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Converting to Acrobat PDF

Posted on 2000-02-15
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Last Modified: 2013-11-19
When i convert a Word document that contains embedded bitmap images to PDF the resulting images in the PDF file are very pixellated.

The images contain text (they are mostly screen shots of dialog boxes, etc.) and it is the text which gets pixellated - so badly it cannot be read.

I have tried playing with the different settings when printing to PDF but nothing seems to make a difference. The document text itself comes out perfectly, it is only  the images which go bad.

Is there a way to fix this?
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Question by:paulburns
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by:Lischke
ID: 2526266
Hi Paul,

what you described is often the result of scaling the bitmaps. Text is usually written using vector fonts, so they don't loose quality when scaled (unless you scale them too small). A bitmap is a totally different thing as it is constructed from single pixels and these are more or less simply replicated when you scale the bitmap in Word. A better way would be to scale the bitmaps using Photoshop or Paintshop Pro to their final size (with bicubic interpolation to get out best results) and then place them into the document.

Ciao, Mike
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by:ericpete
ID: 2529039
Another solution is to use TIF files instead of BMP files if you can. I do most of my screen shots using Corel Capture, then use Corel to crop and save them as TIFs before importing them into Word97, and it's always worked like a charm. They convert into PDFs with virtually no degradation.

And a side note: Unless you're printing to a color printer, when you save your screen shots, save them as grayscale images... saves a ton of time when printing.
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by:paulburns
ID: 2529077
I dont think the problem is with the images - if i print the Word document they come out perfect, if i print the PDF they come out terrible. There seems to be some loss of resolution happening in the conversion to PDF.

ericpete,
I have tried using JPG rather than BMP but just got the same results. Haven't tried TIF, do you think it will make a difference?
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by:ericpete
ID: 2529097
Yes, it'll make a huge difference. Without going into the technical aspects of it, what's true is that any time you're working in images which are to become JPGs, you should do all of your manipulation of them as TIFs, and then save the final product as a JPG. The other aspect is that I believe the JPG standard is for display, rather than printing, which will also make a difference. You didn't mention -- are you using a B&W printer? Or a color one?
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by:paulburns
ID: 2529127
ok, i will give TIF a go.

B&W printer.
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by:Lischke
ID: 2530273
I have recently build a TIF importer library and have not found any special feature which would indicate that TIF is better suited for the stuff we are discussing here than BMP. It could well be that Acrobat (or whatever reader you use for the PDFs) can handle TIFs better than BMP but then it is an issue of the program not the file format.

I still believe you should primarily avoid scaling the images (in whatever format they may be) but should insert them at their final size and resolution.

Ciao, Mike
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by:ericpete
ID: 2531553
Lischke -- Not necessarily disagreeing with you... just suggesting that if he's having trouble with BMPs and/or JPGs that he try something different. I do a lot of stuff with PDFs, and just a couple of days ago did exactly what he is doing... and TIFs worked, especially if they're grayscaled for a black and white printer... *shrug*
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by:Lobo042399
ID: 2533868
JPG's should be avoided unless images are being created for browser viewing. The reason is simple. JPG is a "lossy" format, which means that in order for the file to compress to a relatively small size a lot of information is dumped; the higher the compression rate, the lower the quality of the image.

I believe the problem here is, tho, not related to the format of the images at all.

Paul, What are you using to create your PDF's???  That would be my first question.

Good vibes!!!
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by:paulburns
ID: 2543962
ericpete,
Using TIF did not make any difference.

I am creating the PDF's from within Word, i.e. via the menu item File -> Create Adobe PDF -> Print via PDFWriter
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Lobo042399 earned 200 total points
ID: 2544788
Yup, thought so.... the problem is not related to the format of the image file(s)....

Regardless of what some people might do with it, Word is only a word processor and not a page layout program and trherefore its capabilities as such are limited. I presume this extends to the quality of its built-in PDF writer. I am afraid what the writer is doing is to wrongly assume the PDF is for browsing purposes and so it automatically reduces the resolution of the bitmaps to 72 dpi.

The only solution to this problem, I'd suggest, is for you to install the Acrobat Distiller and use it instead of the crappy Microsoft writer. The Acrobat Distiller will give you the ability to define many parameters for your PDF's, including the resolution of embedded images. Indeed, the Acrobat Distiller can give you press quality PDF's and it is quite affordable. You can check it out at www.adobe.com

Good vibes!!!!
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by:ericpete
ID: 2546442
Lobo... Ooops (sorta)... never occurred to me that he was using anything BUT Distiller... Could be why I've never had any of the problems he's having...
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by:paulburns
ID: 2549199
Damn it! its an RTFM case: plain as day in the Acrobat documentation it says... "if the results from using the PDF Writer are unsatisfactory then use the Distiller".

Of course, using Distiller fixed the problem.

Oh well, thanks Lobo and sorry if i may have misled everyone else.
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by:Lobo042399
ID: 2561211
Thx for the points, Paul....

2 years ago, whil helping a printing company set a PDF policy for transfer/proofing press files we did extensive testings on variations of results of using PDF Writer and the Distiller from different programs on both Mac and PC platforms and the results of the tests sugested that in some cases the Writer can do a better job than the Distiller. I wish I still had a copy of the report, tho..... I guess one of this days I'll have to prepare and run a battery of tests again....

Anyway, I am glad that I was of help to you.


Good vibes!!!!
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