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Figures Checklist

  1. Re-read Creating Figures for Publication as a refresher course.
  2. Make the figures in encapsulated postscript (EPS) unless otherwise directed
  3. No, you may not make the figures in PDF, JPEG, PNG, ...
  4. The figures must be 300dpi or higher. This is usually a non-issue if they are proper EPS files, because EPS files are generally "resolution independent" (infinite resolution). You can (obviously) never convert a low-resolution into a high-resolution file; it doesn't work this way. Do NOT trust some program to scale things for you without checking that the resulting file is truly of high resolution. Print it out and check for yourself. Images should be ultra-crisp and sharp.
  5. Even when you are first working on your figure, print it out at publication size (see Creating Figures for Publication). Go back and re-do this step until you have it printed out at the proper publication size. Verify (with a ruler, no less!) that it is really the right publication size.
  6. Once the figure is printed out in final, publication size (see above), verify that the font is large enough to read easily.
  7. Once the figure is printed out in final, publication size, verify that border lines, lines around the legend, lines in the graph are all thick enough (very thin lines are not ok because they "wash out" in publication). Default line widths in Excel are not acceptable; bump them up.
  8. No dotted lines. Dashed lines are discouraged but may be acceptable if the dashes are nice, thick dashes which are easy to distinguish from each other.
  9. Never ever include any tiny little dots, whether they are just dots for data points, or dots in a dotted line, or dotted grid lines, or dotted whatever. These do not reproduce well.
  10. Once the figure is printed out in final, publication size, verify that any dots for data points or other purposes are sufficiently large that they are easily distinguishable from each other.
  11. Small open symbols (open circles, open squares, open triangles, etc) are not ok if they are too small --- these tend to "fill in" during publication and cannot be distinguished from closed symbols unless they are large enough.
  12. No titles/captions inside the actual figure graphic, only legends, axis labels, etc.
  13. The figures should be about 2MB or smaller, otherwise they can be hard to upload.

© The Sherrill Group
Georgia Institute of Technology
Last Modified: 13 February 2013