Presenting interaction data: how to convert your extracts into images

I work primarily with interaction data, which means that when I write articles, I need to represent verbatim transcripts with line numbers as part of my data analysis. Here’s a quick recipe for how you go from tables in a text editing program to an image with sufficient resolution to be published.

1. I find that the easiest way to deal with line numbers is to use tables. I therefore create a two column table, with line numbers in the left column and the data to the right. Visually, I prefer to make the borders invisible.

2. Once you have your table as you want it, save the document in pdf format.

3. Open the pdf file in preview. In the ‘tools’ menu, choose ‘rectangular selection’, and mark the area you want included in the image, so you can get rid of the white spaces that you don’t need.

4. Chose ‘copy’ from the ‘edit’ menu, and then ‘new from clipboard’ from the ‘file’ menu. Your selection will now be pasted into a new document.

5. Choose ‘export…’ from the ‘file’ menu, choose the tiff format (or any other alternative that suits you), designate where you want to save the file, and insert the number of pixels per inch that you need.  Save the file.

6. Done!

Example in a PNG version.

Thanks to Desinger Dale and lucasgladding at MacRumors forums for technical input, and to Lewis Carroll for providing my informants with interesting conversation.

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