Tip of the month from PRC  
July 1998

Graphical formats survey

Updated 27 May 2002

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Tip of the month is edited by Peter Ring, PRC (Peter Ring Consultants, Denmark)

- consultants on how to write user friendly manuals

If you have corrections, better texts or suggestions for improvements, please let me know.


Last month's tip discussed how to resize raster pictures (bitmaps). The discussions afterwards revealed a need for a general survey over the various principal graphics format types.

Some of the info given below may sound primitive to the professional reader, but it is included to make sure most technical writers understands the background for the various formats, and thereby each format's individual strong and weak points.

I sincerely hope you will find inspiration to a more efficient use of graphics, and maybe inspiration to new and better ways of teaching your customers how to use your products.

Basic image format types

There are basically three types of graphics formats with a large number of variations : For printing - whenever possible - choose a format with vectorised curved lines, because there is no reduction of the image quality when scaling the image up or down. When making the vectorised lines, be aware of the scaleable/fixed width feature indicating whether the line width is scaled with the image or not. Selecting wrongly here may give some very ugly or even unreadable results!

Note, that some programmes convert your image to an internal low printing quality format (e.g. MS Word to WMF), unless you use EPS files, preferably with a high-resolution colour thumbnail for almost correct screen display of the image.


If you disagree with these ideas - or have other relevant points, experiences, or ideas +/-, please e-mail me !

Ideas for new "Tip of the month" subjects are VERY welcome, too!

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