I have a fair amount of experience working with Illustrator from taking some graphic design classes in high school. I've recently started working in a biomedical research lab that makes all of their figures using PowerPoint. The Principal Investigator (my boss) said that I may use Illustrator to make my figures so long as I can export them to PowerPoint for him to edit.

Is there a way for me to accomplish this roundtrip workflow?

I've tried export from Illustrator to EMF and then importing to PowerPoint. This works to loselessly import the figure, but once it is converted to a PowerPoint object for editing, the text breaks up into individual characters and all the shapes loose their stoke width.

Any ideas how to help me misuse PowerPoint as a vector drawing tool so that I can keep using real drawing software for my side of the work?

  • Hi mrestko, do the files exported from Illustrator have to remain editable in PowerPoint? My suggestion would be to make static artwork in illustrator exporting as a jpg and then create text boxes in PowerPoint.
    – AndrewH
    Jul 13, 2015 at 21:24
  • Yes Andrew, they do need to be editable in PowerPoint. The PI would like to be able to make adjustments to my work and then send it back to me.
    – mrestko
    Jul 13, 2015 at 21:33
  • @mrestko what sort of adjustments? Colour? Remove/add words? Changing a path? Jul 13, 2015 at 22:18
  • Also, try saving the ai file in an older format (e.g Illustrator 10) and then as an emf. Try different ai versions to see if one version works better than the other. Jul 13, 2015 at 22:23

2 Answers 2


Creating PPT shapes in Illustrator.

I do this practically everyday:

Create shape in Illustrator, export as .emf from Illustrator. PLACE .emf into PowerPoint. Ungroup .emf. (Answer "Yes" to "do you want to convert to a MS Office drawing object")

UNGROUP AGAIN. This reveals an invisible bounding bound on top of your shape. Select the invisible bounding box, drag to the side, and delete.

Regroup your remaining shape elements. You have now created a resolution-independent PPT shape, resizable without resolution loss. Any color can be applied to the new shape by choosing Shape Fill. If there are multiple items grouped within your shape, it is possible of course to color each of them different colors.

If you can figure out how to Paste Special in PowerPoint, you can copy directly from the Illustrator art board into PPTx, saving a couple of the above steps.

Hope this answers at least part of your dilemma.



There is NO reliable way to do this. Powerpoint is a very bad program to preserve imported paths. The EMF and WMF are very buggy vector file formats.

I would ask, What is the purpose of the images? What kind of images are thoose?

If they are ment to stay in power point, then you probably should learn how to stick into power point's features.

If they are for printing there is no need to import them back into poweer point. You should not. So the planning process of that project should be reviewed.

Your boss probably want to keep working with power point becouse it is the only program he knows.

But if the technical requirements asks for another aplication you should consider it. There is a chance you find another kind of program you both can use.

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