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Whenever images are included in PBC, it makes a big difference if they look good. When they do, an article appears more professional and is more pleasant to read. When they look amateurish, the article looks amateurish.

The following is a rules regarding the minimum quality standards an image should meet in order to be placed in any mainspace article. Images that fail to meet certain standards have been and continue to be removed.

Unlike an article, which can only be deleted via the deletion process, an image can be removed from an article simply through an edit, thereby bypassing. While it can be just as easily restored when this occurs, an image can be permanently deleted via a files for deletion discussion.

Preparing images for upload


When uploading image files to PBC, it is important to use the right file format for the content. Don't try to save disk space on the images server by giving up useful information.

Keep the source:

  • If the image was generated from data (e.g. a graph in Microsoft Excel), the data and file (e.g. spreadsheet) should be included so new data can be added to the graph, and/or the source of the data should be cited.
  • If the image was generated from a script (e.g. in a computer algebra system), the code should be included so minor improvements like labels and color adjustments can be made.
  • In any of the above cases, there should be a note saying what specific software is required to edit the image. Data formats and code that are compatible with free software should be preferred.

There are 4 basic choices for image file formats:

JPEG for photographic images.
GIF for animated images.
PNG for everything else.
SVG (especially those that need to be scaled) for everything else.

While some formats offer multiple compression systems, in general the format and the compression system are tied together.

Other image formats should be avoided in most cases:

BMP - Images are uncompressed, resulting in larger file sizes. Should usually be converted to PNG or JPEG.
TIFF - Should usually be converted to PNG or JPEG as discussed above.

Use SVG over PNG

PNG is a raster graphics format, encoding the value of each individual pixel, while SVG is a vector graphics format that encodes an image as a series of geometric shapes. If this confuses you, don't worry; you don't need to understand the technical aspects to create or upload images. What this means in practice is that an SVG image scales to different sizes far better than an equivalent PNG. Therefore, for images that consist largely or entirely of polygons, lines, and curves (national flags, road signs, etc.), SVG is the preferred format.

SVGs can be easily created with many desktop publishing programs such as the free Scribus program. SVGs can also be altered simply with a text editor, because it is code-based, not numerical. This makes updating and translating illustrations much easier. For a list of SVG editing software, see List of vector graphics editors.

JPEG tips

As stated above, JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) was developed with photographic images in mind. Although the JPEG algorithms are quite good, there are a couple of tips that will help to get the smallest file size possible without sacrificing quality:

  • Some digital cameras and smartphones store additional information (known as EXIF metadata) in the JPEG files they create. Be aware that all such metadata is publicly visible across PBC. If you don’t want to reveal the information remove it from the file before you upload it using an appropriate application.
  • When saving a JPEG, the graphics program will let you choose the compression level. Usually the values range from 0 to 100 where 100 is the best quality possible with very little compression applied. Some apps, notably Paint Shop Pro, reverse this scale with 0 as highest quality and 100 as the lowest quality. Don't mistake the 0 to 100 scale for a percentage, in that using 1/2 the setting does not result in 1/2 the quality, nor does it produce a file of 1/2 the size. Also, 100 does not mean "100%", as the image is still compressed, resulting in a minute loss of detail. Since most JPEGs in PBC will be rescaled anyway before appearing on pages, a quality setting of 95 is appropriate. (Settings above 95 increase size dramatically for little improvement in image quality.)
  • Always work from the original image and not from the already saved JPEG file, as quality gradually decreases the more you save it; this is known as digital generation loss. For this reason, it may be good to keep the main copy here in a lossless format like a raw image format or PNG. However, as of right now, scaled versions are forced to be in the same format as the original image and having two copies of the image is a maintenance nightmare.

Images in Articles


Adding the first picture

If an article already has an infobox (Biobox, Moviebox etc) at the top left, then the usual place for the article's first picture is within the infobox. In very brief summary, one hurdle that trips up many people when attempting to add an image to an infobox template is that most internally provide the wiki code that "wraps" the image. Accordingly, you do not usually add the brackets, number of pixels, and other code details you will learn about below, when placing an image in infoboxes – just the file name next to a field labeled | image =. Adding such extraneous code will cause many infoboxes to break. Also, be aware that some infoboxes require that the file's name be placed without the file/image namespace prefix. Thus, and for example, if File:Name.jpg does not work, try just Name.jpg.

