The Pennsylvania State University

Preparing Charts and Graphs: Exhibit A

Proportion Sizing in Figure Layouts

Charts and graphs are usually drawn at sizes larger than can be used in a book. Reproduction sizes commonly range from 3" x 3" to 4" x 7". To fit on the pages of a book, the original drawings must be reduced in size. The relationship between font sizes, rule weights, and final printed sizes should be considered when constructing the original figures. See the comparisons below for a clarification of the requirements of vector images*.


Fig. A1

Figure A1 shows a chart reduced to the size dimensions of the printed page. Note the illegibility of the legend and column/row headings. The bar shadings are too similar in tone as well.


Fig. A2

Figure A2 depicts the same chart redrawn with the final production size in mind. Bars are clearly distinguishable, all text is legible, and the line rules are not faded.

*vector images - Vector-based drawing applications such as Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Freehand build images by using mathematical formulas to describe points, lines, and shapes. Unlike scans, which depend on proper resolution for realistic rendering, vector graphics are resolution independent and can be enlarged to any size without loss of quality.


Fig. A3

Figure A3 illustrates a line graph in reduced size that will print poorly if no adjustments are made. The type is rendered unreadable. Also, the graph points are lost within the background shading.


Fig. A4
Figure A4 provides the same information as figure A3 but is laid out according to the accepted guidelines. The text is now readable and the plotted points are clearly defined.

preview reproduction size by printing out figures at a width of between 3 and 4 inches. You can also use a photocopier to reduce figures to that size.

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