01 July 2011

Create high resolution 300dpi images for journal publication... without PowerPoint

I have previously outlined how to create journal quality 300dpi .tif images in PowerPoint. This worked very well, and has helped a lot of people. However, this only works in PowerPoint 2003 and 2007.

The Problem
Users of PowerPoint 2010, as well as users of PowerPoint on OSX, are unable to join in on the 300 dpi goodness. For instance, in PowerPoint 2010, there is an option to scale images to 220 dpi, but that's not the same as 300 dpi, is it? In OSX, this functionality was included in PowerPoint 2008, but was removed altogether in 2011!

Here is a quote from someone working at Microsoft Support,
"Unfortunately, the "Dots per inch" option is no longer available in Office for Mac. If this is a feature you'd like to see in future versions of Office for Mac, be sure to send your feedback by clicking..." blah.
See here: http://www.officeformac.com/ms/.59bcff97/0
So, it looks like from now on in order to create high resolution images out of your Excel figures it will be necessary to use something other than PowerPoint.

The Solution
I propose a solution similar to what I have recommended for creating high quality conference posters. It requires that you have a PDF printer installed (below I use the example of Acrobat, but the concept applies equally well to other PDF printers).

Step 1: Create your graph in Excel. I recommend leaving the axes unlabeled for the time being to avoid distorting the text when resizing the figure.

Step 2: Print the image. With the image selected, select File | Print and then set the Printer to Adobe PDF (or whatever PDf printer you have) and select Printer Properties.

Step 3: Edit Image Settings. Edit the Images setting so that the PDF creation process will preserve the image in high quality without downsampling or compressing it. Click OK and optionally save your settings for next time. Print your figure to PDF.

Step 4: Extract TIFF image from PDF. Open your newly created PDF in your viewer of choice, and save 
the page as a TIFF, setting the resolution to 300 dpi.

Step 5. Add finishing touches to TIFF in image editor. Open the TIFF file in your image editor of choice (I use Paint.NET). Add labels to the axes and legend (tip: for the x -axis, it is easy to keep the labels aligned in vertical space by using the text tool only once and separating the labels using the space key to position the labels along the x-axis). Crop the image and save. The 300 dpi resolution will be preserved in your newly cropped TIF.

24 comments:

ChrisInKnox said...

I worked around by opening my .pptx file in open office; saving as high res .pdf; then opening in adobe acrobat pro and saving as high res .tiff

Definitely not an elegant solution, but a workable one.

Mark Antoniou said...

If your original figure was created in Excel, you would be better off avoiding PowerPoint all together. The act of copy + pasting from Excel into PowerPoint reduces the image to 220 dpi. If you then save the image as 300 dpi, you will have a larger file size, but the quality will still be at 220 dpi level.

mkp said...

When you right click on a graphic in PowerPoint 2010 and click Save As Picture, it will save the picture at 150dpi relative to the graphic size. One way to increase resolution is to change the image size. Go to Design->Page Setup and make the presentation 100x75in big. Now you will be saving at 1500dpi. This works well but is awkward to work like this. Would prefer MS to add a dialog box that allows the user to adjust the resolution.

mkp said...

Another useful feature with the Save as Picture option is that making PNG graphics with full transparent for the web is easy. It is best not to scale these images after you make it so you will one to size the presentation and the images so that when you export them, they are the right size you need on your web page. I have several examples of that on my site www.bagtoss.com

jmwing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dale Fletcher said...

Can tiff be uploaded on Facebook?

Mark Antoniou said...

Yes. Check out the Facebook image FAQ

Unknown said...

Thanks for this!

Rosanne Hertzberger said...

Hi Mark, thank you for this advice. I now managed to save the excell graph as a pdf and subsequently as a TIFF with preferences set to 300 ppi. I just want to check whether it worked. I cropped and resized the pdf in Powerpoint (2010). Do you know where I could find the current resolution of the image? In the "format picture" window it says "resolution: 640 x 480" but I'm unsure what unit they mean. I would appreciate your help!

Mark Antoniou said...

