Recently PC Advisor has been testing every photo-printer we can get our grubby mitts on. But regardless of the quality of your printing hardware, there are several simple tweaks you can make to improve the quality of your output.

This article appears as part of the April 07 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents

Enhance the image

Before printing, it pays to ensure that your image is in the best possible state by cropping, rotating and removing any blemishes. These tasks can all be carried out using the tools bundled with your printer.

Most image-editors have a one-click fix for issues such as red-eye and the image being either too bright or too dark. If not, look for an Edit or Enhance menu.

Your printer should bundle an image-editing application that equips you with the necessary tools to clean up your photos. Use this software to crop in on images to remove unwanted areas, improve composition and heighten impact. Crooked shots can be aligned using rotation tools. Often such programs feature one-click thumbnail variations to adjust an image's lighting or colour. If there's an option to manually adjust such aspects, this can produce better results.

Boost the resolution

An image's resolution is the number of dots used to make up an area. The image- and printer-resolution don't have to be the same. If your printer has a resolution of 1,200dpi (dots per inch), your digital photos don't need to be as high, because such a printer has a group of smaller dots to create one pixel. Try to print photos with a resolution of around 300dpi to avoid pixellation. To preserve detail, save your photos as uncompressed Raw or Tiff files. This will create a large file, but will result in a better-looking print.

Check your settings

Download the most recent drivers for your printer. When you press Print, click on the Properties option and choose Print Quality. If there's a quality versus speed setting, for superior prints always choose quality.