I have included a pretty complex map with about 10 different colors in my scientific paper in forest ecology. I am looking for a standard formule which is applied in this case, something as : For interpretation of the references to color in this figure caption, the reader is referred to the web version of this paper.

However, in my caption I do not use the description i.e., red represent rats and green ~ herb, thus I do not want to start with For interpretation of the references to colour in this figure caption...

How can I correctly write: please, for color representation of the figure, refer to the web version of the paper?

I am not an English native speaker.

Could be the following formulation correct?

The reader is referred to the web version of this paper for the color representation of this figure. 

If not, do you have some better suggestions?

thank you !

2 Answers 2


Do I understand correctly that you just want to tell the reader that the colored figure is available online (in case they printed it b/w)?

If so, then the usual approach is to do the following:

Figure 1: (Color online) This is the caption and there is some stuff here.

This may depend on your field, but the American Physical Society (APS) recommends this.

  • Yes, you are right. Thank you for suggestion, maybe there will be some more specific answers in forest ecology! I have updated my question
    – maycca
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 12:39

While in general I agree to the previous answer by ian_itor (I have regularly used simple "(Color online)" remarks myself), be aware that some journals will require that also the b/w or grayscale print version of your paper must have fully distinguishable details in all figures.

Take for example a graph figure with three curves in red, green and blue; you would have to ensure that those colors map to distinct grayscale colors in the print.

This might be difficult to realize in a figure like yours with 10 different colors; so be prepared that you might have to include further distinct features like hatching to ensure proper grayscale readability.

In this case, also your description of the figure may need to be written in a way such that any reader (of the grayscale print only) will be able to fully understand all details of the figure even without access to the online colored version.

  • thank you for a comment, I will think about next time. This time, the manuscript (with the map with 10 colors) has been accepted for publication. Maybe this is specific for ecological topics.
    – maycca
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 9:06

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