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American Mineralogist: Journal of Earth and Planetary Materials

Guide to Figures

Note that each pull-down on the menu above contains specific and important information, including nomenclature, tables, references, CIFs, figures, paper types, and more. Please explore the whole site before submitting your paper -- the tab-based design makes it easy to find what you need instead of scrolling on and on. Alternately, there is a PDF you can download for reference that contains all information.

Figure preparation can be viewed as having two stages: (1) Peer Review and (2) Production (after acceptance).

(1) Figure guidelines for Peer Review: In the web-based submission system, figures are uploaded for reviewers and editors. Most of the time they will be viewed solely on screen. Of course, be prepared to supply high-quality figures if accepted.

Where to upload:peer review website, along with your other files*
Acceptable file formatstif, eps, jpg, pdf, doc (see below#)
(PowerPoint) PPT files are not preferred
Labeling Each figure should have the appropriate numerical label, e.g., Figure 1, Fig. 2, Figure 3a... somewhere on it (such as above, below, lower corner, etc.) See below example.
Resolution: web quality OK* for submission/peer review
File names: entered onto the tabbed files screen (for metadata), simply Figure 1, etc.

* Note, when uploading very large files, conversion to PDF might take a while. There is no need to contact our office unless conversion has not completed after 12 hours.

# Word (doc) accepted for peer review; figures only or at end of manuscript.

(2) Figure guidelines for Production: When your paper is accepted and goes to Production, then we evaluate the artwork submitted to the online system. High-quality figures are needed for production. If problems arise, we will work with authors to get press-quality images. **New requirement: Each figure should have the appropriate numerical label, e.g., Figure 1, Fig. 2, Figure 3a... somewhere on it (such as above, below, lower corner, etc.)**

Where to upload/send files If we have any problems with your submitted files, the Editorial Office will contact you.
Acceptable file formats* tif, eps, jpg, pdf, doc (see below#)
Word(doc) accepted No, not at production for optimal quality.
Resolution (ppi/dpi) see guide below
File names Always put ms tracking number first and last name e.g., 1234SmithFig2.tif

* Fonts MUST be embedded.

Copyright Permissions:

All figures (tables, video, anything) requiring permission ought to have its copyright information acknowledged in the caption of that figure/table (even if the permission granted is pending this step). Use the following format: "Used by permission of Publishing Company, from Rambo and Pinko (20XX), Journal, vol. x, Fig. Y, p. z."

A copy of the copyright permission letter is due to the Editorial office as soon as your paper is accepted (or as soon the letter is obtained). Failure to send us this letter will delay publication of your article. You will receive an email after acceptance with instructions on how to fill out the required paperwork; but do not delay in obtaining your copyright permissions once your paper is accepted.

Note: You need a letter of permission even if it is a photograph taken by a friend (unless s/he is a coauthor). Also, images from the Web, including Google and Wikipedia, cannot be used.

Resolution 101

General size guidelines: Assume most art will be 1 column in layout, which is approx. 3 inches (19 picas)-- 2 column art can go up to 6.5 inches (39 picas). Do not use hairlines (make lines >0.5 pt thick). The smallest character or symbol on a figure should be 8 pt high to ensure readability. Use a sans serif font (like Helvetica) and be consistent. Remember to "embed" all fonts!

Note that there are 3 types of figures: plain line art, photographs, and combination art (a mixture of photographic and line art elements). Tip: Here is an easy way to test your resolution: view your artwork on a computer screen at 400% enlargement, are lines jagged? fuzzy? acceptable?

Ideal resolutions for Raster art (.tif): 1200 ppi/dpi for line art; 300 to 600 ppi/dpi for grayscale (shaded) art; 300 ppi/dpi for grayscale-photographic or color artwork. While PDFs and .eps artwork are vector (meaning they expand/contract and keep their set resolution), they will still have too low a resolution if low-resolution raster images are embedded inside.

Color artwork: Should be CMYK (not RGB); if it is not color, make sure it is grayscale, not RGB or CMYK. Color fees are discussed here.

TEM artwork needs special care because of the fine detail and repeating patterns that are difficult to capture on paper with ink in printing. Please use high-resolution images. If accepted, the proofs should be a guideline as to what authors will see and you can re-supply at that point if need be.

Disclaimer. Neither the printer nor the American Mineralogist is responsible for the quality of the artwork you supply; a poor file is exactly the same as sending us a blurry photograph. The image in the journal will likewise be blurry. The quality of the final outcome is determined by your equipment, image resolution, and your ability to produce a quality file. We try to help authors as much as possible.

Figure captions

Figure captions should be brief and explanatory; they should not duplicate information in the figure. Place extensive descriptive text in the caption, not in the figure. Follow this format:

Figure 1. Description text here.

Multiple parts of figures should be indicated by lowercase letters "a" and "b". In the caption, make (a), (b), etc. in bold, or use (left/right) or (upper/lower). If letter designations are used for the parts, please label the figures with those letters.

Labels and text in the figures must be consistent with the manuscript and follow Am Min style. Please note our abbreviation style; especially wt% for weight percent, T for temperature, and P for pressure.

Fees for Color artwork

Authors are responsible for the cost to print color in the journal. We strive to keep our fees low (see details here). A very limited color fund is available for financial assistance. But first consider other options outlined on our web site. Alternately prepare your figures to run in grayscale. We make no profit on color and charge the author only the average cost to us.

Interactive Figures

Am Min is happy to support those papers with interactive features such as Quicktime movies (.mov) or PDFs with buttons that change an image to a different view or rollover features. Upload the files to our online submission site. Upload a .mov using the "video" file type; upload an interactive PDF as a "figure" file type just as any other PDF. If accepted, we will work carefully and closely together to ensure success online.

Using GIMP to modify or clean up your figures

Gimp is a free, open-source program comparable to Photoshop. You can download the free software from

This software will allow you to modify your figures to correct spelling, adjust symbols, or anything you might need to change your figures, scale them to a different size, and save them in one of our acceptable format: tif, eps, jpg, pdf, doc.

Here is a video that gives you a quick tutorial on how it works.