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Illustrator - WMF files

New Here ,
Jun 17, 2011 Jun 17, 2011

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Hi,

I would like to know what the go is with Illustrator and exporting to wmf files?

What has happened is this.

I have an illustrator file which i have a logo and text(an A4 letter head), which i am working with.

I have it saved as an .AI file (illustrator). I then exported it as (from File menu then Export) and saved it as an wmf file - i use wmf file as this logo and text/letter head will be going into a Word document, so from research today through the web, i am using wmf file to import into Word 2007 - possibly be used in other versions of word, like older versions also - though i have one question here also - do i use .WMF file to use as a logo and text(a single graphic) in WORD, or is there a more suitable format, say, pdf, .eps? or another graphic format which WORD will accept and retain the quality of the image?

OK,  now i have exported my file, first time the letterhead came out scratchy and edgy, say very poor quality, next time i resized the logo in illustrator to maek it bigger, see if there was any difference, then i exported it to .wmf, THIS time it came out a lot better, the lines were smooth etc. The THIRD time i did it, it came out a lot better, much better quality(having rezsized it to be larger in illustrator). After i did this again, the file went back to the first image quality poor for some reason, i tried another 6-7 times and the same result, pixelated/not smooth and poor.

So this is my dillemma, illustrator is mucking about for some reason, or what am i doing wrong. Also the 2nd and 3rd times i have imported the files into WORD, and this is when they were the quality i mentioned, based on what they appear in word. But if i preview/view them on their own in a picture viewer, then they are not great quality at all - all 8 versions of wmf files.

What am i doing wrong?

I am trying to create a letterhead, and this is for a volunteer role which i took up just recently and i have taken up too much time to produce the organisations documents which need branding. Business Card, Letter head, fax cover and dcoument template for internal use, cover page etc.

So if anyone could shed some light on all this or point me in the right direction thorugh a hidden web tutorial then that would be great, i would love to hear from anyone, real quick.


Or just at least tell me why illustrator is not exporting properly anymore? Another question, does all text in my illustrator document need to be (Create Outlines) before i export to wmf format - as im just learning all this stuff now.

Thankyou,


GaNa85

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New Here ,
Jun 17, 2011 Jun 17, 2011

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Also,

A letterhead in Word, does it go in the header(a graphic) - from design knowledge, or do i have it as an image just positioned in my word document, is there anyway to lock the image in place?(i know this is not illustrator related but still, it be good to know this and for others). I put the image in the header and it geys out a little, so is this the correct method of creating letterheads, there are so many tutorials, every tutorial is telling it differently.

Thanks!

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Community Expert ,
Jun 17, 2011 Jun 17, 2011

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or do i have it as an image just positioned in my word document, is there anyway to lock the image in place?

No, you cannot lock items in Word. You can only set them to always appear behnind text in their text flow/ layout options.

Mylenium

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New Here ,
Feb 26, 2012 Feb 26, 2012

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I think you can lock the position of objects. 

  1. Click on the image.
  2. In the Picture Tools tab on the ribbon, click on Arrange > Position > More Layout Options.
  3. On the Text Wrapping tab, select behind text.
  4. On the Position tab, deselect Move object with text, and you can choose an absolute horizontal/vertical position.  Relative to Page is most useful for your requirement.

For all its issues, Word is so widely used that you just need to find a way to make this work well enough.  Changing the app isn't a realistic alternative.  Putting the logo etc in the header should work fine.  Probably better than having them in the body, given you don't know who will be using the template and don't want to end up with lots of user support.

For your purpose - a volunteer organisation - WMF should be fine.  PNG is probably a more forward thinking option, it is disappointing it hasn't had better take-up. 

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 25, 2012 Sep 25, 2012

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Guys, I wonder, is there are any way to convert AI files (Illustrator 7) to WMF or EMF files?

I don't care that WMF and EMF files are inferior to AI. This is for the output from Adobe Illustrator to Flash, so, a WMF or EMF is all that I want.

