A tale of EMF and EPS files – Electronic Stationery & Microsoft Word

I’ve had to maintain electronic letterhead stationery within Word for over 10 years now. In this blog post, I’ll be documenting the method that I use to get the graphics from EPS format as provided by the graphic designers, and into the best format to be used within Microsoft Word.

It is possible to drag an EPS file into Word on a PC and use it that way. Word will convert the graphic and embed it. This however, doesn’t result in the best combination of on-screen quality and print quality.

My testing helped me determine that the WMF or EMF formats would give the best combination of print and on-screen quality.

By chance, I discovered that Office for Mac uses a different filter or conversion method when importing SVG files that results in a good-quality EMF. My current workflow is now this:

  1. Save the EPS files onto a Mac
  2. Open a blank document in Word for Mac
  3. Drag all of the EPS files into that document
  4. Save the document, and transfer it onto a PC
  5. Using a tool such as 7-zip, extract the contents of the Word document into a folder
  6. Retrieve the EMF files from the media subfolder of the extracted contents
  7. Insert the above EMF files into the Word templates

I’ve taken some screenshots to show the differences between Word on the different platforms with an EPS graphic that I found on Google.

Word 2010/2013 on Windows


Word 2013 on PC - Screen


Word 2013 - PDFed

Word 2011 for Mac


Word for Mac 2011 - Screen


Word for Mac 2011 - PDFed

As you can see, the screen and print/PDF versions look practically identical on the Mac version of Word, whereas the screen version on the PC doesn’t look great.

Both processes also result in different embedded images:


In Summary

To summarise; if you need to embed EPS files in your Word documents, import them using Word for Mac first, and then use the resulting embedded images for better results within your Word templates.

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