Background: I am not a trained designer but have been running a small home business for 8 years where I design personalised chocolate wrappers. I use a laptop; I don't have the budget for expensive equipment but after going through several different printers I am currently on a Xerox Phaser 6600 colour laser printer. I use 115gsm gloss paper.
My Question: Is there anything I can do to improve the print resolution of .png graphics created using Serif PhotoPlus, inserted into a MSPublisher document, and printed using the Xerox Phaser 6600? Currently the dpi resolution choice is greyed out in the Advanced Driver settings in the print dialog box. It is fixed at '600 x 600 dpi 256 shades of gray'. The spec for this model says it can do 'up to 600 x 600 x 4 dpi (up to 1200 x 1200 enhanced image quality)' - do I already have the highest resolution setting?
Specific nature of problem: Graphics to which I've applied 3D effects look great on Publisher's print preview screen but, after I print them, it appears that they have been composed using fine, diagonal lines rather than dots. This makes them look fuzzy when printed on very small wrappers - and I have to send photo proofs which people can zoom in on, so imperfections do show up.
I notice that very small (4pt) black text on the same document is coming out quite crisply. Maybe because it is a font and due to its colour? I want to believe that my printer can do better with the images.
Is it the printer or the software? I am exporting from PhotoPlus as .png files because I want to preserve transparency. I use Publisher for my templates because I find it easier to move, duplicate and align objects and text in this program than in a graphics program. Also I need to lay out an A4 sheet of my wrappers with sometimes multiple crop marks and it's just so easy to use for this.