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Figure guidelines for authors

Please use the following guidelines when submitting figures (illustrations or photographs) for your book.


  • All figures should be supplied as separate files. Please do not embed the figures in the text of MS Word, or other word processing files.
  • The figure files should be named in a logical way (e.g. Fig.5.3a) and clearly listed in a separate figure checklist.
  • Provide a same-size hard copy print-out of each figure. This copy should be clearly labelled with the figure number and the name of the electronic file. If the original is a printed photograph or similar, please provide a photocopy as well as the original. If it is not clear which way round or up a figure is to appear, please help us by indicating this with an arrow on the print-out.
  • If your image needs to have elements deleted, or you would like areas cropped in a particular way prior to printing, please indicate this clearly on the photocopy or print-out.
  • Your book will not include colour unless it specifically states in the Schedule in your contract that it will do so, or it has otherwise been agreed with your Press editor. Please do not submit colour originals under other circumstances.
  • Please ensure that the material you submit is of the best possible quality. Minor blemishes on originals can be removed, but the overall appearance and resolution cannot be improved.

File formats

Suitable file formats

We would prefer it if you could submit your figures in the following formats:

  • Line illustrations (such as line drawings, graphs and charts) should be provided in TIFF (.tif) or vector EPS (.eps) format. Wherever possible, always supply the original rather than a copy scanned from the original artwork.
  • Photographs should be provided in TIFF (.tif) format. If you cannot supply TIFF, we can accept images provided in JPEG (JPG/.jpg) format. For resolution requirements see below.
Unsuitable file formats

If you wish to submit figures in the format in which they were created such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe PhotoShop or CorelDraw, we would prefer you to send a sample for approval first. In some cases the appearance, layout and fonts may change when opened in different versions of software or on different computers, which is why it is better if you can provide final TIFF, EPS or JPEG formats. Note that some software packages are generally NOT suitable for conversion to print reproduction, and these include:

  • Microsoft PowerPoint files
  • Images created in Microsoft Word
  • GIFF images downloaded from the web


It is best to provide your figures in the same size or larger than they will be reproduced in the printed book. If you are unsure of the page design and size of your book please contact your Press editor for guidance. If the originals you supply are smaller in size than they will appear in the finished book, they may lose some clarity and detail when enlarged. In particular, photographs that have already been scanned will tend to look pixelated, and line drawings will lose their sharpness.

Line illustrations

  • Please provide the original file in either TIFF format, saved at 1200 dpi (dots per inch), or vector EPS format, at the correct size for reproduction in the book.
  • In line drawings, do not use line weights that will be less than 0.5 points at final size. Although line weights of less than this will show up on your computer screen and laser print-out they may not appear when printed in the book.
  • Please set figure labels in 9pt Arial, Helvetica or a similar sans-serif font. Labels should be set in lower case with an initial capital (e.g. 'Energy levels').
  • If the figure includes several parts labelled (a), (b) etc., please make sure the parts of the figures themselves are clearly marked.
  • Maths labels should be typed exactly as they appear in the text of the book. For example if a symbol appears in italic in the text or equation, it should also appear in italic in the figure.
  • All fonts should be embedded.
  • Common packages such as Adobe Illustrator have options which allow you to output to TIFF or EPS, and we would prefer it if you could supply your files in this format. If you wish to submit figures in a different file format, please send a sample for approval first.
Black and white illustrations
  • Prepare all black and white illustrations in black and white or greyscale rather than colour.
  • If you wish to use shading to differentiate areas on the figure, please check your software to see if there are options such as patterns, textures or a range of tones (tints) within black.
  • The range of tones (tints) in greyscale illustrations should not be less than 15%, and not more than 85%. When creating a scale or using different densities to highlight areas in the illustration, it is best to use increments of 15 or 20%. Any increments of less than this may be hard to differentiate on the printed page.
Colour illustrations
  • Colour illustrations must be saved in CMYK (not RGB).


