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Art Instructions


It is a good idea to check out the draw programs you have available to you before you start drawing the figures for your article. Make sure that you can create an EPS file; that you can control the fonts and line weight; that you can change the line style (dotted, dashed, etc.); and that you can control color. All of these issues affect whether or not your figures will be usable. Do not draw figures in Word (or any other word processor), MacPaint, Windows Paint or any other similar program. These programs are intended for home use, not for publishing books.

If at all possible, figures should be sent in PostScript (PS) or Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) format. It is best to embed all fonts in the figure file: if your printer driver does not give you that option, please go to and download (for free) the latest PostScript printer driver for your system. If your fonts are not embedded, your labels will translate as outlines, not fonts, and they will not look as crisp when printed. Even if you cannot get an EPS file from the program that produced the drawing, e.g., Excel, you may be able to get one another way. We have had success taking Excel graphs and copying and pasting them into a regular draw program. In the draw program we then adjust the line weight, color, etc. and export the file as an EPS. This should work in many other Windows programs. Word is a notable exception: drawings taken from Word tend to lose lines when you move them and patterns will likely be lost. Most draw programs can put labels on figures. Choose Times at 9 pt as the font used in your figures (axes labels are frequently smaller — 8 pt). Figure labels should be in the same style as the corresponding letters in the text — italic, bold, etc.

Many draw programs set the default line weight at .2 pts. This is rather odd since at high resolution these lines all but disappear. Please be sure that the line weight is set to 1 pt. No line should ever be less than .5 pt. Since we are not working in color all lines should be black. Please do not send in files from graphing programs with the lines in 5 different colors: they must all be black and you must do something else to differentiate between them (dots, varying lengths of dashes, etc.).

Please draw the figures at the size you would like them to appear. You should try to draw them as small as possible while still retaining clarity. Please note the text width of the journals before drawing large figures. All three journals are 5 x 8 inches.

Bitmapped formats (BMP, TIF, etc.) are also usable. However, please note that the standard dpi (72) for web figures is not sufficient for print media. All bitmapped figures should be saved at 300 dpi. Bitmap formats are also appropriate for photographs, halftones, and screen shots, but not for line drawings. TIF is the format typically used for scans of photos. BMP or JPG should be used only as a last resort. We like to do a test run on electronic figures early in the production process to see whether or not we can get workable copies of your figures. If you cannot give us PostScript files, let us know and we will help you choose a format that will give us the best possible resolution.

Hand-drawn figures should be submitted with two copies, one with lettering and one without. Hand-drawn figures will be scanned and the labels will be added electronically. The figures should be drawn at approximately twice the size you would like them to appear. Please be sure that the lines are heavy enough to be reduced that much — this is not like reducing a PostScript figure, the lines get fainter the more you reduce the figure. It is a good idea to test one of your drawings on a good photocopy machine to be sure the lines are still heavy enough after the figures have been reduced.

PiCTeX and xy-pic are not preferred methods for producing figures. PicTeX adds a huge number of lines to the files complicating the process of putting your book into our macros. Sizing figures in PiCTeX is also time consuming If you must use PicTeX, please make sure the figures are sized to fit within the text area of the appropriate book series.


We prefer to receive photos, not slides or negatives. Color photographs in electronic format are preferable due to the flexibility when converting images to greyscale. The RGB input channels in Photoshop can be set up to produce a clearer mathematical point. Slides or negatives have to be printed and that adds time and cost to the production process.

However, please note that the standard dpi (72) for web photographs/illustrations is not sufficient for print media. All artwork should be saved at 300 dpi. TIF is the format typically used for scans of photos. For MAA FOCUS and Math Horizons you may submit color or black and white images.

Graphics Generated by Computer Algebra Systems

If you are using a computer algebra system like Maple or Mathematica to generate graphics, generating the graphics using grayscale colors will usually produce better results than if you generate them in color and they are subsequently converted to grayscale. This can be accomplished in Mathematica using "ColorOutput -> GrayLevel" as a graphing option. In Maple, set plotoptions to "color=gray". Also, if you are generating complex three-dimensional graphics, it is preferable to turn off the rendering of nonvisible faces. In Mathematica you can do this by setting "RenderAll -> False". By generating only the visible portions of your figure, you will substantially reduce the file size of your graphics, and any subsequent editing of the figures will be much easier.

Naming Conventions

Please name your files the way the figures are numbered in the text. If you number your figures straight through the article, then the figure files should be: fig1.eps, fig2.eps, etc. This avoids confusion on our part and it saves us time.