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Submission of electronic artwork
The purpose of this guide is to provide you with key information regarding the submission of electronic artwork to our journals so that together we can ensure that only the best quality images and figures are reproduced.
Please submit electronic artwork files in one of our three preferred formats: TIFF, EPS and PDF
TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)
This format breaks an image down into pixels. The more pixels there are the sharper the final image will be. This is what is meant by higher resolution. This is the most widely supported format across Windows and Mac platforms.
This format is recommended for photographic images.
- color or greyscale photographic images: 300dpi
- Line art or monochrome images: 600dpi/900dpi
- Combination images (photographs and labelling): 600dpi
EPS (Encapsulated PostScript)
This format is generally resolution independent. This means there are virtually no limits to scaling for line art as long as the line weights are not defined as 'hairline'. EPS can also contain TIFF images. These should be high resolution (as above). All fonts should be embedded.
Minimum line weight is 0.3pt for black lines on a white background.
This format is recommended for line art and combinations of photographs and labelling.
PDF (Portable Document Format)
This format is very similar to EPS. Before saving an image as a PDF it is important to make sure that the fonts are embedded and that the original images are at the correct size and resolution. To check this visually you can zoom in on the PDF.
This format is recommended for line art and combinations of photographs and labelling.
Other file formats
JPEG is a good format for images intended only for online publication. It is a 'lossy' format which means it discards color information. This may not be noticeable on a monitor but is more apparent in print.
GIF is a format that can be used for images containing few colors. This is another format that should only be used for images intended for online publication.
We cannot guarantee the quality of images supplied in other formats.
Creating TIFF, EPS and PDF
It is possible to 'save as' or 'export as' TIFF or EPS from most graphics applications.
You can also save directly to PDF from most graphics packages by using Adobe Acrobat or one of the other PDF creation programmes available.
PDF and EPS files often require that you install a PostScript printer driver to your computer, then you can create the files using the 'print to file' function.
|Journal size||Column width||Page width|
Remove any elements that are not intended for publication and any excess space around the image. Please make sure that the image files do not contain any layers or transparent objects.
Files should be supplied either on CD (formatted for PC), FTP or e-mail (preferably compressed as a .zip file).
Half-tones, scans, photographs and transparencies will not normally be reproduced in color unless agreed by the journal editor. In some cases it may be possible to present figures in black and white in the printed journal, but in color in the online journal, if the originals are suitable.
Some journals offer a limited number of free color pages within the annual page allowance. Authors should therefore restrict their use of color to situations where it is necessary on scientific, and not merely cosmetic, grounds. If there is no free color allowance, authors are required to pay the requisite charges. Any use of color in print shall be at the Editor's discretion.
This is composed of black, white and around 256 intermediate shades of grey. Greyscale art should be saved in greyscale mode.
CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black)
These are the base colors used for printing. CMYK is also known as subtractive color. Any color that is to appear in print must be in CMYK mode.
RGB (Red, Green, Blue)
These are the colors used by computer monitors and default scanner settings. Any color that is to appear online must be in RGB mode.
Fonts and labelling
Please use standard fonts such as Times, Helvetica, Arial and Symbol. All fonts should be embedded in the image files. Any fonts that are not embedded will be replaced by Courier which can result in character loss or realignment.
Keep the font size consistent throughout your artwork, preferrably 8-12pt. Do not use effects such as outlining and shadows on any lettering. Any lines should be a minimum of 0.3pt.
Do not include captions and figure titles with your image files. These should be supplied separately.
File naming conventions
Please name artwork files as "Figure 1, 2, 3..." etc. according to the order they appear in the text.
Here is a quick guide on the basics of image manipulation if your artwork needs changing prior to submission. This section assumes that you are using Adobe Photoshop.
For more information on modifying images in Windows please click here.
If an image is blurred then it is usually because the resolution of the image is too low.
To check the resolution select Image > Resize > Image Size from the Photoshop Menu. A box will appear with information on the height, width and resolution of the image.
If you try to change the resolution of an image then you will usually make it more blurry so it is best to create the original file in the required resolution. If you try to reduce the resolution then some pixels will be removed and if you try to increase the resolution then more pixels will be added based on the color values in the existing pixels. This will result in the image losing some of its sharpness and detail.
If your image is too large or too small and you need to change the size then you can use the Resizing tool. To do this select Image > Resize > Image size from the Photoshop Menu. To maintain the current proportions select Constrain Proportions. This will mean that the width will automatically update as you change the height and vice versa. Be aware that when you change the size of the image you will also change the resolution. The new resolution value will be displayed in the box.
