How Many Printed Pages Is One Megabyte?

By Mickey Scott

One megabyte may seem like a lot of information, and indeed it can hold a substantial amount of text. But images can take up large amounts of disk space and even a few printed pictures can be several megabytes worth of information. The following values are estimated using an 8 1/2" by 11" piece of paper as a standard page.


A byte, usually comprised of eight bits, is a measure of computer information. Each bit contains a binary value of either 1 or 0. A megabyte contains 1,048,576 bytes of information, or 8,388,608 bits.


One text character contains one byte of information. A typical typed page without any images contains about two kilobytes, or 1,024 bytes of information. A megabyte, therefore, can support about 500 typed pages.

Low-Resolution Pictures

A low-resolution image contains about 100 kilobytes, or about a tenth of a megabyte. A megabyte, therefore, can support about 10 low-resolution images. As low-resolution images tend to be relatively small, more than one can easily occupy a printed page. Enlarging an image like this to fully occupy a page is not advisable as the image itself will appear blocky and unclear.

High-Resolution Images

A typical high-resolution image uses about two megabytes of information. A single high resolution image will generally occupy more than a page. To optimally print a high-resolution image it is best to either use larger paper or to reduce the quality of the image itself.

Text and Images

A megabyte's worth of printed pages containing text and images will vary depending on the quantities and/or resolutions of each. An image-heavy document will require more data space than one that is primarily comprised of text. Should those images be large or of a relatively high resolution, or if there is a substantial amount of text, then even more space will be needed to support the document.