GraphPad Prism 8 User Guide

Exporting options

Exporting options

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Exporting options

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Export one graph or layout, or several or many?

To export several graphs at once, start from the graph gallery, select two or more graphs, and then choose to export. With most formats, each graph or layout will be exported to its own file. With PDF format, you can choose to export each to its own file or all to one file.


File format

This is the most important choice. If you don't want to think about it, we suggest using PDF if you can, and use TIFF as a second choice.

Read about the pros and cons of the alternative formats.  

Clear (transparent) background?

Within Prism, there is no distinction between having a clear page background and a white background. When you paste or export a Prism graph into another program, however, the two are distinct if the exported graph is combined with other objects that are behind (in a front-to-back sense) it. If the background is clear, you'll see other objects that are behind it. If the background is white, you won't.  

The TIF, PNG, PDF, WMF (Windows only) and EMF (Windows only) formats allow you to choose a transparent (clear) background. With Prism Mac, but not Prism Windows, you can choose a clear background with EPS export. If you choose to export as a TIF file with a clear background from Prism Windows, it will be RGB 32 bits (with no choice of color model). The .JPG, and BMP formats simply have no concept of a clear background, so those file formats simply don't allow for the possibility of clear backgrounds.  



The resolution is entered in dots per inch (dpi).  For perspective, most computer screens have a resolution of about 100 dpi, and most professional printing presses (used by journals) use a resolution of 1200 dpi. Laser printers range from 300 to 1200 dpi.

The PDF, EPS, WMF (Windows only) and EMF (Windows only)  formats encode vectors and fonts, so have essentially infinite resolution. If you export in one of these formats, you will not be asked to enter a resolution. The other formats offer choices of 100, 300, 600, and 1200 dpi.

If you double the dpi, note that you quadruple the number of pixels in the image, and thus quadruple the file size.

Color model

If you choose the PDF, EPS or TIF format, you'll need to choose between RGB and CMYK color models. We recommend that you choose RGB when possible, as there will be fewer surprises. RGB colors will closely match what you see on the Prism screen (which internally uses RGB). Select CMYK only when submitting images to a journal that insists on CMYK.

With some formats, you can also choose between being able to save thousands (8 bit) or millions (24 bit) of distinct colors. When you choose thousands of color, some colors may get changed a bit when saved. When you save RGB, thousands of colors are stored in an indexed format, but millions of colors are not. Some journals may specify whether they want colors expressed in 8 or 24 bits, and whether they prefer indexed or nonindexed colors.

When exporting in jpg, tiff, pdf or eps formats, instead of exporting in color, you can choose grayscale where colors are converted to various shades of gray. With tiff, you can also choose monochrome (black and white with no grays).


In most cases, you'll want to export without changing the size of the graph or layout. But you can specify the width of the exported graph. Don't enter the desired width of the graph's plotting area, but rather the desired width of the entire graph object, including any legends or drawings or objects.

The size you specify is the final size (width) of the exported object. If you choose "actual" size, then the size of the graphs in the exported file are the same as in Prism. What is the size of an exported image? It can depend on the program used to view it, so it helps to think about number of pixels instead (for the bitmap format). If you choose 300 dots per inch, and a graph is 4 inches wide and you choose actual size, then it will be 1200 dots wide in the exported file.

Note that "actual size" doesn't refer to the size of the page the graph or layout is on. Prism ignores the size of the page when it exports. It exports the portion of the page that contains graphs or objects with a small margin.


Embed fonts (EPS on Windows only)

When you export to EPS format using Prism Windows, choose whether to convert the fonts to outlines. Learn the pros and cons of the two approaches.

Prism Mac does not offer the choice of converting text to outlines.



Check an option at the bottom of the dialog to lock in your settings of format and options to use as the default for future exports. To change the default exporting location, use the File Locations tab of the Preferences dialog.