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Best Formats for Your Tecplot Images

By Steve Robinson
Technical Support Specialist | Tecplot, Inc.

In my technical support role here at Tecplot, Inc., I have learned that choosing the best plotting image formats may not be the highest priority for many scientists and engineers, but it definitely is considered important. After all, it would be a shame to spend all of that time carefully analyzing your results and making those plots oh-so-pretty only to have the images look less-than-stellar outside of Tecplot products where everyone will see them.

If your primary intent is to share your results onscreen in the form of a presentation, an email, or informal report, I recommend the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) format. The image file size is small but the quality on screen is indistinguishable from the original plot. The file format also is highly compatible with operating system image viewers, office applications, email applications, and Web browsers, as long as you aren’t still using a 90s-era browser like Netscape Navigator 3.

If your primary intent is to publish the image, either digitally as a PDF or physically as a printed piece, I recommend the Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) format. While PNG is a pixel-based image, EPS is a vector image, which maintains its smooth definition when scaled. The Windows Metafile (WMF) format also is recommended for Windows-only applications. The only two downsides with EPS and WMF files are that they don’t support translucency and file sizes can be large.

To export plot images in Tecplot 360 or Tecplot Focus, choose the Export option from the File menu (In Tecplot RS, the Export option is available in the Project menu). If you want more information on the available exporting options, click on the Help button at the bottom of the export dialog.