QuickTip #1: converting files to TIFF

It can be extremely frustrating - not to mention time-consuming - formatting papers to meet journal requirements. That's why we provide free templates to help you make sense of the author instructions and speed up the submission process. Please let us know if you need a specific template creating for you.

Image processing and conversion can be equally frustrating, especially when you are doing it for the first time. We thought it might be useful to pass on some of the resources and techniques we use when preparing images for journals. Here, we deal with the commonest scenario we encounter when preparing images for biomedical journals - converting image files into high-resolution TIFFs (usually of minimum 300 dpi resolution).

The usual method involves two steps: converting the (non-TIFF) image into a PDF, then converting the PDF into a TIFF file. Check the journal's author instructions first though, since some journals accept PDF files.

Step 1: Convert to PDF

You can convert your file into a PDF by either "printing" as a PDF (select "print to PDF" in the "print" dialogue box) or by "saving as" a PDF (go to "File" >> "Save As, then in the pull down “Format” or “Save as type” menu select “PDF").

Step 2: Convert PDF into TIFF

If you use an Apple computer, there is a very easy way to do this:

1. Simply open up your PDF in Preview and select "Export…" from the file menu.
2. In the "Format" dropdown at the bottom of the dialogue box, select "TIFF".
3. Many journals (especially PLoS family) prefer you to use LZW compression, so select "LZW" from the "Compression" dropdown.
4. Set the resolution to 300 pixels/inch and "Save".

If you use standalone graphics editing software, such as the excellent open-source program GIMP, then:

1. Open the PDF in your graphics software (GIMP will allow you to set the resolution on import, so set it to 300 pixel/inch at this stage).
2. Crop and re-size the image if necessary.
3. Save the file using LZW compression: in GIMP, use “Export” and select TIFF as the format with LZW compression; in Photoshop, select “LZW compression” and “Discard Layers, and Save a Copy.”

If you are having problems or need advice, why not drop us a line. We are always happy to help.