Right click on the image, then select Properties, then select Advanced on the Summary tab.

Ryan Fiddler said...

Do you have to purchase Acrobat X Pro to be able to "print to PDF"?

Mark Antoniou said...

You have to purchase Acrobat Pro once the trial period has expired, however, there are many free PDF printers, such as Cute PDF.

Danny said...

I use Ms office 2010. I saved my graphic as a pdf. then used an online converter to convert it to TIFF. this converter gave me choice of dpi..
http://docupub.com/pdfconvert/

This is good enough right?

Mark Antoniou said...

Yes and no. Up-sampling to 300 dpi may fool the journal's image checker, but the image, itself, will not improve in quality to the human eye.

mkp said...

Go to the "Design" tab, then click on "Page Setup". Set your page dimensions to a big number like 45" x 35". Then, choose your page and "Save As" a Tiff. This will produce a big file with awesome detail. I do this for my brochures that require 300dpi and it works flawlessly. I know that PowerPoint shouldn't be used for producing high end brochures but it works.

mkp said...

Go to the "Design" tab, then click on "Page Setup". Set your page dimensions to a big number like 45" x 35". Then, choose your page and "Save As" a Tiff. This will produce a big file with awesome detail. I do this for my brochures that require 300dpi and it works flawlessly. I know that PowerPoint shouldn't be used for producing high end brochures but it works.

Wendy said...

Thanks, Mark! You just saved me from pulling all of my hair out. I can't believe power point has regressed!

Noa Kekuewa Lincoln said...

Hi Mark,
Someone else told me that you can make the page three times larger in power point, and make the image three times larger, so when it exports at 98 dpi you can shrink it back down and so be back to almost 300 dpi. Would that work? I have a mac and power point 2011.
Noa

Kate said...

Noa this is my exact problem too!
I have a mac and powerpoint 2011, and need to get my image to 300 dpi to submit to scientific journal.
The journal tells you to increase the page setup size by 3 times, then save as a jpeg. Next open in photoshop, increase the dpi to 300, and decrease the height/width back down by 3. Then save as a tiff....
Mark does this seem like it should work? I didn't have photoshop but i've just managed to get hold of a copy so will try if u think this would be acceptable! Cheers.

Mark Antoniou said...

If you have Photoshop, then you can simply copy your image from the source program (e.g., a chart in Excel) and create a new file in Photoshop and set the dpi to 300. Then paste the chart into the new file and save as a TIFF. That is by far the easiest workflow. Lucky you!

Victoria said...

Thank you so much for this post - I hadn't thought of going the PDF route. Similarly to some of the others above, I use PowerPoint 2011 on my Mac to create figures and diagrams for scientific journal and conference papers and needed better resolution. I followed the beginning instructions in this article (printed the PowerPoint slide as a PDF) from PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. Then I opened the file using Preview and deleted the extra pages (slides) so that I just had one page left in the PDF file. Then I just inserted the PDF as a picture into my Microsoft Word 2011 document just as I would a jpeg (insert > photo > picture from file> then selected the PDF file). It worked great and was pretty simple!!! :) :D I zoomed into it 500% and it's crystal clear.

Emilie Andersen-Ranberg said...

I tried this but I use Foxitreader and apparently it will only let me save the pdf file as pdf or TXT. Or am I doing something wrong here?
Also, for me it would be fine with the 220dpi that my powerpoint 2010 supplies but when I make the settings for it to save in 220 dpi (not compress the file) the tiff image is STILL only the 96dpi... What's happening?

Mark Antoniou said...

Sounds like you have a few issues to solve, Emilie. This post is a few years old now and starting to show its age. If you are using Windows, might I suggest downloading the excellent Paint.NET and then simply copy and paste your image/chart directly from Office into Paint.NET, which will allow you to set the dpi manually.

Labiferous said...

This came in handy for me just now on my mac. Had to print to PDF, load into Preview, save as TIFF with 300 DPI. But then read back into Preview and save to TIFF without alpha. Don't know why Preview doesn't let you do both things at the same time, but oh well, it worked.