Once you get through the process of writing your paper, getting it reviewed, making revisions, and finally getting that ACCEPT email in your inbox, the work isn’t done. You must prepare the figures in the paper so that they can be easily used by the IEEE to make a nice, high-quality, correctly laid-out, final print version of the article. This process could be quite complex and time consuming.

This post will cover some tips, tricks, and scripts to get your journal submission ready to go quickly and easily. The big challenges are:

  • Getting all figures into single eps files
  • Creating a list of figure captions

The good news is that both of these are delightfully quick if you’ve been using LaTeX to compose your article. Read on to find out how

Get all figures into .eps files

For some figures, it may be simple to use convert or any other image editing software to convert simple figures into eps files. With convert, simply type this at a linux or mac terminal:

$ convert image_from_paper.png fig1.eps

If you’ve used the subfigure package, PSTricks, tables, or other funny-business for creating or formatting figures within LaTeX, this process isn’t as straightforward. But by following these simple steps you can get it done quickly.

Create a file: figs_only.tex

figs_only.tex is a file that just contains the code to make and format the figures. Begin by formatting the paper into the two-column format as best you can. Then, copy TeX codes that make the figures into this file:


Follow the pattern of the figures in the file and don’t copy over any caption information, just the TeX code to format and place the figures. Also, remember to un-comment the appropriate parts of in the header if you are using PSTricks or subfigure packages.

Note the use of the \clearpage command after each figure environment. This makes a new page for each figure. Also, note the \pagestyle{empty} command at the top. This removes any page numbers so that the figure is the only thing on each page. Finally, when you use subfigure, you’ll have to reset the counter manually by using \setcounter{subfigure}{0} before each figure that uses subfigures.

Get to figs_only.pdf

Great! Now, run LaTeX to create figs_only.dvi. You can follow this up with a call to dvipdf to create figs_only.pdf.

$ latex figs_only
$ dvipdf figs_only

I’ve heard other suggestions to use dvips and then ps2pdf instead of dvipdf, but dvipdf has always worked fine for me. Also, if you aren’t using PSTricks, you can use pdflatex and skip the whole thing! (PSTricks doesn’t play nice with pdflatex, though).

Convert the pdf file to eps figures

This is the really great part. Now that you have a pdf file with each of your figures on a separate page, you can run pdf2eps (from this post). “pdf2eps ” builds an eps file from the page specified. It uses pdfcrop (from here) to trim all whitespace. Hence, all you need to do is run

$ ./pdf2eps.sh 1 figs_only
$mv figs_only.eps fig1.eps
$ ./pdf2eps.sh 2 figs_only
$mv figs_only.eps fig2.eps

… etc.

Voila! now you have eps files for each figure in your article. Remember to go back every figure in the original paper to use the eps file rather than whatever complex LaTeX codes you used to format the figure before.


Create the List of Figures

This part is lots simpler than the first! If you’ve used \caption{} within your figure environments, there is a command that will automatically build your list of figures and captions for you. For best results, put this at the end of the .tex file right before \end{document}. This ensures that page numbers are correct.


Now, when you re-build your article there will be a list of figures nicely formatted and ready to go. You can either print these pages separately or use Adobe to split of the last pages of the document as a separate pdf file. (Does anyone know how to do this without the need to split the document?)

Submit that puppy!

These tips help you prepare the electronic submission to the IEEE journals. Remember to follow all the little rules that may be specific to each publication. Also, please leave some comments if you have any other tips to get these submissions put together.

Finally, special thanks to tug.org for this post which I drew from extensively.

9 thoughts on “Preparing Final Submissions for IEEE Journal Articles

  1. Very nice tips there. I actually tried them, and works pretty well. But is there a way to increase the resolution of the eps files?
    The graphic eps files are now generated with 72 dpi, while the guideline said we need 600dpi for printing. Is it ok to use just 72 dpi?

    Thanks for your suggestions and helps.

  2. @william

    If your figures are vectorized, then you shouldn’t need to worry about resolution at all. HOWEVER, if your figures are bitmaps, then resolution is VERY important, and you should shoot for 600dpi for a print article.

    The steps I give in the post should give you eps files at the same resolution that they were in the pdf file. If you’re having trouble with convert, try using another program such as Photoshop to convert the filetype.

    Finally, if the problem is in the pdf2eps-pdfcrop part, you can try changing the line:
    $::opt_resolution = "";
    $::opt_resolution = "600";
    in pdfcrop.pl. This seemed to have no effect for me because my images came out high-res to begin with, but it might fix your problem!

    Let us know if that works.

  3. Do you know of any way to change the labeling of the subfigures when using the subfigure package? (i.e. instead of (a), (b), etc write A, B,… or some other label?)


  4. Thanks for the nice tip, that saved me a lot of time. I modified your code to convert all the pages in the figs_only.pdf

    # usage:
    # pdf2eps

    for (( c=1; c<=$1; c++ ))
    pdfcrop $2.pdf
    pdftops -f $c -l $c -eps "$2-crop.pdf"
    rm "$2-crop.pdf"
    mv "$2-crop.eps" "fig_$c.eps"
    #mv figs_only.eps fig2.eps


    For example, if your figs_only.pdf file has 12 pages. Just writr

    $ ./pdf2eps.sh 12 figs_only

    and voila! you have all the eps files you neeed.

  5. Thanks for the nice tip, that saved me a lot of time. I modified your code to convert all the pages in the figs_only.pdf

    # usage:
    # pdf2eps

    for (( c=1; c<=$1; c++ ))
    pdfcrop $2.pdf
    pdftops -f $c -l $c -eps "$2-crop.pdf"
    rm "$2-crop.pdf"
    mv "$2-crop.eps" "fig_$c.eps"


    For example, if your figs_only.pdf file has 12 pages. Just writr

    $ ./pdf2eps.sh 12 figs_only

    and voila! you have all the eps files you neeed.

  6. Hi,

    thanks for the useful instructions. Everything worked fine, but when I generated the final PDF there was a white rectangle covering part of the text near each figure. The EPS figures looked fine in GSView. The bounding box values seemed to be fine too. Mistery…

    After wasting some more time I was able to solve the problem by adding a trim directive with 0 values.


    \includegraphics[clip=true,trim=0 0 0 0]{fig/fig_23}

  7. @Shawn Lankton If you use the subfig package, you can actually change the caption style to be numbers, roman numerals, letters or capital letters. I wrote a little tutorial on it: http://www.peteryu.ca/tutorials/publishing/latex_captions

    Thanks for writing this tutorial, it’s been very helpful to me. Do you know of an easy way to retain references and citations in the subfigure captions and tables in figs_only.tex? This is an issue if I refer to Eq. (8) or reference [10] in my subfigure captions, inside tables, etc. As figs_only.tex doesn’t have the references from the original file, all the references break. Copying the references over runs the risk of losing their numerical order.

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