Adding images to articles

The procedure for adding images to articles is the same. To make your uploaded file appear in an article, you need to insert it: edit the article and add the syntax

[[File:Image name|thumb|Caption]]

where you want the file to appear.

Important: Image names are case-sensitive. For example, if an image is called Picture.jpg then neither picture.jpg nor Picture.JPG will find it.


A typical picture can be inserted with a line [[File:...|thumb|...]] as shown below. (Image: can be substituted for File: with no change in effect; the choice between the two is purely a matter of editorial preference.) Using thumb generates a thumbnail, a picture that is typically sized differently from the original image. Several options can affect a thumbnail's placement and size.


Infobox picture watermark


If an infobox image has watermark, crop them.

Aspect ratio


The aspect ratio of an image describes the proportional relationship between its width and its height.

  1. If images are for use in Biobox only, they should be set to the 3:2 aspect ratio, e.g. 1000:1500, 800:1200, 667:1000, 600:900, 533:800 pixels.

Image quality

JPEG compression quality

  1. Minimum 58% JPEG quality compression of cover images. 57% JPEG quality compression is smaller than our minimum quality requirement, and this file will be removed.
  2. Minimum 62% JPEG quality compression of other images. 61% JPEG quality compression is smaller than our minimum quality requirement, and this file will be removed.

Minimum size and resolution

  1. 256 (Width) x 400 (Height) pixels = 160 KP of cover images. 255 x 399 pixels is smaller than our minimum size requirement, and this file will be removed.
  2. 480 x 480 pixels = 230 KP of screen captures. 479 x 479 pixels is smaller than our minimum size requirement, and this file will be removed.
  3. 500 x 500 pixels = 250 KP of other images. 499 x 499 pixels is smaller than our minimum size requirement, and this file will be removed.
  4. Please upload the highest resolution image possible, but keep the file size under 100 megabytes.
  5. The highest quality images is given priority for use.

Regarding the temporary use of an image not meeting the agreed requirement

  1. An imperfect image not meeting the agreed quality requirement may not be used in an article, even temporarily
  2. An imperfect image not meeting the agreed quality requirement may be used temporarily until a better image can be obtained. Under this guideline, "total blur" would still be excluded.

Please keep in mind that megapixels (MP) are different from megabytes (MB), as they refer to the dimensions and not the file size.

GIF Files

Minimum size and resolution for Animated GIFs
  1. 250 (Width) x 250 (Height) pixels = 249 x 249 pixels is smaller than our minimum size requirement, and this file will be removed.
Maximum size and resolution for Animated GIFs
  • Temporarily not valid
  1. 500 (Width) x 300 (Height) pixels = 501 x 301 pixels is bigger than our maximum size requirement, and this file will be removed.
  2. No more than 20Mb in size.



PBC is an encyclopedia. Pursuant to the aim of creating a comprehensive and useful resource, PBC allows for, and encourages the use of, files. Many thousands of articles use files to great affect, including the majority of the articles considered to be PBC's best.

However just because a user has the technical ability to upload a file does not necessarily mean that they should upload it. There are many things to consider before uploading an file.

As important that every file on PBC be usable and used in the article space. PBC is not a repository for files, it stores files that are used on PBC, and should only store files used on PBC. Editors can upload files to PBC if those files can be used constructively in articles, however forcing an file into an article when it isn't a good fit is discouraged. If you honestly believe that the file can help, say in an article with no files or in an article where your file is better than the existing files, then feel free to upload.

There are exceptions to the expectation that files be used in the article space. A number of files are used primarily or exclusively in the user space or project space. Those files, however, have a clearly defined purpose and are utilized constructively on a consistent basis. Things such as Userbox images, icons, and template icons all are valid exceptions.

For more specifics, follow the limits.

Limits on the number of images per article

  1. No more than 20 images in the set
  2. No more than 3 sets per article
  3. No more than 70 image files per article



A collage is an combination of multiple images arranged in a single image.

Collage can be one way for editors to get around the image resolution limit, but would not be recommended as replacement of usual images.

Naming files


File names should be clear and descriptive, without being excessively long. While the image name doesn't matter much to the reader, it matters for editors. It is helpful to other contributors and for maintenance of the encyclopedia if images have descriptive or at least readable file names. For example, "File:Pheonix Fellington Manuel Skye LucasEntertainment 2018 1.jpg" is more helpful than "File:PW6163527162.jpg".

Finding files

You can use the Special:Search box below to locate Files.