Preparing illustrations for use in theses, reports and publications
Posted on by Luke
What software are you making your thesis in? The two main ones are ms word and latex. Please note that due to the variation in versions of ms-word on pc and mac, it is difficult to write consistent instructions for it.
Create a figure template
Figure Width: make your figures so that they are always the width of the page minus the margins (see figure below). For publications you will have a template for one or two columns.
Figure Length:Make your figure length to suit the figure up to a maximum that leaves room for the caption to appear on the same page (see figure below).
Why not just scale each figure as necessary to fit in the word doc or LaTeX?
There are various reasons why using a template is the best approach:
- Image sizes won’t get bloated. You can set resolution of output (e.g. 300ppi) and know that the image will be 300ppi.
- Font size, stroke width etc. will be consistent
- Easier to make figures.
For ms-word use EMF format to get vector graphics. Or use PNG/JPEG depending on whether the format is graphics like or photo like (refer to the poster in the graphics lab for this).
Best to just use PDF format. Occasionally there are issues with transparency, gradients and nested hidden objects.
Journals are sometimes restrictive in what format they accept. They usually focus on people submitting a particular file format at a particular resolution rather than assessing the quality (e.g. optical resolution of rasters) or file size issues. Ideally you would just submit PDF for vector figures. Sometimes they won’t accept PDF but will accept EPS which is a similar format. For rasters they tend to prefer .tiff at 600ppi or 1200ppi, even though PNG is much better at lossless compression of some rasters.
Techniques using Adobe illustrator
Make sure you check the use artboards thing on export. Refer to this post on pdf linking embedding and saving in illustrator
You might also find the post on optimising pdfs in acrobat pro useful.
Posted in Illustration, Word Processing | Tagged CS5, embedding, Figures, illustrator, image formats, images, journals, LaTeX, margins, PDF, publication, resolution, saving | Leave a reply