Getting the best out of vectors in Microsoft Word

by - Wednesday, October 6, 2010

We’ve just finished a massive rebrand; we’ve got a new website, new business cards as well as a cracking logo. What’s missing? Stationery.

Not the most exciting of topics; I know. But I wanted to make a post talking about the best way to deal with vectors in Microsoft Word. More specifically when saving as a .PDF from Word. We do this alot, all of our proposals, specs & briefs are produced in Word and then emailed to clients as .PDF, so it’s important that they look their best.

We’re primarily a Digital company, infact we do very little work in print (or print related stuff). We know people who can do a much better job than us & tend to recommend them first. One thing we do, do very well however is solve technical problems; it’s our bread & butter. So when this issue arose & Google was no help we jumped on it.

Failed Attempts

First of all we tried saving as a .eps from illustrator. This produced some squaring off of round corners in the pdf & the images didn’t look great when viewing them in word either. Small text appeared ‘blotchy’.

Vector -1a -eps _word

Vector -1b -eps _pdf _100

Vector -1c -eps _pdf _300

Next we tried File > “Save for Microsoft Office”. This only allows for the production of .png files which look great in word but fall apart at a high zoom level.

Vectors -2-png _pdf

The Solution

The solution was to export from Illustrator as an Enhanced Metafile (.emf). File > Export.

Vector -3a -emf _word

Vector -3b -emf _pdf _100

Vector -3c -emf _pdf _300

It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly alot better than using .eps files.


Word likes scaling images down, to get you image back to it’s original size, open the picture format dialogue, switch to the size tab & click on “Reset”.

Vectors -4-resize _dialogue

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