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Graphics Guidelines

Preparing Your Files

Figures should be submitted electronically as Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) or Portable Document Format (PDF) files named as 'f' followed by the figure number, with an '.eps' or '.pdf' extension – for example, f1.eps, f2a.eps, f2b.eps, f3.eps, ... . If you are using AASTeX, you should use AASTeX's figure-inclusion commands to include the figures in the TeX file; if you are using Microsoft Word you should keep the figures as separate EPS or PDF files.

Note that not all PostScript (PS) are Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) files; in particular, an EPS file must contain a bounding box. Incorrectly constructed EPS files can cause problems when trying to combine the text with all the figures into one single PS file. Check the documentation for your graphics software to ensure that it does genuinely output compliant EPS files, and, in particular, please note that a PS file created by printing to file from the Windows or Macintosh operating systems will probably create a problematic PS file.

When we prepare the published version of your paper we may rearrange or resize the figures, so it is helpful if you can ensure that each figure or subfigure is in a separate EPS file. If a figure is part of a lettered, multipart figure, place the letter within the box around the figure, not outside of it. If the letter cannot be placed within the box, lettered tags can be typeset. Page numbers, figure numbers, file information, etc., should not be included in figure files.

If you feel that figures in the published paper must be sized or arranged in a certain way, please include a readme.txt file which describes your requirements; the Production Editor may contact you about this when the paper is accepted. Note that extra charges will be incurred if you decide to make alterations to figures at proof stage.

Try to use only common fonts, such as Times, Helvetica, or Symbol, in figures. Spelling and use of numbers and units in figures should conform to usage in the body of the text and figure legends. A minimum of 6 pt. font size is acceptable.

When using SM (or any varieties of the Mongo program), a small bold font should be used for axis labels, lettering, etc., rather than the default "outline" font. The lines that make up the outline font are very thin and may drop out during the publication process.

Before saving a file, all fonts should be converted to outlines or paths, if the program has such a feature (as in Illustrator, Canvas, or Freehand). Otherwise, fonts should be included in the PS file (this is usually an option of the Save command).

There should be consistency of appearance between the size of symbols and the size of type within a figure, and between the weight of the lines and the weight of type within the figures. Figures usually only occupy one column, so lines in figures should be thick enough to be visible when the figure is shown at that size. 0.5 points should be considered the thinnest usable linewidth, and if you use dotted or dashed lines you should check that the different sorts of lines are distinguishable when the figure is small.

Online-only Color Figures

You have the option of having figures appear in black and white in the print version of the journal and in color in the online version; this does not incur the charge for processing and printing the color figure. If you wish to take advantage of this option, you should submit a black and white EPS file of the figure for the print version and a color EPS file to appear in the online version using filenames that clearly distinguish between the versions.

Online-only Figures

Online-only figures are intended to provide supplementary information that is not critical to the scientific content of the article but that provides additional useful information for the reader. They are not allowed when the figures are an integral part of the paper, or simply to limit page charges. Such materials will carry a nominal publication charge depending on the number and size of the figure files, but again this will be a small fraction of the cost of printing the same volume of material. Note that online-only materials are subject to the same peer-review standards as the articles as a whole, and their inclusion should be justified on scientific grounds.

Note that supplementary online figures are not permitted in the ApJL.

Numbering of Online-only Figures

Online-only figures must be numbered according to standard figure numbering rules, and must be numbered in sequence with the rest of the figures appearing in the paper. Large figure sets should be numbered as parts of a single figure in the format 1.1 ... 1.n or 1a ... 1z rather than as a run of individually numbered figures. At least one figure in a series must be displayed as an example figure for the print version. The example figure caption should include the note: "Figures 1.1–1.n are available in the online version of the Journal." Authors should clearly indicate in their readme file when submitting which figures are to appear only in the online version. If each component of an online-only figure has its own figure caption, the captions should be included in a separate LaTeX file called efigscaptions.tex. Further details on Figure Set Markup are available.

Finally, note that enormous compendia of uninterpreted data are best archived in an astronomical data center.

Instructions for Color Graphics

Reproduction of color figures in the print version of a journal carries an additional charge. Authors may avoid this charge by choosing to have figures appear in black and white in the print version and in color in the online version of the journal. If they wish to take advantage of this option, authors should submit both black and white and color EPS files of the figure for the print and online versions, respectively. Authors should not use color in files that are intended for black and white reproduction in the print version. We recommend the use of gray levels between 20% and 70%, with at least 20% difference between the levels of gray, when preparing gray-scale figures. A screen of 80 lpi or lower (coarser) should be used, and figures should be rendered as close to final publication size as possible, since reduction can cause levels of gray to drop out. Shaded areas that are extremely dark or light may not reproduce well, and should be avoided if possible.

Color EPS files for print should be prepared as channeled CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) files rather than RGB (red, green, blue) files. Most computer-generated figure files are created using the RGB color model, which is used for devices, such as computer monitors, that create color with light. The CMYK system uses the four process colors used in printing and is therefore the necessary format for figure files to be used for printing. Color figures prepared as RGB EPS files can be converted to CMYK, but because the available color gamut in the RGB model is much larger than the gamut available in the CMYK model, it is very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to match the colors exactly between the two formats. No guarantee can be given as to the quality of color in files that must be converted from RGB to CMYK. It should also be noted that hard copies produced from RGB files by desktop color printers can still contain colors outside of the range of the CMYK palette. Desktop printers may use dyes or wax transfers that create colors that cannot be duplicated by the available CMYK color palette. Color figure files intended for use only in the online version may be submitted as RGB files.

The optimum resolution for CMYK files is 300 dpi. Proofs will contain the color versions of figures.

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