What is DPI?

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Updated December 5, 2022

Even the best computer mouse is useless if you don’t understand its inner workings or have basic knowledge about it. Asking, “What is DPI?” is a great starting point to begin expanding your knowledge. Today, we’ll go over what DPI stands for, what it is, and why it’s essential for everything from the average mouse to the best gaming mouse.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • DPI stands for Dots Per Inch. It is a physical measurement system used by mice to judge distance and move the mouse cursor accordingly.
  • Whether you should use high or low DPI depends on the project you’re working on. High-precision work calls for a lower DPI.
  • On some mice, there is an option to change the DPI. You should be able to use a physical button on your mouse or a separate program.

Explaining Dots Per Inch (DPI)

DPI stands for Dots Per Inch. It is a physical measurement system used by your mouse to calculate distance during movement. While this may seem complicated, it’s pretty simple. Let’s say you have an average mouse that moves a couple of inches across the video display. If you’re using a high-DPI mouse, moving it a couple of inches will cause the mouse cursor to move further across the screen even though both mice moved the same physical distance. You should know certain things if you use a computer, like how long computer mice last or what an ergonomic mouse is.

Insider Tip

A high-quality wireless mouse should have the option to change DPI settings.

Should I Use High- or Low- DPI?

You’ll find that DPI is important for several reasons. The biggest is that its part of what dictates mouse movement. You’ll find that high DPI is excellent if you’re moving your mouse across your screen regularly and don’t require a lot of precision. On the other hand, you might want a lower DPI for more precise work, such as editing photos or documents. Asking, “What is a mouse sensor?” or “What is a mousepad?” will help you better understand the inner components of mice.

How to Change DPI

Whether or not you can change DPI will depend on your mouse. Some of them will have a physical button you’re able to press to cycle through different DPI profiles. For others, there might be a program on your computer you have to use that might also have additional mouse options. If you’re looking for great mice for your shooting game, you might want to look into our Razer Imperator Mass Effect edition review. You should also figure out how to make your mouse better for gaming.

Warning

There is a limited range for DPI on most mice.

STAT: In 2021, video game software expenditure amounted to 12.99 U.S. dollars per consumer unit in the United States, up from 11.94 U.S. dollars in 2019 but overall down from 16.32 U.S. dollars in the preceding year. (source)

What is DPI FAQs

How do I change mouse sensitivity?

Changing mouse sensitivity allows you to control cursor speed better. Doing so is relatively easy and only requires you to go into your mouse software settings on your computer.

Why is having a mouse pad so important?

Ensuring you have a mouse pad is crucial for a seamless computing experience. This is because the surface of your mouse pad is specially designed to help your mouse move flawlessly.

What are optical mice?

These prevalent mice are extremely popular. You’ve almost certainly used optical mice before. These mice use an LED sensor to track and guide cursor movement.

Should I invest in a wireless mouse?

A high-quality wireless mouse is one of the best investments you can make for your computer. They are straightforward to use, don’t require a bulky wired connection, and are highly popular.
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