I don't, however, want to upgrade AI 7, so the solution must be withing this limits. At worst even a 3rd party conversion program, but I did not find anything.

And there are many reasons, why such plugin will be worth every penny.

Anyone know a solution?

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Community Expert ,
Jun 17, 2011 Jun 17, 2011

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But if i preview/view them on their own in a picture viewer, then they are not great quality at all - all 8 versions of wmf files.

Don't bother and don't make anything of it. WMF is just a crappy format. If it works in Word, then that's all you need to know. As for your other issues - keep in mind that WMF always assumes 72DPI and any resizing or moving of objects and paths and exporting to that format will affect how the paths are segmented. Additionally, WMF more or less will convert everything to linear segments and fills. This means that in order to retain fine details, you may have to heavily subdivide your path in AI to coerce the file format to do what you want it. Additionally, there is a difference between how it treats life text and outlined text, so you may wish to convert text before export in any case. If you want a better, verifyable alternative without all the trouble, simply use PNGs.

Mylenium

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New Here ,
Jun 17, 2011 Jun 17, 2011

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Hey Mylenium,

Thats cleared up a lot, and i was going to say that i did do a search just after i posted that saving as microsfot office - it saves as a png, but wanted to hear everyones reesponses also.

I will work with png, but i would like to ask (i will need to print off and check), but is this the professional standard to utilizing and branding documents such as letter heads/fax cover letters, working with word etc.

I want a very clean cut, nice, finished, crisp and polished logo branding on all my word documents. Not allowed to have anything blurry in anyway, it will be for the organisations corporate branding - throughout all office documents.

Why would i not use tiff? due to large file size? Does Word not accept it?

If you could or anyone explain all this then i would learn something for the long run. If there is a proper format for this, then i would like to hear.

For everyone else the header greys out the image, though from reading other peoples responses for word, it will appear as is once printed, with it's original colour and quality - purpose of header IS to distinguish that this part of the document is a header, by greying out the image.

If i could get a last clarification for creating letterheads and png/other file formats, then that would be great.


Thanks!

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Community Expert ,
Jun 17, 2011 Jun 17, 2011

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There's nothing professional about creating any print stuff with Word. It just lacks the means and tools, but then again, it is primarily a letter writing app and you may put as much effort into this as you want - your next enemy is the office printer and its driver. So in the end, it's a moot point, after all, regardless how even big corporation hire expensive agencies to do corporate branding folders. The only sane advice here is to simply try. Things you should keep an eye on:

- Make sure, your Office version and your cliejnt's match. Office 2003 will behave differently than 2007 with the same document templates.

- Specify safe print margins in teh document, don't rely on the automatic margin or the settings of the printer driver.

- TIFFs would be okay just like PNGs, but keep in mind that Office only ever uses uncompressed RGB files.

- There will be blur, that's a given. Relates to my comment about the printers - differernt printers, different driver, different raster, differnt treatment of vector vs. pixel data. Unless they use the same printers in every office, you cannot guarantee any of that. It's futile. if they need sharp logos, conventioanlly printed lettes forms are the only way.

Mylenium

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New Here ,
Jun 17, 2011 Jun 17, 2011

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What you have said is very useful, i will take it on board, it's just im wondering what the professional practice would be in doing letterheads and fax covers, Tiff all throughout or png, (tiff better quality etc.) but i guess png would be just as good like you have said and also for the fact with uncompressed RGB's and office.

Thanks.

