Mar 7, 2015

How to create high resolution figures for publication

When publishing articles in some journals, we may see some specific requirement for figures, such as the size, color, and resolution. For resolution, often the authors are asked to submit separate image files with high resolution (e.g., 300 dpi for color images, and 1200 dpi for gray images), instead of embedded ones (often seen in medical journals). If you are not using LaTeX, Pgf or tikz, you may need to create those figures from drawings generated by MS Word, or PPT, or other drawing software.

Here are the steps to create high resolution figures.
1. Install 'GIMP' from
2. Prepare your figures from any plotting software; keep it as clear as possible. If they are plotted from Word or Powerpoint, use the system snipping tool, or any screen print program to 'cut' the image. For example, below is one figure generated by Powerpoint.
3. Save the screenshot as png. Right click to find out its dimension from "properties-->details". E.g. this image is 583x303 pixels, with 32 bit depth.
4. Launch 'GIMP', create a new file, and set Image size W=583, H=303; In advanced options, set X resolution=300, Y-resolution=300 (or other values required). If the journal requires some specific figure size, then you need to set the Image size correspondingly.
5. Click OK, and drag the saved PNG image file into the newly created canvas. From 'File' --> "Save As". Now you can save it as the required file type, (often be 'TIF', or 'eps'). You can verify the new figure's resolution by right click and choose "Properties" --> "details".
Of course, I personally prefer LaTeX+TIKZ. But not all the time you can use them. So the GIMP comes for help.

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