Cropping an image allows you to move excess background and create more of a focus. This should not affect the resolution of your image, however if you use a preset size then the resolution will change to fit the size. To crop an image select the Crop Tool in the Editor menu. Drag the tool over the part of the image you would like to keep. A dotted line will appear around this area with handles at the corners and sides. Press Enter to finish cropping. If you would like to cancel the cropping operation then press Esc.
Scaling is another way of changing the size of a digital image. To scale an image you select Image > Resize > Scale. You can then change the size of the image by dragging the handles. To maintain the relative proportions, Select Constrain Proportions and drag the corner handles. To scale just the height or width use the side handles. You can also scale the image by percentage in the options bar. Press Enter to finish the scaling or Esc to cancel it.
In Photoshop the Elements bar allows you to adjust the contrast and brightness of an image. The Auto Contrast command allows you to adjust the overall contrast of the image without affecting the color. It changes the lightest and darkest areas of the image into Black and White, giving the image more contrast between the two areas.
The darkness or lightness of an image determines the intensity of the color. You can use the Brightness Slider in the Adjustment Panel to change the brightness. Sliding it to the left decreases the brightness level and sliding it right increases it.
Sharpening an image can increase the clarity and focus of it. However, over-sharpening can make an image appear grainy. It is therefore advisable to use the auto sharpening tool. To do this select Enhance > Auto Sharpen.
Most of our journals only print images in black and white or greyscale. To convert a color image to greyscale select Image > Mode > Greyscale. Alternatively you can click the Black and White button in the Adjustment Panel.
Flattening an image merges all the individual layers into one, discarding all hidden layers and filling transparent areas with white. To flatten an image choose the Flatten Image option from the Layer menu or the Layers panel in the More menu. It is best to only flatten an image when you have finished all edits.
For more detailed help with Adobe Photoshop you can visit:
Frequently asked questions
Is it better to supply artwork as a hardcopy or electronically?
Supplying artwork in electronic form allows us to reproduce it more faithfully. Quality can be lost when scanning a hardcopy print, so generally it is better to use a high quality electronic image file instead. It is also easier to modify electronic files.
How do I create an EPS file?
Most graphic applications allow you to save as EPS files. However, you may be required to install a PostScript printer driver to your computer. You will then be able to save the file using the 'print to file' option. For more information click here
Which format should I use to save a color image?
We recommend that you save color photographic images as TIFF files with a minimum 300dpi. If the photograph also includes labelling then it should be saved as an EPS or PDF file.
Which format should I use to save a black and white image?
If the image is a photograph then we recommend that you save it as a TIFF file with 600-900dpi. If the file is line art only, then we advise you to save it as a PDF or EPS file with a minimum line weight of 0.3pt.
What is the difference between the image that is published online and the one that appears in print?
Images that appear online generally do not need to have such a high resolution as those that appear in print. This is because any color information that is discarded, or any detail that is lost, may not be noticed on a monitor but will be more apparent in print.
How do I check the resolution of my artwork?
To check the resolution of an image file in Photoshop select Image > Resize > Image size.
Why doesn't my image appear in color in print when it does online?
Half-tones, scans, photographs and transparencies will not normally be reproduced in color unless agreed by the journal Editor. In some cases the journal will publish the articles in color online and in black and white in print.
Whilst some journals offer a limited number of free color pages within the annual page allowance we advise that this is reserved for occasions when the color is necessary for scientific and not cosmetic reasons.
In other cases the author may be asked to pay for images to appear in color. However, any use of color or black and white is entirely at the Editor's discretion.
Why has the font in my image been changed?
If the fonts you used in the image were not embedded in the file then they will have been replaced with Courier. This can lead to character loss and realignment. To prevent this from happening please make sure to embed the fonts.
To do this in Windows select Save as > Tools > Saving Options > Embed all fonts.
Is there a difference between the images used for peer review and those that appear in print?
Images used for peer review tend to be of a lower quality than the images used in the final publication. Please make sure that once your article has been accepted for publication you upload images in a higher resolution. For more information on the resolutions required for different types of images please see the section on Preferred formats.
My file is too big to send via email. What should I do?
Photographic images saved in TIFF format can often result in very large files. To make the files small enough to send you can ZIP them. To do this, once you have saved the file, right click on the icon and select Winzip > Add to zip.
