Setting Up Photoshop for Floor Plans with Measurement of 1/4" to 1'

Tessando used Ask the Experts™
I'd like to use Photoshop to be able to construct Floor Plans for home building.

In my initial research I noticed the Measurement Scale option that is an inches to pixels conversion. This seems to work well, but isn't quite accomplishing what I want:

I'd like to set this up for Inches to Feet, such that 1/4" is equal to 1' for the sake of accuracy. So, a quarter-inch on the screen (presumably Greyscale at 300dpi) is equal to a foot in real life.

I appreciate your assistance as it turns out that yes, I do indeed need to do math for this.

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Keep in mind that what you are asking would be specific to the monitor size and resolution.

With that said, it should be pretty simple.  Look up what resolution you are using (if this is Windows, you can find it in the Display properties).  For this discussion, let's say it's 1280x1024.  Then measure the horizontal screen size (total image size).  Let's say it is 15".  Divide the horizontal resolution (1280 pixels) by the screen width (15") and you get 85.3333dpi.  Set your program such that 1' is 85.333 pixels and it should work.
TessandoIT Administrator


Thank you, CompProbSolv. Yes, in the creation of such document screen resolution may play a factor. What I ultimately want the output to be to a 300DPI PDF?

Likely there is some sort of conversion of Feet to Inches to Pixel that I'm missing.
"screen resolution may play a factor."
If your OP statements (e.g. "inches to pixels") are correct, screen resolution WILL play a factor, no "may" about it.

I'm not sure what you are missing.  If you do the math I suggested (horizontal resolution/screen width) you'll know the dpi of the screen.  If you want 1' to occupy 1/4" on the screen, you'll want to add a factor of 48 (1' divided by 1/4") to that.

So, measure the screen width, call that SW
Look up the horizontal resolution (number of pixels) and call that SH
You'll want to set the Measurement Scale inches-to-pixels setting such that one inch is SH/(SW*48) pixels

I'm not a Photoshop user, but I'm making the assumption from your OP that the Measurement Scale option sets the ratio between inches on the floor plan and pixels on the screen.
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I'm not understanding what is being asked with "What I ultimately want the output to be to a 300DPI PDF?"
Likely there is some sort of conversion of Feet to Inches to Pixel that I'm missing
There isn't. A pixel simply refers to a dot on a photo; an inch refers to an actual distance. There is no direct relationship between the size of an object and its size on a photo; in the same way there is no direct relationship between a pixel and an inch.

It is important to realise that the conversion from pixels to inches in PhotoShop relates to how it looks on the paper or screen, not what the real size is.

PhotoShop is the wrong app for floorplans; you need something that works in real world units. For architectural work, AutoCAD and TurboCAD are the best known packages. These will of course do heaps more than you require, such as 3D work and rendering. If you don't need all that, try the free LibreCAD. All of these packages will do your floorplans, and will even print them out for you at the exact scale you need. In all of them you can work in your units, instead of having to worry about converting pixels to inches.
Thanks for the points, Tessando.

I just noticed your question is tagged "Adobe Creative Suite CS". In that case, Illustrator is also far better than PhotoShop for your floorplans.

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