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I want to include a publication quality vector graphic in MS word. EMF seems to be the only vector format which word handles without massive issues. Therefore I am exporting a figure from Illustrator as EMF. When loading the exported EMF figure again in Illustrator (same observation in word) I notice a significant loss in precision, look at the screenshots of the following zoomed in sections below:

original .AI:

original illustration (.AI format)

exported to .EMF and then re-loaded: exported .EMF

Is there any way how I can handle this resolution/precision? I tried - effect -> document raster effect setting -> increase the default 300dpi a lot without any improvement.

Word cannot handle EPS files in any decent way (very low res pixelation) so this is not an option, the only other vector format that would be supported is WMF but that one also gets pixeled badly.

I am using Illustrator CS6 (16.0.0 in Windows 7 64 bit)

Any help will be appreciated!

  • 3
    Microsoft Word and "high quality vector graphics" seems to be phrasing that makes no sense to me. One of those notorious oxy-morons that pop up when using Microsoft Products. For Word, a large PNG is practically as good as any vector image. There's little point to using vector images in Word. – Scott Sep 24 '15 at 20:49
  • As @joojaa already recommended, instead of increasing of the raster resolution (which has no effect on vector images) you should try to magnify your figure by a factor of 10 before exporting. – Alexey Popkov Sep 25 '15 at 6:43
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Welcome to the wonderful world of microsoft office. There just simply is no sane solution to this problem. Seriously microsoft what do you guys have against vector graphics in documents.

If your purpose is to view EPS inside of word then it dont work but when you print it and its again vectors. EPS works for print and PDF conversion beautifully, as long as you dont mind the preview of word and can ensure nobody tries to move, or hprror rotate, the image which causes the new word to permanently rasterize the image for good. But dont be fooled by previews if you actually want to print decent quality stuff in cmyk from word this is the ONLY way. (printer must support postscript though if not print via pdf)

EMF precision is a bit whacky yes, but still this is the next best option. Try scaling the image bigger in Illustrator before export. By say a factor of 2-10. This sometimes fixes the issue. Also run trough transparency flattening before exporting. If not then you are doomed to use EPS with no preview in Word. So if by publication you mean sending word documents your in a bad situation.

Word is actually getting worse at supporting vector images. Older versions of word an Powerpoint actually allowed one to copy paste from illustrator.

Next stop PNG.

  • Thank you for the hint, that EPS works good despite the preview. I finally needed to generate a PDF from it. If I try that via "File" -> "Save as Adobe PDF" it looks just as bad as in the preview. But when printing it to a PDF via the "Adobe PDF"-printer the results are good! Scaling does not work well: Scaling an image to 1000% in illustrator and then re-scaling it to 10% in word gives me a ~15% too big image. – Sebastian Sep 25 '15 at 8:04
  • @Sebastian yes i said it might work, it sometimes does. Glad this helped you. – joojaa Sep 25 '15 at 8:18
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I want to include a publication quality vector graphic in MS word.

You are starting with the wrong foot. You can not do that. Well, of course there are many, many types of publications; electronic media, commercial printing, etc.

EMF seems to be the only vector format which word handles without massive issues.

Probably the only vector format that does not have massive issues is perhaphs drawing lines in power point and paste them in word.

increase the default 300dpi a lot without any improvement

Any dpi or ppi setting is NOT for vectors.


So let us start from the begining. Do you really need a vector image? Or you just need a good quality image, so when you print it you have a clean nice one?

Just import a nice and clean PNG file into word. Problem solved.

If you really need a "publication quality vector graphic" make a pdf.

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    Actually eps works as long as you ignore it in the viewport of word. But that is usually no option. Most people wont test this however since the preview is so hideous. Ultimately you just cant get it to work so that a average user would succeed. Now try doing a cmyk PNG. – joojaa Sep 24 '15 at 20:07
  • The simple sole idea of sending a word file to print a cmyk output is bizzarre enough. Publication quality does not mean comercial printing. For an electronic publication, inclusive for a banner it is an option. Thoose are publications. For comercial printing... a word file? – Rafael Sep 24 '15 at 20:16
  • I am very, open minded... Not as much as I thought so... I would never ever do that. Xo) I have used a word file as original for comercial print, but as the source, not as the output. – Rafael Sep 24 '15 at 20:27
  • I would prefer not to but sometimes you have to live with what you can. Most students couldnt afford to learn how to use indesign and print with a real commercial printer. Its better than typing the stuff with a typewriter. And that used to happen still 5 years ago. – joojaa Sep 24 '15 at 20:29
  • @joojaa Thanks for the note on handling CMYK EPS by MS Office, added it with a reference to this summary on importing EPS in MS Office. Does MS Office print correctly also CMYK PNGs? – Alexey Popkov Sep 25 '15 at 6:36
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It is a long time since the last post. We just had the same precision problem with exporting from Illustrator to EMF format. We found that it is not a Windows or Ms Office problem, because when we open again the exported EMF file with Illustrator, it is already incorrect. It seems that the Illustrator could not able to export correctly to EMF. The SOLUTION WE FOUND: We opened (in windows) the Illustrator .AI file with CorelDraw, and form CorelDraw we exported to EMF file. The result was very good and we can insert this EMF file to Word as well. Another SOLUTION is nowadays to export SVG format, but it could use only with the newest Office 365 versions, the older ones coud not open it.

  • IN new offices you can actually copy paste directly form illustrator. If you then ungoup then it works eve better. – joojaa Mar 23 '18 at 13:07
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Another fix is

Microsoft have said that publisher can take SVG but it can't. However PowerPoint and Word can.

To get vector (clean vector) into publisher you can save from Illustrator as SVG make sure you use the save as option and put 4 decimal places on the output so it's exact. Check the SVG is good quality by re-opening in AI.

Then open powerpoint insert the SVG into this and save it back out as EMF.

Then you can use this EMF in publisher. It comes out very clear for me.

only other option if you can't get the above to work is to use CORALDRAW but it's £600

This has taken me week to get this working.

Bye for now.

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