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Someone I know occasionally asks my help when incorporating contributed material into an A5 booklet she edits and produces for a small local annual event.

The booklet is essentially a programme for an event that incorporates adverts for sponsors of the event.

The ads are quarter-page, half-page or full-page. Generally people supply whatever they have to hand. Sometimes they'll offer A5 and A4 versions. Sometimes they ask about the best format (in the worst case you get a low-res JPG or a photocopied newspaper ad or business card to scan - but that's not what this question is about)

The material is often supplied as a PDF file.

The editor uses MS Word because that's what she is used to and comfortable using. She is reluctant to learn a DTP package or other software for a job that is done once a year. She usually works by re-using the previous years document and editing in new content.

The techniques used at moment are a mixture of

  • select individual elements (bitmap images, background photos) in the PDF page if possible and cut & paste into Word. If text is selectable do same and overlay and re-apply formatting etc. Or ...

  • make a screenshot, paste into an image editor (IrfanView), crop, resize as needed and save as an image (PNG) and import that image into Word.

The quality of the result varies a lot. Sometimes the images appear to have been halftoned and exhibit moire patterns when resized slightly to fit the booklet margins. Sometimes they are just a bit blurry and sometimes they are good.

Drafts are printed from Word but the result sent to printers is an exported A5 multipage PDF of the document.

So ...

Are there any other techniques that could be easily used that would help keep the visual quality of the final printed result as high as possible.

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To be honest, this greatly depends on the construction of the original PDF. I suspect the low quality you are seeing has nothing to do with what you are doing and is more about what the original creator used.

For Word, PNG is often the best format. I would simply Save As.. > Image > PNG from Acrobat, then open and crop as needed as you are already doing. I'd forgo the "screen shot". If you save as, you get the original content. The screen shot automatically reduces resolution. (Note, you could simply drag the PDF to Photoshop and let Photoshop rasterize the entire thing, then save as PNG -- I have no clue if Infranview will do this.)

You could try saving the PDF as an EPS, but it's doubtful that the EPS would improve the appearance much. EPS definitely wouldn't help with any moirés or other raster issues. And often EPS files (while supported) have their own issues in Word.

In short, I don't think there's really much you can do without having control over the original PDF creation and being required to support Word. You are reliant on the original PDF quality.

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