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Maintaining resolution of graphics in Microsoft Word
August 2, 2012 10:43 AM   Subscribe

With a vector source file, is it possible to create a high quality graphic letterhead in Word? No matter what format or resolution I make the logo image for the header, it ends up low quality/pixel-y when printed. What should my format/resolution/workflow be?

The client wants to be able to print letterhead documents on demand (rather than having the letterhead printed, and then loading the printed paper into into the office printer). So I think I'm stuck with Word. The previous letterhead was all system-font text, so there were no quality issues. The new logo is a text-based image, and the quality has been lousy at every resolution I've tried importing. I've tried jpg, png-24, eps, and tif. I've even tried changing the automatic compression settings in Word, but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference.

Does Word always compress the image? Is there a way to avoid this? Does it matter if the image is resized in Word?
posted by monkeystronghold to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
jpg, png, and tif are all bitmap formats. You don't want that.

EPS can have bitmap or vector components. Without knowing how you created the eps file, it's impossible to know which it is. If you created the eps file from a jpg, png, or tif, then you're still dealing with a bitmap, obviously.

The way to do what you want is to create the logo in Illustrator, and then export it as a PDF. You'll then be able to add the PDF to your word document and it should come out high quality. The PDF will contain the vector graphics from Illustrator.
posted by alms at 10:48 AM on August 2, 2012


If you zoom in on the area in your Word doc where the graphic is, does it look pixelated?

I think this may be more to do with the printer settings than the graphic itself. Any graphic 150dpi or better should print nicely enough for letterhead but your printer will treat graphics and text differently so you may have to print using the photo settings or high quality settings in your printer set up.
posted by merocet at 11:00 AM on August 2, 2012


Does it matter if the image is resized in Word?

Very much so, in my experience. You want to insert it into Word at a massive size and then only shrink it down, never enlarge it.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:03 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


See if you can convert the vector format into a EMF file, which Word should handle as vector.
posted by wongcorgi at 11:10 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do this by exporting from Illustrator (or whatever vector program you use) as a Windows Meta File (WMF) file. In Illustrator, choose 'Export as' from the file menu, not 'Save as'.

As per what wongcorgi says about EMFs (a quick google search informs me they're related), WMFs are handled as vectors within Word.
posted by springbound at 11:34 AM on August 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Two things: 1) make sure you're not increasing the size to more that 100% in Word regardless of the filetype of your graphic; 2) check your photo compression settings in Word.

If you have the recent version of Word (with the stupid ribbon menus), go to File, Options, and then in the dialog box, click 'Advanced' on the left. Scroll down until you see the 'Image Size and Quality' options and put a checkmark next to 'Do not compress images in file' and then make sure the default res is set to 220 ppi (the highest option).

See if that helps.
posted by Eicats at 12:07 PM on August 2, 2012


p.s. Word is very finicky about .eps images, in my experience. I have found that using a .wmf or .png works pretty well.
posted by Eicats at 12:09 PM on August 2, 2012


alms: you can't insert PDF into Word :(
posted by Eicats at 12:13 PM on August 2, 2012


WMF and EMF are the only vector formats that the Office products can handle reliably. I third the suggestion to use them.
posted by zsazsa at 1:32 PM on August 2, 2012


You can insert PDF graphics into Word, at least on the Mac. Word does occasionally randomly decide to rasterize them, though, and it does so at an ugly coarse resolution. Are there any transparency effects in your letterhead? I've found that those tend to trigger rasterization.
posted by irrelephant at 2:57 PM on August 2, 2012


Thank you all for the help. WMF/EMF did the job. I had never heard of either format.
posted by monkeystronghold at 9:59 PM on August 2, 2012


Elcats, yes you can, at least on the Macintosh. I do it on a regular basis. I'd be happy to provide more details, but it seems like the op solved the problem with WMF/EMF.
posted by alms at 4:09 AM on August 3, 2012


Alms, wouldn't surprise me that the Mac version will do it; but if you know of a way to make it work on a PC, let me know! I end up having to save PDF files as jpegs for Word...
posted by Eicats at 1:26 PM on August 24, 2012


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