Word --> PDF Help - crappy image conversion
August 17, 2017 1:51 AM   Subscribe

I have a Word document (Word 2016) with a simple company logo in the header. The logo is a jpg (150 dpi). I converted the word document to PDF using "save as".

Now the logo looks really crappy in the PDF version on screens...sort of pixelated around the edges. It looks normal when printed, though!

This sucks because the screen version is the only one my client and their clients will see.

I've googled around and found, like, 20 suggested possible fixes. As a laywoman I'm really confused.

I don't have a conversion app or a photoeditor (except MS Paint) and if possible I would like to avoid downloading stuff that won't end up solving my problem. Can you help me? Thank you!
posted by Omnomnom to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Word down sampled the image and that would be visible printed or PDF d.

Do you still have the original image? You may need to reinsert it.

The setting you want to look for (or answer) is to look for something that prevents word from changing the dpi of an image ... might also be tied to how you are inserting it (inline with text vs as a free floating image).
posted by tilde at 2:36 AM on August 17, 2017

At a real computer now ... (was on my phone cooking breakfast)

1. If you save the file as a Word doc and print the file as a Word doc and it's NOT OKAY (too compressed), it's a compression issue:


2. If you save the file as a Word doc and print the file as a Word doc and it's OKAY, try the File - Save As - PDF.

3. If the PDF is then NOT OKAY, Look for a printer setting that may be setting it up to be something like "web friendly" ... and turn that off. That will also compress the images, etc. You want it HIGHEST QUALITY.

4. All else fails, see if there's a way to make your image look good at a lower DPI ... working with the designer of the logo, etc.

I only have Word 2007 but I've run into this ... tooooo many times.

After the above steps you'd be getting too far into the weeds about inline images vs linked images, etc. for me to be able to figure it out without my hands on the file (and my Word 2007 is not guaranteed to keep it compatible with Word 2016).
posted by tilde at 2:50 AM on August 17, 2017

the problem is not the printed PDF, though. The PDF looks fine once printed out on paper but sucks on screen!

The Word doc looks fine on paper and screen.

Does that change anything?
posted by Omnomnom at 3:01 AM on August 17, 2017

Oh, yeah, I don't know. I worked at a place a while back and that happend a lot, letters looking off, graphics looking fuzzy or weird, but print just fine. Never got to the bottom of it.

Does it help to zoom in or out of the PDF while you'er looking at it on the screen?
posted by tilde at 3:17 AM on August 17, 2017

Heh. At least I'm not alone!

The Logo looks best at 150 % zoom. The less zoom, the less smoothly the edges are rendered. They look...kinda jagged.
It looks pretty bad at 100 %.

Thank you!
posted by Omnomnom at 3:21 AM on August 17, 2017

If you have the setting available for it (might be "remember zoom and position on opening"), I'd set it to 150% on the first page and save and close it for distribution. This may only be available if you have more than the basic "PDF this" functionality of Word. I wish I remembered, but for some reason we couldn't "save as" and have them look consistently good, we may have had to "print to" the PDF software as a printer.
posted by tilde at 3:25 AM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Print to PDF software always works better for me than save as, especially for this specific reason. Foxit is a free applications that you can get for that purpose. (I use it on my PC, no idea if you have a Mac. My work Mac seems to have that feature built in to the OS.)
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 4:36 AM on August 17, 2017

Just tried it out - Oddly, print to pdf actually looks worse to me!
posted by Omnomnom at 5:21 AM on August 17, 2017

If the graphic looks OK when you print it on paper, I would expect it to look equally OK when you print it to PDF with the free CutePDF virtual printer.
posted by flabdablet at 5:47 AM on August 17, 2017

print to pdf actually looks worse to me!

Have you adjusted any of the settings? One of the advantages of Print to pdf as opposed to save-as is that you go through the same print dialog with "printer properties" as when you are printing to an actual printer. There may be options in there to adjust (for instance, when I do it with my current setup, I can change "Default Settings" to "High Quality Print," "Oversized Pages," and "Press Quality" (among others). Your dialog may look different depending on what versions of MS and Adobe you have, but if you click around a bit there are probably ways to for instance set the dpi to whatever you want.
posted by solotoro at 5:58 AM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

150 dpi is really quite a low resolution for anything printed. My guess is that the PDF viewer is deliberately downsampling this to make it obvious on screen that it is a low dpi image.

Try opening the image in a graphics editor, double the image size and then copy back into Word and resize to fit the document. That should give you a 300 dpi image (even if it looks the same) and that might be enough to trick the viewer into displaying it as is.
posted by Lanark at 6:22 AM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

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