International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies
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Drafting IEC publications



Text in figures

The ISO/IEC Directives require textual elements to be placed in a key outside the figure. This avoids many difficulties during image editing and translation.

If this is impossible or impractical, ensure that the IEC Figures team is able to work with your text by, for example,

  • putting text into a separate layer and sending us the original editable file, or
  • following the method described in MS Word


Font and size

In general, use Arial 8pt for text in figures (9pt and 10pt are sometimes possible, depending on the context). Please ensure that this is the size of text in the final image. Resizing an image with integrated text changes the size of the text too, so please do not resize images once text has been applied in the correct size.


Text colour

All text has to be clearly legible. Text on a white background should be in black.


Our recommendations on the use of grey scale and colour will help you to optimize readability.


Key, notes and footnotes to a figure

If you include a key, notes or footnotes to a figure, please place them outside the drawing canvas (see also notes and footnotes).


Translation table

In addition to the key, notes or footnotes to a figure, translators are advised to include translations in a translation table just above the figure title.