Inability to use eps graphics in Word 2007 and make a pdf

Community Beginner ,
May 29, 2009 May 29, 2009

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Hi there …

I work at a small "intellectual capital" company where virtually all of our documents (our products!) depend on embedding eps "pictures" into Word and pdf'ing the result.  While this process works great in Word 2003, it fails miserably in Word 2007 - the "mechanics" work fine and a pdf is produced, but the rendering of the eps images are terrible.  I spent some effort looking into this issue trying to find a solution and came up with the following (thanks in part to this post) ... if anyone has any more details, corrections, or solutions feel free to post!

It appears that, over the years, there have been three flavors of eps import filters for Word ... (for the curious the filter is found in Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Grphflt\EPSIMP32.FLT )

  1. The simplest (and oldest) filter basically embeds the eps code unmodified into the Word doc and will display a raster preview of the image if one is included in the eps file.  if the file is printed on a postscript printer or to Acrobat, the eps code is passed through (so it produces perfect pdfs, and the screen image in Word looks as good as the preview image embedded in the eps file). if the file is printed to a generic printer, no image appears (so it doesn't work for joe user).
  2. The Word 2003-era filter pastes the eps code unmodified into the Word doc, then renders a (very poor) preview image (using an OEM'd eps converter).  if a preview image is in the eps file it is ignored (which is bad).  if the file is printed on a postscript printer or to Acrobat, the unmodified eps code is passed through (so it produces perfect pdfs, though the screen image in Word looks yucky). if the file is printed to a generic printer, the poorly rendered preview image is printed (so it works poorly but better than nothing for joe user - and probably gives joe user a bad impression of eps).
  3. In what might be an attempt to improve things for joe user, the Word 2007 filter immediately interprets the eps code (using a slightly updated eps converter from the same OEM) and pastes the resulting rendered image into Word. It NO LONGER embeds the unmodified eps code in the Word doc. While the rendered image looks better than filter #2, it still leaves A LOT to be desired - in my brief testing, colors are VERY wrong and curves become choppy. if the file is printed on a postscript printer or to Acrobat, the poorly rendered image is used since the original eps code is gone (unacceptable for my purposes). if the file is printed to a generic printer, the poorly rendered image is printed (so it works better than Word 2003 for joe user).

So where does this leave anyone that wants to upgrade to Word 2007, use eps images, and make quality pdfs ??

  • Filters #1 & #2 were interchangeable in Word 2003.  The true eps experts like #1 the best, and it is by far the simplest technically (76k of code vs 400+k), so they merrily swapped and used it with Word 2003.  (Very) unfortunately filters #1 and #2 do not work with Word 2007 - if they did the problem would be nicely solved.
  • Find another graphics file format to work with?  This is undesirable because the "beauty" of #1 & #2 above is the unmodified eps code gets fed to the pdf maker (which itself is native eps) - Word is just a transport (no "transcoding" loss in compression-speak).  if there were an efficient way to convert eps to say wmf (microsoft's proprietary vector graphic format), and the images were able to survive two transcodes (from eps to wmf back to eps for pdf), it might be livable. But of course Adobe Illustrator cannot save as wmv (nor should it IMHO).  Of note - there is another industry standard vector format - svg - which AI can save as but Word does not support. 
  • Stay in Word 2003 doc format while using Word 2007 (don't use docx).  Doesn't work. My testing shows a Word 2003 doc file with embedded eps created in Word 2003 (and pdf's correctly in Word 2003) does not pdf correctly in Word 2007.
  • Use a work-around. As suggested here, "Open the EPS in Illustrator. Select all, and Edit > Copy. In Word, Edit > Paste Special > Enhanced Metafile."  This seems to work for small images such as logos, but not for larger graphical stuff (probably because of the internal transcoding to WMF).
  • Stay with Word 2003.  This appears to be the only workable option for now IF you want to use Word and render eps pictures in pdf's with acceptable quality.

IMHO the best solution would be to have the very simple 76k filter #1 ported to Word 2007 (those who need the capability can swap the filter files) or (not as optimal but does not require swapping filter files) add the option in filter #3 to still embed the eps code.  Microsoft is the right place to do it, or (politics aside), Adobe could and should do it (given some support from MSFT).

I am surprised this issue has not caused more rumblings from users - perhaps it has, the symptoms are just worded differently.  Or maybe everyone is just staying with Word 2003 (which is what I have done until now).  The problem is most companies are being forced to upgrade now, so I think this will become a bigger issue for Adobe / Microsoft going forward.

Thanks for listening.  I look forward to your comments.

Andy

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New Here ,
Jun 23, 2010 Jun 23, 2010

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New Here ,
Jun 25, 2010 Jun 25, 2010

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It didn't work for me. I could only find a way to link by "insert object". I get a black box on the screen. And it's not the correct dimension.

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New Here ,
Jul 04, 2010 Jul 04, 2010

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Thanks to the original poster for getting this discussion started and for the helpful details.

I have found that Word 2010 actually returns to the behavior of passing-through the raw .eps when printing, which is the Word 2003 behavior described by AndyNils. So the displayed images look poor but the printed PDFs look great. So I guess this is the best "workaround". Hooray!

