From Data to Document: A Simple Way to Prepare High-Quality Chromatograms for Electronic & Paper Publication

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Patrick D McDonald
HPLC''99, Granada, Spain, May 31, 1999
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ABSTRACT: Many opportunities are available today for chromatographers to publish their experimental results -- articles in refereed journals, internal lab reports, internet web pages, etc. How often, though, do you see chromatograms in these publications with jagged or skewed peaks, inconsistent line thickness, inappropriate scales, or a hand-drawn appearance? One of the stumbling blocks in getting high-quality illustrations into electronic or paper documents is dealing with the data from a chromatographic system. Over the years, many homemade solutions have been devised to meet an immediate goal: paste a strip chart onto a poster panel, photocopy a portion of a data system printout onto a report page, place a WMF or HGL file into a word processor or presentation program document, etc. However, creating a publication-ready chromatogram which can be moved from the PC in the lab to the Mac at the publishing house, transferred directly from one software application to another, scaled up or down in size, or reformatted as needed -- all the while maintaining the resolution and appearance of the original -- has become tedious and complicated for those who are not skilled in technical graphics design and computer graphics formats. A simple protocol has been developed, using off-the-shelf software, to take raw data (as ASCII text) from a data system and create a high-quality chromatogram in a cross-platform, scalable, standard file format. This graphics file may be manipulated in high-end illustration programs, placed in simple documents and presentation files, published on the web in several ways, and/or archived for future use. This protocol is not limited to HPLC, but, in principle, may also be applied to CE, CEC, GC or MS data. Limitations of previous solutions will be outlined. Applications and advantages of the new protocol will be illustrated.

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