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Image size and layout

Images should be laid out as compactly as is consistent with conveying the relevant data. Images will be sized to fit the smallest possible space while retaining all relevant detail. If an article is accepted for publication, the figures may be altered by Blood’s publication management vendor to conform to Blood style, which includes, but is not limited to, standard colors and fonts.

In order to prevent radical changes in figure content, authors should prepare the figures 8.0 cm wide (1-column width) or, if necessary, 11.5 cm wide (1½ column width). The maximum width is 17 cm (2-column width).

Tabular material should almost always appear as a table that is not part of a figure. However, if the tabular material is graphically related to parts of a figure, it can appear within the figure.

Example of tabular material in figure

Text legend

The figure legend must contain a boldface (a) name ("Figure" + arabic figure number) and (b) substantive title. Do not refer to figure panels, other figure parts, or any other part of an article in a figure title. A nonboldface description of the figure usually follows, run in after the title, describing each panel, subpanel, inset, or other part of the figure.

Figure 4. Clusters of genes categorized by the expression patterns in purified stem and progenitor cells. The vertical axis represents the normalized gene expression values. (A) Representative genes that are predominantly expressed in HSCs and downregulated in MPPs, CLPs, and CMPs. (B) Representative genes that were upregulated in MPPs. (C) Representative genes that are highly expressed in CLPs. (D) Representative genes that are highly expressed in CMPs.

Symbol and text labels

Figure images may contain symbol and text labels that are necessary to convey relevant detail. Avoid any text labels that might be confused with panel and subpanel labels. In the example below, “control” should be abbreviated “Ctrl,” not “C,” to avoid confusion with panel C of the figure.

... (C) Plasma levels from 10 healthy control (Ctrl) donors.

Any abbreviations used in the figure image but not explained in the article's main text should be defined in the legend.

Symbols should be explained in the text legend if possible, including the symbols themselves if possible.

Symbols represent IVIG treatment groups (n = 4 rats/group): saline (●), 0.4 g/kg (■), 1 g/kg (▲), and 2 g/kg (♦).

If necessary, words may be used to describe the symbols.

Splenocytes from DO11.10 mice were incubated with 0, 1, 10, 100, or 1000 ng of MIP-1a per mL (triangles) or MIP-1b (squares) in plates containing 0 (open symbols) or 500 (filled symbols) μg of OVA per ml.

If necessary, symbols may be explained in a key within the figure image. In that case, the key should be placed into the figure image as compactly as possible.


Insets are generally explained in the figure legend, unless their meaning is obvious from the image.



For each color photomicrograph in a figure, the stain used should be specified in the legend.

Image acquisition and manipulation

For each micrograph, the following information must be provided, either in the methods section or in the figure legend: (1) microscope’s make and model, (2) type, magnification, and numerical aperture of the objective lenses, (3) temperature, (4) imaging medium, (5) fluorochromes, (6) camera’s make and model, (7) acquisition software, and (8) any subsequent software used for image processing. For further details, including warnings about image enhancement, see “Important guidelines for image preparation“  in the Blood Author Guide.

The TA muscles were frozen in OCT embedding medium and sectioned as 6-μm longitudinal sections. The sections were fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde and incubated with anti-human nuclear antibody (1:250) overnight at 4°C followed by Alexa Fluor 488 goat anti-mouse IgG1 secondary antibody (Molecular Probes, Eugene, OR). The myofibers were revealed by rhodamine-phalloidin staining (Molecular Probes). The images were captured by a Deltavision SA3.1 wide-field deconvolution microscope (Applied Precision, Issaquah, WA). For the GFP fusion study, the TA images were captured from frozen sections by Nikon (Melville, NY) Eclipse E800 microscopy followed by hematoxylin-and-eosin staining of the same sections. To reconstruct a 3-dimensional image of GFP-positive regenerating TA muscle fibers, a stack of 44 1-μm sections of a frozen TA muscle were acquired as green and red 2-channel images by a Leica TCS SP confocal microscope (Leica, Heidelberg, Germany) and imported into MetaMorph software (Molecular Devices, Downingtown, PA) as a series of .tif files. A 3-dimensional reconstruction was created by Volocity software (Perkin Elmer) and used to generate an MOV file showing a 180° horizontal rotation of the stack.

The next section details how to specify magnifications within a figure legend.


For each micrograph (whether photomicrograph or electron micrograph) in a figure (including each inset micrograph), there should be an indication of magnification. This may be done by including a scale bar in the micrograph image or by stating in the legend the micrograph's original magnification (that is, the magnification prior to production of the article).

If a scale bar is used, either it should be labeled or the legend should state the bar's length.

Bars represent 5 μm (A) and 200 nm (C).

If the legend states the magnification, use the phrase "Original magnification" followed by the multiplication symbol and the magnification.

Original magnification ×250 for panels A-D.

Retrospectively, the presence of rare extracellular amastigotes was detected in the first bone marrow smear before steroid therapy (original magnification ×1000).

Reproductions and adaptations

If a figure is reproduced or adapted from previously published material, written permission must be obtained by the author from the copyright holder (usually the publisher). The author must send the Blood editorial office a copy of this written permission before the article can be published, so it is advisable to request permission early.

Acknowledge the original source by creating the appropriate reference and citing it in the legend, making reference to the acquired permission.

Adapted from Foster and Hunt47 with permission.
Reprinted from Begley et al4 with permission.