However, when I have .png in Word 2010 and print them to Acrobat 9 or Acrobat 6 (tried them both), the images get cut up into smaller images and inserted in the PDF. This results in huge files (a 400kb .png causes the PDF to grow by 7mb). More importantly, the text flow is destroyed and everything is columned (and so some text looks broken too). Has anyone seen this problem before?

Here is an example http://www.filefront.com/16951807/example.zip I hope that someone can try it and tell me if this happens to them as well.

(sorry for hi-jacking this thread)

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Adobe Employee ,
Jul 09, 2010 Jul 09, 2010

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Urinal,

I'm guessing the png has some sort of transparency in it. This is how it converts to pdf, not much you can do about that during conversion.

However if you have acrobat Pro, go to advanced>pdfoptimizer

Select the 'Discard Objects' option and make sure there's a tick for 'Detect and merge image fragments'

Set any other options as you require and save the optimized pdf.

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New Here ,
Jul 10, 2010 Jul 10, 2010

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Hi SimonATS, thanks for the reply. This isn't a transparency problem because I've used non-transparent png, jpeg (which doesn't support transparency), and even bmp. You can see in my example files that the image is not a transparent png. Also, the image fragmentation would not explain the text fragmentation that's occurring.

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New Here ,
Oct 03, 2010 Oct 03, 2010

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No one seems to notice that the main issue here is Windows..  I am currently preparing logo files for a client in order for her to manage her own business materials, and in reading this thread I have to say I feel rather frustrated that .eps files are presented as the 'issue' when I feel they are remarkable - small, elegant, accurately scalable - and it is, seemingly endlessly Windows softwares that are causing the problems....and that are sadly so ubiquitous.

I have no idea how to provide my client with a small, scalable logo that she can use and print from her home office.

Is there honestly no solution??

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LEGEND ,
Oct 03, 2010 Oct 03, 2010

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Only a suggestion of a workaround. Try to edit the eps file in a vector graphics package and save as a EMF file. I assume it should not be much larger, if any. EMF is capable of storing vector graphcs. I would suggest trying SVG graphics, but SVG does not seem to have taken off as well as was expected. I am assuming the logo is simple and it is not better in a bitmap format, with the associated scaling issues. If it had a fancy picture as part of the logo, it may be better to use a bitmap and not a vector format.

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New Here ,
Jul 08, 2010 Jul 08, 2010

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I found the Adobe PDF printer produced the pdf with the .eps files included, but after closing and reopening the document neither the convert to pdf or the pdf printer worked.

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New Here ,
Jul 09, 2010 Jul 09, 2010

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My bad. Aparantly saved to a different file than the one I was checking for changes. Word trouble late at night is not easy to deal with, I go into hate mode easily and don't know what I'm doing....

But anyways. The Pdf printer seem to produce nice looking vector figures, but the "convert to pdf" on the acrobat ribbon or the "word-save as" don't.

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New Here ,
Jan 26, 2011 Jan 26, 2011

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After much testing, I have found one way for Microsoft Office 2007 applications to handle EPS files reliably, and it is so easy I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner. Microsoft Office 2007 apps can convert EPS graphics accurately to PDF files. If you're a frequent user of Word, Excel, Access or PowerPoint 2007 like me, and you need to to create PDF files vector-based content from Microsoft Office 2007 on a regular basis, you'll appreciate this easy work-around for working with EPS files in MS Office 2007.

Unlike Microsoft Office 2003, the traditional methods of handling EPS files in MS Office 2007 apps using the "Insert" or "Paste Special" commands to handle EPS files in Word 2007 can cause EPS filesl to discard vector, font and/or color data. PDF files generated with EPS files using these insertion methods will result in poorly redefined and truncated EPS content that differs vastly from the original vector file.

Here is the 2-step work around I discovered after hours of methodical, albeit failed, work-around testing:

1) Browse for your EPS file in your file directory and copy it to the clipboard. Do not copy it from within your vector art application.

2) In Word 2007, set your cursor to the desired insertion point and paste the EPS file into the Word document.

Using this method, I was able to resize and crop EPS files right in the MS Office 2007 applications, including Word 2007. My PDF files generated from Word 2007 are perfect. I tried both transparent and opaque EPS files and they both performed equally well.

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New Here ,
Jan 27, 2011 Jan 27, 2011

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Hi,

Thanks, but it didn't work for me. My gradients still break apart and are "pinstriped" and my curves are not smooth.

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New Here ,
Jan 27, 2011 Jan 27, 2011

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Correction. It prints well, but the electronic display is awful. So, it's a partial solution in terms of the tests I've just tried.

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New Here ,
Jan 28, 2011 Jan 28, 2011

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It didn't work for me either.

My files are exported Matlab figures. I had to open them in Acrobat, export to eps before I inserted them in Word. Seems the problem is that I used Arial MT and Symbol as font in my figures. When I export from Matlab it these fonts are not embeded so when I open the file in Acrobat they are replaced with Helvetica (but still with a Arial label) for the normal letters and some shape function for the greek. When I then export the file and reopen it in Acrobat Arial MT is embedded and the file can be imported in Word and produce a nice, zoomable pdf export.

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