Exporting graphics

You can choose from a variety of formats when exporting Igor's graphs, page layouts and tables. There are two main categories: Object-based and bitmap images. The best format depends on the target application but in general object-based formats provide the highest quality, and should be used when you will be editing the graphic, while bitmap formats are more bullet-proof and less likely to be mishandled by an application or printer driver. Additional considerations include the source platform (Mac or Win), destination platform, and destination application or printer.

You can copy graphics to the clipboard or you can write to a file. By default, on Windows a copy to the clipboard uses Enhanced Metafile (EMF) while on Macintosh, a PDF is used. You can use the Export Graphics dialog to choose other formats which will then be used for future copy commands. Because of a lack of industry standards, only a subset of file formats listed below can be used through the clipboard.

In addition to the still image formats listed below, you can also create movies from 2D graph windows or 3D gizmo windows.

Cross-platform file formats

The following lists the file formats available on both Macintosh and Windows. These formats can be transferred between platforms.

PDF

This is the highest quality format and is usually the best choice whenever the destination can accept it. You can instruct Igor to embed fonts as outlines (all fonts or all but the standard fonts) and you can specify RGB or CMYK color (or no color).

Encapsulated Postscript (EPS)

This is also a high quality format and is usually the best choice whenever the destination is a Postscript printer or application (such as Adobe Illustrator). By default, Igor exports Postscript level 2 but can be told to export level 1 for compatibility with especially old printers. You can instruct Igor to embed fonts as outlines (all fonts or all but the standard fonts) and you can specify RGB or CMYK color (or no color).

SVG

New in Igor Pro 7, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is an XML-based platform-independent 2D vector and raster graphics format developed by the World Wide Web Consortium. It is often used for displaying graphics in web pages and is a good choice for other uses if the destination program supports it.

PNG

This lossless bitmap format is ideal for web use but can also be used for high quality printing. It is much higher quality than the older GIF format and is supported by all major browsers. For high quality printing, you can choose to export at high resolution at the expense of a larger file size. You can choose export resolutions that are a multiple of the screen resolution or can specify an explicit resolution such as 300dpi.

TIFF

Another lossless bitmap format with capabilites similar to PNG but generally with larger file sizes. In general, you should use PNG rather than TIFF except in situations where your publisher demands TIFF. You can specify either RGB or CMYK color. As with all bitmap formats, you can choose export resolutions that are a multiple of the screen resolution or can specify an explicit resolution such as 300dpi.

JPEG

This is a lossy bitmap format often used on the web. It is suitable for continuous tone images and can create smaller files sizes than lossless formats such as PNG or TIFF. JPEG is generally not the best choice for line art (use PNG or an object-based format.)

Windows-only file formats

The following lists the file formats available only on the Windows platform.

Enhanced MetaFile (EMF)

This is the standard object-based format on Windows. It is high quality and is the preferred method when EPS or PDF can not be used. As of Igor Pro 7, the newer EMF+ format is exported by default in order to support transparency. The older EMF non-plus can be exported in cases where the destination program does not properly support the plus version.

BMP

BMP is a lossless bitmap format and is the standard image format on Windows. The file size is much larger than PNG. BMP files can be transferred and used on Macintosh. PNG is a better alternative.

Macintosh-only file formats

The following lists the file formats available only on the Macintosh platform.

Quartz PDF

As of 6.1, Igor now uses the native Mac OS X drawing system named Quartz, and the native picture file format of Quartz is PDF. Although similar to Igor's own cross-platform PDF export code, Quartz PDF is more capable in the area of font embedding and picture embedding.

Quartz PDF replaces the old Mac OS 9 PICT format.

3D exporting

Igor's 3D graphics windows can be exported in various bitmap formats (JPG, PNG, TIFF).