Quick Guide: Taking Screenshots for your Manuscript

If your manuscript includes instruction for using a specific or specialized software, you may wish to take screen captures that demonstrate how to input information or run certain functions using the software.

Before you start taking screen captures, check with your project editor so we can determine if we can use screen-captured images of the program in a commercial publication. Our licensing specialists will verify this information, and once we have the green light on permissions, you can begin to create your instructional images.

This guide will walk you through a few different methods for saving screenshots as image files at a high enough resolution for inclusion in your book. If you need to add mark-up to your screen captured images, please discuss this with your project editor.

Best Practices for Saving Screenshots

There are a few things to consider and keep in mind before starting your work on creating screenshots.

Saving Your Image Files

Whether you are a Mac or Windows user, please note that for a smoother and timely production process, each screenshot should be saved as an individual file, rather than one long document where they are copied and pasted.

If you haven’t already watched the figure program webinar on best practices for labeling figure/image files and how to upload them to our secure server, please do, or ask your project editor for clarification.

Image Quality Requirements

All images should have a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch) or greater to ensure highest print quality. Note: “dots per inch” technically refers to “printer dots per inch” or “pixels per inch.”

When checking the properties of your images, you may see the pixels displayed as total dimensions. For example, here are the dimensions for a 300 dpi image on an 8.5-inch x 11-inch page: (8.5 x 11) x 300 = (8.5 x 300) x (11 x 300) = 2,550 x 3,300 pixels.

The larger or higher resolution the image, the easier it is for us to resize the image while maintaining its quality.

Tip: A quick way to check the resolution of your image is to right-click on the file, then select Properties. In the Properties window, select Details. There, you will find the dimensions (pixels) of the image as well as the resolution (dpi).