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  1. Introduction
  2. Commands for Graphics Placement
  3. Embedding Figures in the Run of Text

1. Introduction

At this time, the most widely used means of including figures or other types of non-textual data in electronic manuscripts is to generate such files as Encapsulated PostScript (EPS). Please see the submissions instructions for the journal that you are submitting to for specific information on preparing and submitting electronic art files. In particular, a wealth of information on preparing electronic art is available in the "Manuscript preparation" instructions that are part of the information for authors.

Generally speaking, it is not necessary to worry too much about figure placement when preparing a manuscript submission to an AAS journal. Remember that the page layout of the typeset journals is much different from the single-column preprint style used for peer review, so final placement of floating elements will be determined during the copy editing and composition process. As long as the figures are present in the manuscript and fit on the page, the manuscript should be okay for peer review and preprint purposes.

If you wish to include PostScript figures in your LaTeX document, the graphics files included must conform to the Encapsulated PostScript standard. You will also need an appropriate DVI translator, one that targets PostScript output devices. There are a number of PostScript-capable TeX implementations available, including Textures, OzTeX, and CMacTeX for Macintosh, Y&YTeX, PCTeX, TrueTeX, and 4AllTeX for Windows, and, on UNIX, dvips. The latter is available via anonymous ftp from CTAN. A fairly comprehensive set of UNIX executables is available on the TeXLive CD.

2. Commands for Graphics Placement

AASTeX uses the standard LaTeX 2e graphicx package for graphics handling. Two standard macros have been provded for graphics placement, \plotone and \plottwo. The \plotone inserts the graphic specified in the epsfile argument, scaled so that the horizontal dimension fits in the body text width; the vertical dimension is scaled to maintain the aspect ratio. \plottwo inserts two plots next to each other. Scale factors are determined automatically from information in the EPS file. You can override the automatic scaling with the command \epsscale, where num is the reduction percentage in decimal units, e.g., 0.80. To include your graphic with a legend, put your commands inside a figure environment with the text of the caption enclosed in a \caption command.


Occasionally, you may need more control over the placement and scaling of a figure than the \plotone and \plottwo macros allow. In such cases, use the graphicx command \includegraphics instead. The syntax of the \includegraphics command is

\includegraphics[key=value, ... ]{epsfile}

where key=value is a scaling parameter and value pair. Some available parameters include

scale = number — reduction percentage in decimal units
width = length —width to which the figure should be scaled
height = length —height to which the figure should be scaled
keepaspectratio = [true|false] —if set to true and both width and height are specified, this flag will maintain the original height/width ratio of the figure
angle = number — number of degrees to rotate the figure counterclockwise
clip = [true|false] —clip the graphic to the bounding box (do not print anything outside the bounding box)

Here, for example, is a command that would scale a figure to 50% of its natural size and rotated it 90 degrees counterclockwise:


Please note that the information above is not intended as a comprehensive guide to the graphicx package. For a full list of \includegraphics parameters, see the LaTeX graphics documentation on CTAN or consult the section on graphicx in Kopka and Daly’s A Guide to LaTeX.

Another alternative for graphics placement is to use the the \plotfiddle command, which was reintroduced in AASTeX v5.2. The syntax of the command is


where the arguments are

vsize —vertical white space to allow for plot (LaTeX dimension)
rot — rotation angle (in degrees)
hsf — horizontal width of scaled figure (PS points)
vsf — vertical height of scaled figure (PS points)
htrans — horizontal translation (PS points)
vtrans — vertical translation (PS points)

3. Embedding Figures in the Run of Text

When preparing a manuscript for submission to an AAS journal, figures and tables do not generally need to be "placed" in the text of the document where you would like them to appear physically in the print journal but rather may follow the main body of the text with one figure group per page. However, if you are preparing a submission for astro-ph or another preprint service and wish to make your paper more compact by placing your figures throughout the text, you may do so using any of the graphics commands above. Note, however, that the \plotone and \plottwo macros do not clip the graphic to the bounding box. If you use these macros and are ending up with an excessive amount of white space around your figures, try using \includgraphics instead, either with the "clip" parameter set to true or with the * form of the command, which will clip the graphic to the bounding box by default:


If desired, you can edit the \plotone and \plottwo commands in your local copy of AASTeX to always use the * form. To do so, open your aastex.cls class file in a text editor, find the \newcommand macros for \plotone and \plottwo, and change their definitions to call \includegraphics with the *.

\typeout{Plotone included the file #1}
\typeout{Plottwo included the files #1 #2}