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Large images, image stacks, image series

Viewing large images with the virtual microscope

With the HTML version of your article on ScienceDirect, you can present image content via an interactive viewer or "virtual microscope" that allows the user to pan and zoom within an image and navigate across a stack or series of images. The user can bring up the viewer by clicking the link in the caption field of associated regular figures. This feature is useful for images that are both large in size and have a high level of detail, and as such do not come across very well when presented in the traditional way. It can also be used for the interactive display of stacks and series of such images.

Slide scanners, confocal microscopes or wide field cameras are some examples of devices creating images suitable for this viewer. High resolution images of a more average size are typically better presented as a regular image.

The viewer was developed in collaboration with Kitware SASopens in new tab/window.

Example articles

You can see the virtual microscope in action by clicking on the 'VMxxxx' links in the articles below. You typically find these in the captions of high-resolution images.

Author instructions


  • The below table gives an impression of the image and file sizes for which this feature may be useful.



File resolution



Image size is approx 50,000*30,000 pixels. File size is approx 300Mb


Not useful (too small)

Image dimension is approx 600*400 pixels. File size is approx 800Kb



Image size is approx 2000*1300 pixels. File size is approx 3.8Mb

  • If you want to make use of this feature, before uploading the final revision of your article, please send an e-mail to [email protected]opens in new tab/window to receive a link to the submission tool and detailed uploading instructions.

  • In the tool, your images will be assigned identifiers with the prefix “VM” followed by a unique five-digit number, such as VM00003 or VM02312.


  • You submit your content for the interactive virtual microscope viewer via the dedicated submission tool, to which you will have received access from [email protected]opens in new tab/window

  • When you submit (the final revision of) your manuscript, include the references to your images by including phrases like "a high-resolution version of the image is available as eSlide: VM00003", as in the image below

  • Interactive image content not referenced from a figure caption will not be accessible to readers

virtual microscope

Reviewer instructions

Instructions are included in the reviewer invitation letter.


For any questions about this feature, please contact [email protected]opens in new tab/window.