Embedding and publishing interactive, 3-dimensional, scientific figures in portable document format (pdf) files

David Graeme Barnes, Michail Vidiassov, Bernhard Ruthensteiner, Christopher J Fluke, Michelle Quayle, Colin McHenry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


With the latest release of the S2PLOT graphics library, embedding interactive, 3-dimensional (3-d) scientific figures in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files is simple, and can be accomplished without commercial software. In this paper, we motivate the need for embedding 3-d figures in scholarly articles. We explain how 3-d figures can be created using the S2PLOT graphics library, exported to Product Representation Compact (PRC) format, and included as fully interactive, 3-d figures in PDF files using the movie15 LaTeX package. We present new examples of 3-d PDF figures, explain how they have been made, validate them, and comment on their advantages over traditional, static 2-dimensional (2-d) figures. With the judicious use of 3-d rather than 2-d figures, scientists can now publish, share and archive more useful, flexible and faithful representations of their study outcomes.The article you are reading does not have embedded 3-d figures. The full paper, with embedded 3-d figures, is recommended and is available as a supplementary download from PLoS ONE (File S2)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 15
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9 (Art. ID: e69446)
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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