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Making Figures with Inkscape

Submitted by sbrewer on Fri, 09/22/2017 - 11:37

Screencasts for making multipanel scientific figures using Inkscape

Creating Figures: Part 1. Compositing
Creating Figures: Part 2. Labels and Arrows
Creating Figures: Part 3. Document Properties and Exporting


  • Think ahead of time. What is your figure going to look like? Should you crop imagery ahead of time? Do you need to adjust image or exposure? (Note: Some journals don't allow digital manipulation of imagery). Do this in a bitmap editing program (e.g. GIMP or Photoshop).
  • Do all your work in a folder. Put your image files in there. Save your SVG file in there. Save early and often.


  1. Import all your images: Either Link or Embed. Note things can be “above” or “below” others. Click or drag over to select. Hold the “shift” key to select multiple objects.
  2. Composite your images to make your design: Lock proportions to avoid stretching. Turn “snapping” on or off. Set height and width directly to resize. Use Align and Distribute (switch to "relative to first selected").
  3. Construct one label: Make a square box, make both stroke and fill the same (black or white). Put a text field in and add a letter. Use sans font. Use align and distribute to center letter.
  4. Duplicate label to make more: Select both, duplicate object, move. Repeat as necessary.
  5. Finish each label: Replace each letter as necessary. Use Align and Distribute to center. Select both and group. Use align and distribute to put labels at corners of each panel.
  6. Create arrows: Use the Line Tool to draw a straight line segment (click, click-click). Then use Fill and Stroke tool to set the line width and add arrow head to start (or end).
  7. Set the Page Size: Open Document Properties. Resize Page to Drawing. Set background to not be transparent (increase alpha channel to 255).
  8. Export Finished Figure: Export PAGE. Set width to 1200pixels. Save with name “Lastname-Original.png” The resultant PNG file is your finished figure.

Note: Do not share your finished figure or include in your METHODS manuscript until your methods have been followed!

Information Literacy

Submitted by sbrewer on Fri, 09/15/2017 - 11:44

Work in pairs. Each pair should follow a link, briefly discuss, and be prepared to report on the reliability, validity, and trustworthiness of the site. How do you assess these characteristics?

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