An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc., usually as some form of binary object.

The “content” of the Graphic element is not the object itself but merely information about the object. The external file that contains the object is named by the xlink:href attribute.


Authoring and Conversion Note: Although, in theory, the position attribute of this element may be used to indicate whether this element must be anchored at its exact location within the text or whether it may float, it is usually good practice to anchor graphics. The few graphics that are really floating loose in text should be anchored there, and all the graphics inside figures, tables, etc. should be anchored as well, although the outer structure (figure, boxed-text) may be allowed to float.

Authoring and Conversion Note: Internal Elements, such as <caption>, should always be used at the highest possible level; in other words, if a Graphic <graphic> element is inside a Figure <fig>, the <caption>, <long-desc>, etc. should be part of the Figure, not part of the Graphic. Use a <caption> element on a Graphic only when the graphic is not enclosed in any other structure or when a figure contains multiple graphics, each of which must have a <caption>. Similarly, the Position attribute should not be used on a <graphic> that is inside a larger display container such as a Paragraph <p>.


alt-version Alternative Version of the Graphic
id Identifier
position Position
xlink:actuate Actuating the Link
xlink:href Href (Linking Mechanism)
xlink:role Role of the Link
xlink:show Showing the Link
xlink:title Title of the Link
xlink:type Type of Link
xmlns:xlink XLink Namespace Declaration

Related Elements

Authoring and Conversion Note: Unlabeled graphical objects should be tagged as <graphic>s, not as <fig>s. A common test to determine whether an object is a Figure <fig> versus a Graphic <graphic> is to ask, “If there were a ‘List of Figures’ for this article, should this object appear in that list?”

Some DTDs make the distinction between still graphical objects and audiovisual objects such as pronunciation files and DVD movies. That distinction can be preserved in this DTD by using the <graphic> element for still images and the <supplementary-material> element for all other audiovisual objects. However, some DTDs will use the <graphic> element for all such auxiliary file types, and that will be reflected in the tagging when converted.

Model Description

Any combination of:

Tagged Example

<title>Study appraisal and extraction of data</title>
<p>We identified ... Details of randomisation procedures,
treatment schedules, and numbers of patients followed up
are given on the <italic>BMJ</italic> website.</p>
<fig id="F1">
<p>Deaths among patients receiving day hospital care
or alternative services. Odds ratios of death by end
of follow up were calculated by fixed effects model.
Heterogeneity between trials is presented as
<alt-text>Deaths hospital/alternative services</alt-text>
<graphic xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"
xlink:href="fors2662.f1" alt-version="yes"/>