I have a vector art on Illustrator that I'd like to use as background image for my cover on some projects (display only, not print). I intend to keep the document as a high-quality vector PDF, like those books, magazines, whitepapers PDFs where you can zoom in and never lose the quality, so using PNG or JPG isn't an option.

Original image: http://i.imgur.com/1FehRWG.png — That's what I want displayed on the PDF after I exported it from Word.


  1. Illustrator CC: File > Export > WMF
  2. Word 2016: Insert picture > WMF file
  3. Word 2016: File > Export > PDF

RESULT: http://i.imgur.com/lA2or4g.png and http://i.imgur.com/UgmkcmI.png — Vector loses quality.


  1. Illustrator CC: File > Save As > EPS
  2. Word 2016: Insert picture > EPS file
  3. Word 2016: File > Export > PDF

RESULT: http://i.imgur.com/DqzX3HD.png and http://i.imgur.com/Q8DowB6.png — Still a vector, but the colors are all messed up and the lines aren't clear like the original.

Word 2016 settings:

  • Default output 330ppi

Illustrator CC settings:

  • 1200ppi Line Art and Text
  • 300ppi Gradient and Mesh
  • Raster/Vector Balance: 100
  • Convert all Text to Outlines: unchecked
  • Convert all Strokes to Outlines: unchecked
  • Anti-alias Rasters: unchecked
  • Artboard size: Letter (8.5in x 11in)
  • RGB Color Mode
  • Hi! Is it possible to also post a screenshot image of how it looks like in Chrome? Low quality could mean bad rendering or a few other things! By the way, if your image contains a lot of vector path and is complex, it's possible it doesn't show properly in a browser. If you only need this project to be use online, you can always rasterize the vector and save it in another format (eg. png, jpg)
    – go-junta
    Mar 18, 2016 at 10:16
  • Yeah, it's kinda complex vector, a lot of paths. Converting to PNG wouldn't be an option as I'd like the PDF to be true vector. Is there a way to "dumb down" the vector?
    – JChris
    Mar 18, 2016 at 23:45
  • I updated the question, take a look at it, please!
    – JChris
    Mar 19, 2016 at 0:12

1 Answer 1


What I suggest you do is create two separate PDF’s — one out of Illustrator and one out of Word — and combine them in Acrobat or Preview or another PDF editing tool. Don’t put your cover art through Word at all.

So your steps would be:

  1. export your document from Word as PDF
  2. export your cover from Illustrator as PDF
  3. open the document PDF in a PDF editor
  4. add the cover PDF at the beginning of the document — essentially page zero (in Preview you do this by showing page thumbnails and just dragging the cover art PDF into the thumbnails so that it is the first thumbnail)
  5. print or export as a final combined PDF for sharing
  • I thought about that, but this would kinda ruin my workflow. Another issue is that I intend to use a vector for header/footer illustration for each document page.
    – JChris
    Mar 20, 2016 at 3:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.