APS Figure Style Guidelines
1) For raster (pixel-based) images (photographs, scanned images, etc):
- Formats accepted: .jpg, .psd, .pdf
- Figures submitted in these formats must have a resolution of at least 300 pixels per inch (PPI; you can find more information about pixel density here). If the resolution is lower than this, the image will appear blurry or pixilated in print, even if it appears clear on a computer screen. Note: any image embedded in a Word document only has a resolution of 72 PPI, no matter what the resolution of the original image was before it was embedded in a .doc file; please do not submit any raster-based image in .doc format.
2) For vector (line-based) images (graphs, line art, diagrams, etc):
- Formats accepted: .xls, .eps, .ai, .doc or .ppt (only if created in Word or PowerPoint; not embedded images), .pdf
- Figures submitted in these formats can be scaled up and down in size without pixilation, so image resolution is not a concern. All graphs and other line art (illustrations of experimental set-ups, model diagrams, etc) must be submitted in one of these file formats so that they can be edited by our production staff. In cases where a line-based figure was created in a software program other than Excel, Word, or Adobe Illustrator (such as SAS, SigmaPlot, or MATLAB), we ask that authors submit files in .pdf or .eps format.
Q: I created my figure in PowerPoint and copied and pasted it into Word. Which version do you want?
A: Submit the PowerPoint version.
Q: My figure was created in SigmaPlot. What should I send you?
A: Export the figure from SigmaPlot in PDF format and submit the PDF file.
3) If you still have questions about your figure files, please contact Debbie Sourgen, Project Editor for SAGE Publications at Debbie.Sourgen@sagepub.com.
4) If you are submitting a color figure that will be printed in black and white, please keep in mind that it may be difficult to discern between colors when they are converted into grayscales.
5) In all labels—including the key, important words, and words of at least 4 letters—the first letter should be capitalized.
• Exception: Units of measure indicated in parentheses don’t have the first letter capitalized, e.g., “Response Time (ms).”
6) Minus signs—NOT HYPHENS—should be used to indicate negative numbers or subtractions.
7) Do not insert a box around a key or a figure.
8.) A graph should have two axes (ordinate and abscissa) only. Do not include extraneous axes.
9) In mathematical expressions, there should be a single letter space before and after each operator: =, ×, +, –, <. >, etc.
• Exception: Do not insert spaces in subscripts or superscripts.
10) Font style and size:
- Labels and numbers in figures: Helvetica Neue 57 Condensed roman, not bold (bold or italics are acceptable if the caption explains what they indicate)
- Mathematical expression: Helvetica Neue 57 Condensed italics, not bold
- Greek letters should not be in italics
- All ordinate and abscissa quantities, or any sublabel along the ordinate or abscissa: 9 points
- All main ordinate and abscissa labels: 10 points
- Title header (at the top of a figure): 12 points
- Keys: 9 points (this includes the height of boxes to illustrate fills)
- Whenever possible, the key should be placed toward the top of a graph (i.e., toward the top inside the graph or above the graph, as space allows)
- Symbols (e.g., squares, diamonds) plotted in a graph should be no smaller than the corresponding symbols in the key
- Panel labels (a, b, c, etc.): 18 points, lowercase, positioned to the upper left of the corresponding panels. They should not be followed by periods nor surrounded parentheses.
- All other text in graphs (ex. a label for a graphed line or symbol): 9 points