How to label a diagram


In this short tutorial, learn how to effectively and elegantly label your diagrams.


When you’re labelling a diagram: make sure your labels are evenly spaced (0:22) and use parallel label lines with a dot (0:37). Effective label lines create elegantly labelled figures, like anatomy of the brain (3:25).

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Shiz Aoki, CEO and co-founder of BioRender, shares her 10+ years of expertise as a distinguished science illustrator to help you bring your science to life - visually.

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In this video, we're going to show you how to properly label a diagram. Now, there’s a few built in tools in BioRender that make this very easy for you to do. So the first thing you're going to want to remember is to evenly space out your labels as much as possible.

So for this example, we're going to use this very simple goblet cell and these 3 labels. So I'm going to make sure that they're not sort of crammed together or evenly distributed like this as much as possible, I'm going to try to evenly space them out. Like so. Okay. So they're evenly spaced. Now for the line, we're actually going to avoid using this arrow, this very notoriously used arrow that actually makes it a little bit confusing and also aesthetically not the most elegant.

So arrows should be reserved for action, for motion, or movement, instead of using it to label an object. So I'm going to actually alt, drag, and make another copy here so we can have sort of a side by side comparison. I'm going to delete that. And as recommended here, I'm going to use the line with the dot at the end. And with a bend if needed. So I'm going to use the one with a bend right here.

So click that I'm going to simply label like this. And you'll notice the line at the end is very helpful for the eye to kind of stop at the object at exactly where you want it to land. Like so, Okay. If you'll notice without that dot at the end, if I were to remove it, You can still read it. It's visible, but it doesn't quite land the eye exactly where it needs to. So that little dot really does help kind of anchor where exactly you're trying to point to. And you could do the same for these frills on the top of the cell here as well. So I'm going to go back to labeling this physical then all I'm going to do is click alt drag to copy that line multiple times.

The nice thing about this is that we're now following this tip here that's telling us to make sure that the line is parallel to the actual label itself. So that's what's nice about this little elbow joint is I can actually move just the end here while the base of the line remains parallel to the label itself. And it's very flexible and then I can move this anywhere around the canvas to point to the object that I'm labeling. Like so, you can shorten it. You can lengthen it. That's the beauty of using these bent elbow lines. Now, if you'd like to adjust the line thickness, you can of course do that here under line width. Perhaps you wanna try a 3. That looks a little bit thick. Maybe we'll do 2. 5, and then you can always change the size of the tip of the arrow as well. Depending on how you scale your diagram larger or smaller.

Now you can create some beautifully complex figures such as labeling the brain simply by using this bent line with the dot at the end effect. And you can see here that it's following the rule. You can get pretty advanced as well by following the shape of the object that you're labeling with the words themselves.

Now that's a little bit of an advanced feature. But you'll notice here that the elbow certainly is helpful because the objects you're labeling will never be even distance apart from each other.

So this acts as a little bit of a scope or a crane that you can kind of maneuver around corners with. So that's how you would properly label an object, and I hope you found this helpful.

Due to continuous improvements in BioRender, the application may appear slightly different in some of our videos.
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