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Image Resources: Technical Help

Visual Resources Help Page

Tips for dealing with digital images in your own papers and presentations.

Guidelines for Selecting Images

Consider these guidelines when selecting images for a scholarly project or paper.

  • Relevance: Consider whether the image is important to your work, and avoid adding superfluous images that act as filler. 
  • Image Quality: Look for large images with high resolution which look best when displayed at various sizes, particularly for projection presentations.
  • Views and Details: Consider whether a full view of the object or a detail would be more appropriate. Start with high resolution full view images; they can easily be cropped to produce high quality details. The wide variety of perspective shots available for 3-D works such as sculpture and architectural sites should also be carefully considered.
  • Image Source: Look for images from reputable sources such as museums and academic databases. Avoid images from websites such as Pinterest, which are more likely to be low quality or to have distorted colors.

Scanning images

Scan image at 300dpi and save the file as in TIFF format (uncompressed).  This should be your archival file and is usually what publishers request for publication.  Never use tiffs in PowerPoint or in other presentation software as they are too large.

Using an image editor, resize the TIFF to 1024x768 and save as a JPG for on-screen presentations in 72 dpi. 1024x768 is the output resolution of our highest quality digital projectors.  To create a detail, crop the TIFF, but make sure your crop is not much smaller than 1024x768 if you want it to fill the screen, then save as a JPG. 


Computers in the Art Library and the labs at the Dodd have Adobe softwares installed, including Photoshop, and you can use them! Additionally, Preview on a Mac offers some light image editing tools--adjusting color, image resizing, cropping, rotating.  Pixlr is a free online image editing tool. Picnik is an online image editing tool that works well if you store your images online already through Flickr, Picasa, etc.

Check image size and resolution

To check an image's size and resolution on a Mac:

Open the image in Preview. Go to Tools > Show Inspector (or use the shortcut ⌘I)

A window will open at the top right corner of your screen with the Image Size and DPI listed at the bottom of the box.

To check on Windows:

First find the file that you are interested in printing.  Right-click on the image so that a menu block appears. Scroll down to "Open with" and then select "Paint".Once open in paint, click on the "File" menu bar, then select "Properties.  Click on the "Details" tab in the window that opens and you will see a list that includes the image's pixel dimensions and dpi.