#5. It is time to make the actual figure: I see you scrolling to the Powerpoint icon on your desktop…
This post is part of a weekly series about image screening. All published posts can be found on this page.
…and here is why it is a bad idea. Powerpoint (or Keynote) is a wonderful presentation tool. It allows you to give splendid lab meetings and to dazzle competitors at conferences. It is free and widely accessible and easy to use and everybody is comfortable with it. Unfortunately, however, it does not produce proper high-resolution figures that are appropriate for publication and printing and cannot be used to archive data at high resolution. Slides or figures made using Adobe Creative Suite are easily converted and opened in Powerpoint, but the reverse sadly rarely works. Figures created in Powerpoint can be exported to TIFF or EPS files, but they will be low resolution (72 dpi) and will fail to meet printing requirements (and routine screening procedures). Even using tricks (saving as EMF, PDF, or other) will result in insufficient quality when time comes to send your TIFF/EPS/AI figure files to the journal of your dreams. Appropriate figure-making software includes the Adobe Creative suite, CorelDRAW, Inkscape, OMERO.figure, and others. (If you are not familiar with OMERO yet, it is a free online platform from The Open Microscopy Environment allowing visualization, management, and analysis of microscopy images. It supports a very large number of microscope file formats and is designed to safely store, view, and export high-resolution micrographs and, thanks to its figure-making tools, entire figures. Full disclosure: as you may know, JCB partnered with Glencoe Software, Inc. to develop the JCB DataViewer using technology from The Open Microscopy Environment.)
If you have any doubt as to whether software is appropriate, please feel free to send a test file to us and we’ll happily check whether it meets our requirements and explain how to move forward from there.
Now that you’re set on using proper software and have all your data ready, how do you make sure you’re not improperly adding images to the figure files? Check back next week!