  • Please supply the original file in TIFF format, saved at a minimum resolution of 300 dpi at the correct size for reproduction in the book. If a TIFF format file is not available, please provide a JPEG file. If the images are only available in a different format, please provide a sample for approval.
  • For images such as CT and MRI scans, please supply the original copies where possible.
  • Do not submit colour images for conversion to black and white if you can avoid it. When converted there may be a loss of contrast and detail. Details that appear quite obvious in a colour image may merge into the background when printed in black and white. Colour scale bars may not be so easy to differentiate when converted to black and white.
Photographs taken with a digital camera
  • Most digital cameras produce JPEG images as their standard format, but some can be set to TIFF. If your camera can be set to produce TIFF format, please select this option when taking photographs. If your camera does not allow TIFF as a setting, please set it to produce the highest resolution JPEG possible. Save the images immediately to TIFF when they have been downloaded from the camera. To avoid loss of detail from the photograph, do not change the JPEG in any way before saving to TIFF.
Images from the web
  • Images downloaded from the internet tend to be ‘low resolution’, that is 72 or 96 dpi. This means that they will not provide adequate quality when printed in a book. If you wish to use an image which appears on a website, please contact the site’s administrator, or the creator of the image, and obtain a copy of the high resolution original.
  • The fact that an image appears on a website does not necessarily mean that it is copyright-free. Permission may be required from the copyright holder before it can be reproduced in your book (see Permissions).


  • If you are providing scanned copies of the original image, please make sure that you scan at a minimum resolution of 300 dpi, at the size (or larger than) they will be reproduced in the printed book.
  • If you wish to reuse an illustration or photograph from a printed book, it is better to obtain the original artwork than to scan from the printed copy. As photographs which appear in printed books have been scanned once already, if you scan them again there will be an unavoidable loss of detail. Similarly, if you scan an illustration from a printed book, it may result in the loss of sharpness in lines and poor definition of tints.
  • Please note that a high resolution scan of a low resolution original will not improve the quality in any way.


  • It is preferable to use your own material for illustrations, figures and tables, or to adapt other material, rather than reproduce from another source. If figures and/or tables do come from another source they must always be acknowledged at the end of the caption. Note that material has to be substantially modified to avoid needing permission to reproduce. Cosmetic changes such as tinting, relabeling, or redrawing as is, are not enough.
  • If an illustration is taken directly from another source without substantial modification you must obtain written permission from the copyright holder, who may be a scientific society, author(s) or publisher(s). (Note that hospitals hold copyright for any photographs taken during the course of work done on their premises and permission has to be obtained from the patients if the subjects of the photograph can be recognised.) If in doubt, please consult your Press editor.
  • Suggested wordings for permissions letters are:

    1. For a permission request to use extract/illustration/table from another publisher's work for which no permission fee is expected to be charged:

    Dear <rightsholder>

    <Cambridge book title>

    I am writing/editing/contributing to an academic work under the provisional title above, to be published by Cambridge University Press in <estimated date of publication> with an initial print run of approximately ................ copies and an estimated retail price of xxxx.

    I request your permission to include the following material in this work:

    Date of publication:
    Page no(s)./
    illustration no(s)./
    table no(s).:

    Unless otherwise informed, permission will be assumed to grant the nonexclusive right to use the material in print and electronic editions of the work in all languages throughout the world, in all subsequent reprints and revised editions of the work and as part of a digitised extract from the work made available online for promotional purposes only.

    *I further request permission for the material to be included in any reprint or translation published under licence from Cambridge University Press.

    The source of the material will be fully acknowledged in the usual way. Please indicate below if you have any special requirements:



    Please indicate your agreement to this request by signing and returning one copy of this letter. The duplicate is for your own records. By your countersignature, you warrant that you control these rights and are authorised to grant this permission.

    If this is not the case, I would be grateful if you could let me know to whom I should apply.

    Yours sincerely

    I/we hereby grant the permission detailed above.

    Signed:........................................................................... Date: ..............................................................
    *may be omitted

    2. Letter to be used for a permission request to a museum, agency etc. for the use of an illustration for which a permission fee is expected to be charged:

    Dear <rightsholder>

    <Cambridge book title>

    I am writing/editing/contributing to an academic work under the provisional title above, to be published by Cambridge University Press in <estimated date of publication> with an initial print run of approximately ................ copies and an estimated retail price of xxxx. Cambridge University Press is a not-for-profit organisation, and my book is intended principally for scholars and their libraries.

    I request your permission to include the following material in this work:

    <details of illustration(s)>

    I require the nonexclusive right to use the material in print and electronic editions of the work in all languages throughout the world, in all subsequent reprints and revised editions of the work and as part of a digitised extract from the work made available online for promotional purposes only.

