Artwork - frequently asked questions

Why don't you accept PNG files?

We will constantly review technological developments in the graphics industry including emerging file formats - new recommended formats will be introduced where appropriate. PNG files do not cause issues in processing, but our submission systems are in progress of updating to allow for this useful new format.

Why can't I supply in native format (CorelDraw, ChemDraw etc.)?

We prefer your artwork in TIFF or EPS format because these common interchange formats are readable by a wide number of applications. Virtually all image creation/manipulation software can "save as…" or "export…" to these common formats.

Can I supply an EPS file created in CorelDraw?

We only currently successfully process TIFF files written by CorelDraw which are exported at the appropriate resolution: 300 dpi for halftones, 500 dpi for combinations (line art and halftone together) and 1000 dpi for line art. We have some success processing CorelDraw EPS files, but occasionally run into problems with fills and patterns when processing such images for print.

Can I supply artwork in Postscript format?

Most of the time Postscript files behave well and can be treated just like EPS files. Postscript files can have multiple pages, and this can lead to confusion. Please stick to single-page files.

I can't figure out what the resolution of my figures/tables is in my MS Word document, where can I find this?

Unfortunately it is not possible to check image resolutions in MS Word directly. We will provide feedback after acceptance of your manuscript.

The figures and tables were primarily created in MS Excel.  When I copied and pasted an image into Paint it indicated that the resolution was too low

It is not necessary to copy MS Excel figures and/or tables into Paint and then export to TIFF. You should submit MS Office documents directly, as they are an allowed artwork format (hybrid vectors images).

My black and white line art is only 300 dpi, yet your site stipulates a minimum of 1000 dpi, can I just increase the resolution in Photoshop?

No, increasing the image resolution will never improve the quality of the image. It may be possible for us to proceed with this image as a grayscale image. If the resolution is too low, the image will appear jagged or have a stair-stepped effect. Once the print size and resolution has been set, either by scanning or by saving in an image-manipulation software package, it cannot be upsampled to the desired resolution without affecting the quality negatively.

What line weights should I use on my artwork?

Any line work should use a recommended line width of 0.25 pt (absolute minimum line width is 0.1 pt), high-quality reproduction of line work below this width in print cannot be guaranteed (lower resolution output devices such as office laser printers should not be used as indicators in such cases). For prominent lines (e.g. plot lines on graphs) the weight should be approximately 1 pt.

Can I provide screen dumps as electronic artwork?

Screen dumps are not recommended as artwork, but in some cases it is unavoidable, for instance when  you would like to illustrate a screen/settings from a software application. You may get a low-resolution warning for these images on submission, but you may ignore that. It will be helpful if you label these images as screen dumps.

I submitted high resolution halftone images, but in the PDF they are 300 dpi JPEG, why?

All halftone images are converted and down­sampled regardless of source file image resolution to a JPEG with a resolution of 300 dpi so that the PDF can be send more easily via e-mail and is not too large on the web sites. For print purposes, the hi-resolution file will be used.

What tints of black should I use on my graphs?

It is recommended that you only use three or four variations of color or tone on one piece of artwork to avoid problems in distinguishing between lines - a good alternative is to color all lines solid black and use dashed/dotted lines to show a prominent difference.

What colors can I use on my graphs?

If your artwork is to be printed in color then use bold, solid colors as those will reproduce well. If your artwork is to be printed in black and white you must ensure that a conversion will not result in similar shades of gray - if this is the case then make use of patterns for boxes or dotted/dashed lines.

Why do you recommend RGB for color artwork?

We ask for RGB in order to ensure that your color artwork can be published online at the highest possible quality. RGB is the color space that has the highest number of available colors.

I've sent "bright and colorful" RGB files, but these colors look different in the printed version, how is this possible?

As normal, the RGB files will be converted to the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, blacK) color space for the print process. The CMYK color space has a far smaller "gamut" than RGB, and hence it is not possible to accurately produce all RGB colors in print (CMYK)

Color figures

When an accepted paper is received by Elsevier production for publication, a letter will be sent to the corresponding author advising of the number of figures to be published in color and the color costs for that journal. The corresponding author must indicate if s/he wishes to pay for color or if s/he just wants web color. If an author doesn't respond within a certain number of days, the paper will be processed for web color only.

Color figure reproduction charge

For the majority of journals if the author wishes color illustrations to appear as color in print then they must cover part of the printing cost. In the online version the figures will appear in color regardless of whether the author pays for printed color. Some journals also offer additional free offprints if the author agrees to pay for color. For details about the journal-specific cost of color figure reproduction, please contact us.

Should my figures be included in my manuscript file when submitting in the submission system?

We prefer if you upload your figures separately to your manuscript. When our system converts your paper to PDF for the review process it will include your figures at end of the PDF file.

Note: If you used LaTeX to prepare your manuscript, your separately-uploaded EPS files can be embedded in the manuscript itself, using the appropriate commands.

How do I know if my figures are suitable for submission?

Elsevier accepts many different figure file formats, the most common being TIFF, JPEG, EPS and Microsoft Office files. Please first refer to your journal's guide for authors, as this may contain any unique requirements.

I am unable to upload my figures to the submission system. Why is this?

Please ensure that your figures are in any of the acceptable file formats; please check our author artwork instructions for the recommended file formats.

The size of your figures is also a factor for upload failures. We recommend that figures are not larger that 10 MB and if you have several figures these should not be more than 7 MB each to ensure ease of upload.

If your figures are larger than that you may need to save them in a different format. Often journals have an individual limit on file size, to ensure that you are conforming to the journal requirements please check the journal's guide for authors for this information.

If you still cannot upload your figures please contact us for assistance and let us know the size and type of files you are uploading.

Can I upload figures created in ChemDraw, CorelDraw, Photoshop (PSD), Illustrator (AI) or Canvas?

We prefer your artwork in TIFF, JPEG or EPS format because these common interchange formats are readable by a wider number of applications. Virtually all image creation/manipulation software can "save as…" or "export…" to these common formats.

What about figure captions?

There are a few ways to submit figure captions with your submission.

  1. If the journal provides for a submission item type called "Figure Caption", submit your caption here in the form of a text file.
  2. If there is no submission item type provided for "Figure Caption", you should list your figure captions at the end of your manuscript text file.
  3. If you are including a figure caption in the image itself, or a label like "Fig. 1", please ensure to keep it outside of the image area itself, like at the bottom, for instance.