Are there some rules of the thumb to define the ideal width of an image in a printed work?

Made up examples:

  • The figure width should be around 0.61803 * text width. (Golden ratio)
  • Never use figure width = text width as that is unprofessional.

Or are there no general approaches, as every image can be very different to another.

Edit: To provide you with a bit more context: I am writing a thesis in LaTeX and I am using scrreprt as document class from the KOMA–script bundle.

  • 4
    Welcome to TeX.SX! You can have a look at our starter guide to familiarize yourself further with our format. I'm afraid that while you stumbles across this problem when using LaTeX, the question is not about "how to make the figure 0.618\textwidth in LaTeX", rather about the design customs and tips. This is off-topic on this site. However, it can be on-topic on a sister site GraphicDesign.SE. I'll see if moderators can move the question there :)
    – yo'
    Feb 5, 2014 at 10:37
  • 1
    Related: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/5351/… Feb 5, 2014 at 10:38
  • @TorbjørnT. I also have seen that question but it is very related on data analysis reports.
    – gillesB
    Feb 5, 2014 at 10:57
  • 3
    What I can say is that figure width = text width is not unprofessional. It is very common, practical, leads to a calm look and the only times I usually divert from this is when the figure is so high that it would look huge on the page. Resolution might be another reason to keep an image smaller (but not a very good one unless you know the resolution of the output device). In general, for anything landscape just go with the text width unless you have very particular design principles in your document but then you wouldn't have to ask this question :)
    – Christian
    Feb 5, 2014 at 11:21
  • 2
    Seems out of topic to me as well. The width of your figures will be very much dependent of the layout you use. As @Christian, I would actually try not to divert from the rule that figure width = \textwidth. With small figures, you could go for a half or a third of that width and put them in the same float. With very large figures, dedicate a page to the whole thing and set it to 100% of the height or width (whichever is bigger). If you are using a layout such as tufte-latex, get the small figures into the margins and it will look gorgeous all the same. Just be consistent with yourself.
    – ienissei
    Feb 10, 2014 at 9:25


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