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New Here ,
Nov 04, 2022 Nov 04, 2022

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While we can have different opinions of the WMF format, a 16-bit format that dates back to early 90's at least, it is not the WMF format that causes the problems you are describing. Adobe Illustrator just does a very bad job of exporting to that format. I experienced this today. Design company edited an archived EPS file used Adobe Illustrator. Exported it to WMF. I opened the WMF in both PowerPoint and in Corel Draw -in both cases the circles and curves were coarse line segments. I had a the same eps file, imported it into Corel Draw, exported it to WMF and no issues -beautiful sharp circles. I asked the Design company to look at the WMF file they created from Adobe, and they saw the coarse line approximation on their Apple computer. Summary: Not getting good circles is not due to WMF format. It's due to Adobe Illustrator being very bad at exporting to WMF format. The comment about WMF defaulting to 72 DPI seems non-sensical. It's a vector format. I've had no issues creating an image in Corel Draw, exporting to WMF, importing the WMF into desktop publishing software and it is same size and sharpness. The newer format, EMF, is weird. MS Office products import EMF files about 20% oversized. 
Too late for original poster, but if anyone is trying to get from AI to WMF its best to find a third party file convertor. Adobe horks it up and shows little interest in fixing the problem for this very, very, old -but very reliable format.

My illustrations are gray scale with occasional basic colors: Red, Blue, Green and yellow so the old 16 bit format is not a problem. 
I'm updating books I did in the 1990's. The eps and WMF files still import well in today's software. Having design firm save files in the native AI format they use, jpeg for foolproof compatibility, and a non-proprietary vector format for future proof compatibility. Unfortunately, Adobe on Apple won't play well with WMF, and EMF is also quirky. Might have to with eps (which MS Office banned years ago) or with SVG so there will be usable vector illustrations other than proprietary AI twenty or thirty years from now when this work may get revised again. For reference: Adobe Illustrator did not exist when the artwork was first created. It probably will not longer exist in 20 years.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 18, 2011 Jun 18, 2011

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i use wmf file

I haven't read this thread at length, but (within Windows metafile capability) you'll generally get better results with Enhanced MetaFile (EMF), not the earlier Windows MetaFile (WMF).

JET

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New Here ,
Apr 18, 2013 Apr 18, 2013

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Wrong, wrong, wrong...

WMF and EMF files are vector graphics files, so they will scale and print to a wonderful crispness.  The problem is that AI sometimes saves only the low-res thumbnail image (used for preview and positioning) which is a terrible pixelated image.  A common workaround is to make the original image very very large, but this doesn't create vector art it just masks the problem

PNG is a bitmap format which will scale smaller, but not larger without pixelation.  It's main benefit over other bitmap formats is that it provides transparency so an image can overlay something else without a white box around it.  Proper EMF and WMF files can also contain transparent backgrounds.

The advice on how to lock the image in Word is right on.

Cheers.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 06, 2015 Jul 06, 2015

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Rbbart09 is absolutely right here. Illustrator has an intermittent bug in exporting WMF files where the thumbnail is replacing the artwork.

It is absolutely unacceptable that this issue has been left unadressed for so long. In my case this is a major headache in a critical workflow, we need a fix, not advice to use something else.

Now I concede that, yes, WMF is really a legacy format and yes, Word is not a pro print program. However, in my and other major industries, the MS Suite is dominant for producing information documents; and in this use scenario WMF has major benefits over EMF, primarily displaying correctly both on-screen and in print, also small file size and ability to ungroup to vector objects, with transparency.

In our 'enterprise' environment IT is very complicated, so it is not possible to either reset Illustrator preferences or do a re-install. We have had to adopt a completely different archival process saving alternative formats and source files, which is cumbersome and ineffective, when all we need are correctly-exported WMF files.

I would politely challenge Adobe to release a fix for this bug, or for the experts to post details on a true workaround for it. ASAP. Please!!!

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New Here ,
Nov 04, 2022 Nov 04, 2022

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Too late for original poster, but I have detailed response elsewhere documenting that Adobe illustrator just does a very bad job exporting to WMF even ten years later. Corel Draw, which does not seem as popular or full featured as Adobe, at least is able to export to WMF without horsing it up.

vector formats (equations) will look better than raster formats (dots) -but if not looking to shrink or enlarge the image, raster is more reliable in getting what you expect. Vector has to be interpreted by the software. Usually it works out OK, but as you mention fonts will be a problem. Export fonts as curves for vector files if you are controlling everything through to final print. Otherwise, fonts almost always get screwed up.

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