Best file type for thesis figures



I'm in the process of writing up my thesis and as I've been adding figures my file size is getting large quite quickly. I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions on the best file type(s) to use for figures in my thesis? Ideally I want a file type that will minimise file size without compromising too much on quality. My figures will be both diagrams and graphs. Any suggestions or advice would be much appreciated.



I've no idea... I just make figures in powerpoint or excel and paste them in... or print screen shots...

Avatar for Eds

.png is the best for images as it is compressed losslessly.


What are you using at the minute, Liz? My friend told me to save images (charts etc) as pdfs but I can't remember why now.

Sorry that's probably not much help :(

Avatar for Eds

Because they're editable perhaps?


I've been told .png before too! Although I am guilty of the old 'copy and paste' from excel or powerpoint. But that's probably not the best way of doing it.


Ah yes, I think that was part of it. Thanks, Eds.

This is probably obvious, but be careful of copying and pasting charts from Excel because they may be attached to your data source and if you send them to other people the link can be broken.

Apologies if I'm 'teaching my grandmother to suck eggs' ;)

Avatar for Mackem_Beefy

As Ed says, go for PNG due to lossless compression. If you use JPG, especially at high compression, artefacts could show up as "smearing" on screen or in print.

If you can't use PNG, stick to TIFF or BMP. The files are uncompressed but other factors allowing, the images should be clean.

Also remember to avoid compression for images when you do a PDF for submission, as this will also introduce artefacts and "smearing" into any imported images.