    Please advise me of your terms and conditions. In accordance with normal publishing practice, any permission fee will be paid on publication of the work.

    Yours sincerely

  • It is important that you request all permissions as soon as you have the necessary details so that any fees can be settled and you can insert any special credit lines into the captions before the typescript is sent to the typesetter. If in doubt, please consult your Press editor.
  • Copies of the letters giving permission to reproduce copyright material must be sent to your Press editor when you submit your typescript.
  • Permission is also required for long extracts quoted from other books. See Quotations and permission to reproduce them.

Figure numbering

  • Please number the figures decimally by chapter (e.g. Figure 1.1, 1.2, etc.) if possible.
  • If the figures are not to be numbered, please use a logical or descriptive naming convention so that it is easy to tie them in with their corresponding citations, captions, and other instructions.
  • When preparing a figure checklist for books prepared in LaTeX, as the file names may not always match the figure names, please list them on the figure check list.

Submitting your figures

Please label figure files exactly as they will appear in the book. If you are submitting your figures on a CD or DVD, please label the disk and case clearly with information such as the author’s name, book title, date created, and the details of the figures included. For example:

R. Smith
Antennas and Radar
1 September 1997
Figures 3.1-3.6

If you are uploading your figures, please ensure that the files are placed in chapter-wise folders or similar which will help to identify them. We prefer it if each figure is supplied as a separate file. When there is more than one part to a figure (e.g. Figure 1.1a, 1.1b, etc.) it is preferable if each part is supplied separately and treated as a separate illustration or photograph.

Figure checklist

You must provide a figure checklist when submitting your final manuscript. Please include the following information:

  • List each figure and figure part as a separate entry on the checklist, even if some form part of the same figure (e.g. Figure 2.1a, 2.1b, etc.).
  • List the filename against the figure entry on the checklist if this is not evident from the file naming convention. It is important to ensure that the figure can be identified correctly and linked to the correct file, caption, and position in the text.
  • State if the figure is to be reproduced in colour or black and white.
  • Specify the preferred final size of each figure in terms of a quarter, half, two-thirds or full width of the text area. For example, if the full width of the text in the design which is to be used for your book is 120mm, then a quarter-page wide figure will be 30mm wide, a half-page wide figure will be 60mm wide and so on. Note that although the width of the figures will be fixed, the depth of each figure will vary depending on the proportions of the original. If the text design chosen for your book has two columns, please specify the width in terms of one column wide, two-thirds of two columns wide, or two full columns wide. This sizing will help us judge the correct sizing for the final printed figure.
  • Please note any special instructions, such as figures which should appear at the same size, or opposite each other, in the printed volume.
  • When you are expecting the Press to reuse figures from a previous edition of the book, please indicate clearly both the figure number in the old edition and the figure number in the new edition if these have changed.
  • Give details of whether permission is required and if so if it has been obtained. Note that we cannot proceed with production of your book until all permissions are in place.

Please download a sample of a completed figure checklist here: Figure checklist Word version and Figure checklist Excel version.

Figure captions

  • Please supply captions in a separate file to the text and figures. The caption file(s) should contain text only; any graphic key, scale or legend which is part of the image should be supplied as part of the figure file.
  • In the text of your book, please provide a citation or indicate approximately where each figure should appear, for example 'See Figure 5.2' or 'Place photograph of author Robert Jones here'. We will try to place your figures as close as possible to their citations in the text, but please note that because of the limitations of page layout, it may not always be possible.
A final request - please:
  • Do not embed figures in the text; each figure must be saved as a separate file.
  • Do not submit tables or lists as figures. Tables and lists should be incorporated into the text.
  • Do not submit photocopies as originals for reproduction. We require the best quality hard copy that you can supply.
  • Do not supply figures in PowerPoint or Word. Nearly all figure files in these formats are low resolution (less than 300 dpi) and the quality will lessen each time work is carried out on the file.
  • Do not supply PDF files as origins – this format cannot be manipulated and the quality of the image will deteriorate if it has to be resized.
  • Do not use RGB colour in any files. RGB is only suitable for images used on screen. CMYK should be used in images which are to be printed.
  • Do not submit low-resolution files such as those copied from the internet.

If you have any questions about the above, please contact your Press editor.