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Guidelines for the cropping of figures

All figures submitted to online-only journals published by BioMed Central should be submitted at their actual size. Ideally the figures should be cropped so that there is no unnecessary white space bordering the image. The cropping of figures improves accuracy when placing the figure in combination with other elements, when the accepted manuscript is ready for publication on the website.

Figures submitted in the following formats are accepted:

Below is an example of a suitably cropped figure

cropping an image

(courtesy of T Gambichler, BMC Dermatology2001 1: 6)

Cropping guidelines for specific applications

Cropping figures created/saved in PowerPoint

From the View pull-down menu, ensure that the Ruler option is selected, and measure the dimensions of the image. Select all the elements in the slide (ctrl+a) and then cut these elements (ctrl+x). From the File pull-down menu, select Page Setup and change the dimensions of the slide to match that of the image. Paste the elements back into the slide (ctrl+v).

Cropping figures saved in Word

From View pull-down menu, select Print Layout. Next click Page Setup on the File pull-down menu and reduce the page margins (Margins tab) to zero, then change the dimensions of the page (click the Paper size tab) to match that of the image.

Bitmap figures

Bitmap image files can be created and manipulated using image-editing programs such as MS Paint, Corel Photo Paint, Adobe Photoshop and Jasc Paintshop Pro.

Common bitmap formats include BMP (bitmap), TIFF (tag image file format), PNG (portable networks graphics) and JPEG. The process for cropping these files may differ according to the software used. We recommend that you crop bitmap figures in the software you originally used to create the image; unfortunately we cannot give detailed instructions here for every software program, but have provided instructions for some standard programs.

Please note that Bitmap images are resolution dependent. Therefore the resizing of an image may result in the loss of quality

Cropping a BMP file using MS Paint

By clicking on the broken rectangular line, select the area of the image to be cropped. Copy the selected image ( ctrl+c or Edit/copy ). Open a new document (ctrl+n), and paste the image (ctrl+ v ) here. Go to Image/attributes or ctrl+E and adjust the width and height accordingly, ensuring that units are in centimetres (cm).

Cropping a TIFF image using Kodak Imaging for Windows

Kodak Imaging for Windows is included with the Windows 98, 2000 and NT operating systems. It is also included in later versions of Windows 95.

Select the area to be cropped using the rectangular select tool, found in the tool bar. Copy the selected image ( ctrl+c or Edit/copy ). Open a new document (ctrl+n), select the file - TIFF document (TIFF) and change the page size by clicking on Size tab and adjusting the width and height accordingly.

Cropping a PNG file using MS Paint

Once PNG files are opened in Internet Explorer, they can saved as a .bmp file and then cropped using MS Paint, using the above instructions.

Vector figures

Vector images can be created and manipulated using a wide range of programs. Examples of such are Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW and Macromedia Freehand.

Common vector formats are PDF (portable document format) and EPS (encapsulated postscript).

In contrast to bitmap formats, vector files are resolution independent and therefore the size of vector images can be increased or decreased without a loss in quality.

Cropping a PDF file using Adobe Acrobat

From the Document menu select Crop Pages. The Crop Pages dialog box will appear. Change the page margins by using the up and down arrow keys for each margin (left, right, top, bottom).

Alternatively, cropping can be done by selecting the crop tool from the toolbar. Here the cropping boundaries are set by selecting a handle at a corner of the cropping rectangle, and dragging it to the correct size.

Cropping an EPS file

EPS files can be generated by all drawing applications. We advise that you crop an EPS image using the same software as was used to create it (refer to the manufacturer's documentation).

If you have problems cropping your PDF or EPS image then, as a last resort, you may consider rasterizing it (converting from vector to bitmap format) using Photoshop, cropping the bitmap (again using Photoshop) and submitting the resulting bitmap image in TIFF or JPEG format. However, rasterization will typically increase file size and reduce quality, compared with a vector image.

If the file format is not listed, then please contact

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