Here's how to get help:

Follow the steps in one of our detailed help files listed in the menu at left. Talk to Lab staff during office hours. Read the news on the Lab home page. When in doubt, check the manual. Each lab has some pertinent manuals for you to refer to. In most programs, you can get online help by going to the Help menu and/or by pressing the help key on your keyboard. Ask another user.


We also have resources for Mac IT/AT professionals developed by Head Technician Anthony Reimer.


Every student or Faculty member at one time or another will need to insert graphics into an essay, paper or other word-processed document. The files in this section should help you get the best results in the smallest amount of time.

If you have music notation that you want to insert, read the Preparing Music Notation page first. For all other graphics, start with the Preparing Images page.

Word processing and page layout programs allow you to combine text and graphics in a single file. While this is a relatively straightforward procedure, there are things you can do to keep your file sizes down and make your documents print faster (since files with graphics can take several minutes per page to print). There are also two different ways to place graphics — inline and static; which one you use may depend on circumstance. This help file with give you tips on how best to do each of these parts of the task.

Note: If you are inserting a musical notation example from a music notation app, follow the steps on our Preparing Music Notation page. If the musical example is already a PDF document or a scan, skip ahead to the instructions on this page for PDF files.

Most of the time, you will be inserting graphics in a raster format. Standard raster formats include JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and Bitmap (BMP). Files created with a digital camera, with a scanner, or and/or in Photoshop are raster files.

If your file is in a vector format (e.g., a drawing created in an illustration program like Illustrator), or if you have an Adobe Acrobat/PDF file (which could contain vector and/or raster information), you will follow a slightly different procedure to ensure that image quality is preserved.

In order to keep printing as fast as possible, we want to keep these files small while still maintaining good print quality. The best settings for each image are determined by two factors: the type of image and the printer we will be using. Here are the three types of images you might use:

  • Line Art (a.k.a. Bitmap, Black & White): images that are black and white — no grey — such as plain text and pen drawings.
  • Greyscale (a.k.a. B&W Photo, 8-bit Greyscale): photos and other images that have shades of a single colour or that you want to reproduce on a black & white output device (e.g., laser printer).
  • Colour (a.k.a. Colour Photo, CMYK Colour, RGB Colour): photos and other images in colour that you wish to reproduce in colour.

Once you have determined what type of image you need, you will want to use the following settings to create a file that will print well in our Lab but is no larger than needed:

  • Line Art, 600 pixels per inch (PPI).
  • 8-bit Greyscale, 200–300 PPI.
  • 16-bit or 24-bit Colour, 200–300 PPI.

If you are scanning a printed image, simply use these settings. If you are scanning a slide or negative, use these settings but make sure to increase the scaling (e.g., 150%) to use it at a larger size than the size of the slide/negative itself.

For file format, use TIFF whenever possible, as you will get the best possible quality (choose LZW compression if given the chance). The next best choice would be PDF (especially for line art). Use JPEG as a last choice, generally only when you need the file to be very small, such as when you are e-mailing files with images back and forth.

If you are changing an image using Photoshop (Image > Mode and/or Image > Image Size), make sure that you do not increase the size of the file because your original is of low quality (e.g., a photo taken from a web page). For example, here is a typical Image Size dialog box from Photoshop.

The Pixel Dimensions describes the number of pixels that are in the total image (i.e. when someone says they have a "8 Megapixel digital camera", this is what they are referring to). Since the number of total pixels has gone down, this is an image where resizing is beneficial. If the number were to go up or were to go down by about 25%, you should not bother resizing the image.