What size will my image appear in print?
We recommend that you send your image files already in the size you wish them to be published. As a general guide images should usually fit to the size of a column or a page (please see section on Best Practice for more information).
How do I know if my image is suitable for publication?
If you have followed all the advice given above then your image file should be suitable. If you would like to check it before sending it, or if you have been told it is not suitable but don't know what is wrong with it then you can use our pre-flight check. DigitalExpert is a tool that helps authors develop and process print-quality files. It examines digital files and identifies any with problems, providing the author with information on how to repair them. The website is http://dx.sheridan.com/.
Bitmap - A file format used to store digital images. Bitmaps consist of pixels in a grid. They are resolution dependent which means it is difficult to change the size of the image without losing some of the quality. Common bitmap formats include BMP, GIF, JPEG and TIFF. All scanned images and images from digital cameras are bitmaps.
BMP - A standard bitmap format found on computers using the Windows operating system for storing images. BMPs tend to have very large file sizes compared to other bitmap formats.
CMYK - A subtractive color model used in printing.
Combination artwork - Artwork that is a comprises both continuous tone and line/vector elements.
Compression - The process of reducing the size of an image file, e.g. zipping a file.
DPI - Dots/pixels per inch, a measure of printing resolution. Usually a higher DPI means a clearer image. We require files that are 300dpi for photographic images and at least 600dpi for all other images.
EPS - Encapsulated PostScript. A file format recommended for combination artwork and line art.
FTP - File Transfer Protocol. A standard network protocol used to transfer a file from one computer to another over a network such as the internet.
GIF - Graphics Interchange Format. A bitmap file format introduced by CompuServe that has come into widespread usage on the Web due to its wide support but is generally not suitable for print. It should only be used for online images.
Greyscale - Images composed of composed of black, white and around 256 intermediate shades of grey.
Halftone - Traditional halftone printing converts continuous tone into dots of varying size. The size of the dot represents the ink density and is not related to the dpi.
JPEG - A commonly used method of compressing photographic images. JPEGs achieve the reduction in file size by discarding some of the data. It is a suitable format for images that will only be appearing online but not for images that will appear in print as well.
Layer - A layer is a component of a complex image. Each layer contains part of the image e.g. text, background etc. Layers can be useful as they allow you to manipulate parts of your image separately. Before submitting artwork all layers need to be flattened.
Line art - Line art is any image that is composed of lines and text, such as a graph.
Line weight - Line weight is the relative thickness of a line against a background. For a black line against a white background we recommend a minimum line weight of 0.3pt.
Lossy - Lossy file compression discards information in order to achieve the size reduction objective. This results in the loss of detail and quality from an image, often leading to jagged edges and areas of pixelation.
Monochrome - An image displayed in a single color, or in shades of a single color.
PDF - Portable document format. Allows different users to view files if they don't have the same software.
Pixel - A pixel (or picture element) is a single point in a raster image. It is the smallest unit of an image that can be controlled. Each pixel is given a position and a color value. The greater the number of pixels the higher the resolution, and the clearer the image.
PostScript - A page description language that describes a page's graphic and text content. A PostScript printer can be used to create EPS and PDF files.
Raster image - Another name for a bitmap image.
Resolution - The amount of detail an image holds. The higher the resolution the greater the detail. Dpi is the unit of measurement for resolution.
RGB - An additive color model used for printing.
TIFF - Tagged image file format. Recommended for storing continuous tone images.
Vector graphics - Vector graphics store the information about the lines, colors etc as mathematical formulae rather than pixels (as in raster images). Vector images are easier to modify than raster images. EPS is an example of a vector format.
ZIP - A ZIP file is a data compression file. It contains one or more file that can be compressed to reduce its size. Once a file has been 'ZIPped' it can be extracted again, and no data will be lost in the compression.
Before you submit any artwork please use this checklist to make sure that everything is in order.
- Files are provided in TIFF, PDF or EPS format...
- Artwork is of sufficient resolution for its style.
- All images are the size intended for publication and all unnecessary elements have been removed.
- All fonts used for any text are embedded and standard fonts (Helvetica/Arial/Times New Roman/Symbol). Font size is consistent.
- Any lines are a minimum of 0.3pt.
- Images do not contain any layers or transparent objects.
- Files are named according to convention.
- Artwork is provided in separate files to the main text.
- Captions and figure titles are provided in separate file.
- All rights/permissions have been secured.