medical center
  • 5 Tb = the storage required for all of the medical records in the largest medical center
  • 10 Tb = the storage required for every book published up to year 2000

The next level of storage is a quadrillion bytes (Petabytes) and continues to increase accordingly. The levels above Terabytes are as follows:

Petabytes - Pb 1,125,899,906,842,624 bytes

Exabytes - Eb 1,152,921,504,606,846,976 bytes

Zettabytes - Zb 1,180,591,620,717,411,303,424 bytes

Yottabytes - Yb 1,208,925,819,614,629,174,706,176 bytes

 

File Size Calculation

Scanned images, digital camera images, or edited images are all raster images. Thus, our calculations for file sizes will refer to the file sizes of raster images. As the image resolution changes or the image dimensions change, the size of the file required to store the image will also change. Factors such as sharper detail requiring more dpi's for print, will require larger files sizes, which slow down accessing, editing, output, and image transfer processes. Further, some output devices, video screens, and authoring software have limitations on the number of ppi they can support, so it becomes important to understand the limitations and work within the boundaries allowable.

Computers can display and manipulate image color by selecting and working within the various color modes. Page layout software provides different color modes for use in a variety of color tasks, such as capture and output. Some modes are best suited for specific types of images, while others may only serve to create large digital files, which are cumbersome to access or output. There are four modes currently used for imaging: bitmap, greyscale, RGB, and CYMK. Color modes are separated into single channels or color spaces each containing 8 bits of pixel depth or 8 bits of information that is captured and displayed uniformly. Color channels play a role in the calculations for determining file sizes so it becomes important to not only understand how to account for the channels but also to grasp the value of using different color modes to develop, produce, and manage images more effectively.

 

Bitmap: Black and white images only - no grays that are used in print publishing.

Grayscale: Black, white, and gray shades used in print publishing or Web publishing.

CMYK: (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) 4-color process for applying ink colors used in print publishing.

RGB: (red, green, blue) Digital color process to provide millions of colors to multimedia (video) applications or for use with desktop scanners.

Index: A modified version of RGB used to limit the number of colors for GIF images on the Web.

 

Color Mode

Channels

Color Components

Colors

Bit Depth

Bitmap Mode

Single

Black and White

2

1 bit

Grayscale Mode

Single

Monochromatic

256 grays

8 bits

RGB Mode

Three

Red, Green, and Blue

16.7 million

24 bits

CYMK Mode

Four

Cyan, Magenta,
Yellow, and Black

16.7 million

32 bits

Index Mode

Single

Red, Green, And Blue

2 to 256 colors

8 bits

 

Proper management of digital images not only involves software tools, but also mathematical tools. The following calculations will be of value to gain an understanding in managing image files:

  1. File resolution calculations to be used with a specific line screen
  2. Pixel calculation to determine if the resolution is within allowable ranges for output
  3. File size calculation for storage, output, or distribution of files
  4. Color channel calculation to determine the total size of the file being created

 

 

File Size Comparisons

 

 

1.35"  x  1"  Image Size

Format Type

Resolution

Bitmap

Grayscale

RGB

CMYK

72 dpi
120 dpi
150 dpi
220 dpi
300 dpi
320 dpi
400 dpi
600 dpi
1200 dpi

1 Kb
2 Kb
4 Kb
8 Kb
15 Kb
17 Kb
26 Kb
59 Kb
237 Kb

7 Kb
19 Kb
30 Kb
64 Kb
119 Kb
135 Kb
211 Kb
475 Kb
1.9 Mb

21 Kb
57 Kb
89 Kb
191 Kb
356 Kb
405 Kb
633 Kb
1.4 Mb
5.7 Mb

27 Kb
76 Kb
119 Kb
255 Kb
475 Kb
540 Kb
844 Kb
1.9 Mb
7.6 Mb

 

 

4"  x  6"  Image Size

Format Type

Resolution

Bitmap

Grayscale

RGB

CMYK

72 dpi
120 dpi
150 dpi
220 dpi
300 dpi
320 dpi
400 dpi
600 dpi
1200 dpi

15 Kb
42 Kb
66 Kb
142 Kb
264 Kb
300 Kb
469 Kb
1.1 Mb
4.2 Mb

122 Kb
338 Kb
527 Kb
1.1 Mb
2.1 Mb
2.4 Mb
3.8 Mb
8.4 Mb
33.8 Mb

365 Kb
1.0 Mb
1.6 Mb
3.4 Mb
6.3 Mb
7.2 Mb
11.3 Mb
25.3 Mb
101.3 Mb

486 Kb
1.4 Mb
2.1 Mb
4.5 Mb
8.4 Mb
9.6 Mb
15.0 Mb
33.8 Mb
135.0 Mb

 

 

5"  x  7"  Image Size

Format Type

Resolution

Bitmap

Grayscale

RGB

CMYK

72 dpi
120 dpi
150 dpi
220 dpi
300 dpi
320 dpi
400 dpi
600 dpi
1200 dpi

22 Kb
62 Kb
96 Kb
207 Kb
385 Kb
438 Kb
684 Kb
1.5 Mb
6.2 Mb

177 Kb
492 Kb
769 Kb
1.7 Mb
3.1 Mb
3.5 Mb
5.5 Mb
12.3 Mb
49.2 Mb

532 Kb
1.5 Mb
2.3 Mb
5.0 Mb
9.2 Mb
10.5 Mb
16.4 Mb
36.9 Mb
147.7 Mb

709 Kb
2.0 Mb
3.1 Mb
6.6 Mb
12.3 Mb
14.0 Mb
21.9 Mb
49.2 Mb
196.9 Mb

 

 

8"  x  10"  Image Size

Format Type

Resolution

Bitmap

Grayscale

RGB

CMYK

72 dpi
120 dpi
150 dpi
220 dpi
300 dpi
320 dpi
400 dpi
600 dpi
1200 dpi

51 Kb
141 Kb
220 Kb
473 Kb
879 Kb
1.0 Mb
1.6 Mb
3.5 Mb
14.1 Mb

405 Kb
1.1 Mb
1.8 Mb
3.8 Mb
7.0 Mb
8.0 Mb
12.5 Mb
28.1 Mb
112.5 Mb

1.2 Mb
3.4 Mb
5.3 Mb
11.3 Mb
21.1 Mb
24.0 Mb
37.5 Mb
84.4 Mb
337.5 Mb

1.6 Mb
4.5 Mb
7.0 Mb
15.1 Mb
28.1 Mb
32.0 Mb
50.0 Mb
112.5 Mb
450.0 Mb

 

 

11"  x  14"  Image Size

Format Type

Resolution

Bitmap

Grayscale

RGB

CMYK

72 dpi
120 dpi
150 dpi
220 dpi
300 dpi
320 dpi
400 dpi
600 dpi
1200 dpi

97 Kb
271 Kb
423 Kb
910 Kb
1.7 Mb
1.9 Mb
3.0 Mb
6.8 Mb
27.1 Mb

780 Kb
2.2 Mb
3.4 Mb
7.3 Mb
13.5 Mb
15.4 Mb
24.1 Mb
54.1 Mb
216.6 Mb

2.4 Mb
6.5 Mb
10.2 Mb
21.8 Mb
40.6 Mb
46.2 Mb
72.2 Mb
162.4 Mb
649.7 Mb

3.1 Mb
8.7 Mb
13.5 Mb
29.1 Mb
54.1 Mb
61.6 Mb
96.3 Mb
216.6 Mb
866.3 Mb

 

 


 

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