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Word/publisher to PDF. Image quality problems

i've been having a lot of trouble convering word documents and publisher documents into usable PDF files.  Basically, some or most of the images always come out like crap, and like horribly degraded compared to the original word or publisher document.  i've had this trouble on multiple computers.

also, this is happening whether I use adobe acrobat professional 7.0 or cutePDF writer.

I have tried the following:
in the conversion options changing the DPI to: 300, 600, 1200, 2000, 4000, with no positive effects.
tried turning off automatic image compression algorithms in the adobe write options for both color and monochrome images.

i just don't get it, some documents work ok, most of the time images are a disaster.  images are always at least 72 DPI, sometimes 300 or more, but either way (72 or 300) they are still worthless after being converted.

I'm a computer engineer and very proficient in software, but i'm embarrassed as for all the things i can do with software, i've been struggling with this for over a year
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raw_enha
Asked:
raw_enha
2 Solutions
 
BillDLCommented:
Do you habitually use a specific image file type to insert into your Office documents, or do you use various types?
Try it with different image file types to eliminate this factor.

Do you regularly resize images after inserting?
I know that pdf creation is supposed to capture exactly what you are seeing on screen, but I also know that certain image types (wmf and emf as used in clipart) degrade and distort less when stretched or reduced like jpg's do.

Have you tried opening one of the images that suffers from degradation into your image editor and using CutePDF to create a pdf document only with the image?
The suggestion here is to try and isolate MS Office documents as the culprits.

Same version of MS Office on all occasions, or are the results the same with different versions of Office Applications?

Have you tried using an alternative PDF Viewer, just to eliminate the possibility that the poor image quality is due to a display setting in the viewer and not caused at the creation stage?
I use the free and very small Foxit Pdf Reader:
http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php

Are the images of poor quality when you reopen the created PDF document for editing in Acrobat Pro?
Again, I'm suggesting the possibility of the viewer settings being the problem here.

For instance, if the accessibility options of Acrobat Reader are set to use anything other than "Colors Specified in Document", then perhaps that could affect the way the images are rendered.  There is also an option to toggle "Smooth Images" on and off.  I only have an old version of Acrobat Reader installed, but perhaps there are other options in a more recent version.

Upload an example here so we can see the bad results:
http://www.ee-stuff.com/Expert/Upload/upload.php
Login required and subject to maximum of 4MB in specific file formats.

Have you tested the Online PDF Creation service to compare results?
You get 5 free documents by following the link on the page:
http://createpdf.adobe.com/?Language=ENU
and registering.

I suppose there's a strong probability you've already checked all these possibilities out over the space of a year, but just maybe I've suggested something you have overlooked.
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raw_enhaAuthor Commented:
Do you habitually use a specific image file type to insert into your Office documents, or do you use various types?
Try it with different image file types to eliminate this factor.
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No dice, doesn't seem to matter about the file type. i've had it happen and not happen with BMPS, JPG, PNG, GIF, and even using all those types i've tried pasting them in as: metafiles, enhanced metafiles, bitmap, device independent objects, and everything else in the list.
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Do you regularly resize images after inserting?

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yes, but only to make things smaller (and yes i re-sample when appropriate). Also, just to test, i tried keeping culprit images at their original size...no good.
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I know that pdf creation is supposed to capture exactly what you are seeing on screen, but I also know that certain image types (wmf and emf as used in clipart) degrade and distort less when stretched or reduced like jpg's do.
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see above info
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Have you tried opening one of the images that suffers from degradation into your image editor and using CutePDF to create a pdf document only with the image?
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tested this, doesn't matter...good idea though
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The suggestion here is to try and isolate MS Office documents as the culprits.

Same version of MS Office on all occasions, or are the results the same with different versions of Office Applications?
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only tried on 2003, as it's what all the machines i have access to are.

i'll see about uploading a few when i get a chance. mabye just some images, as my documents are like 20-30 megs (i started keeping all images fully uncompressed to try to bypass this sitatuation, but it turned out i was just wasting HD space).

Have you tried using an alternative PDF Viewer, just to eliminate the possibility that the poor image quality is due to a display setting in the viewer and not caused at the creation stage?
I use the free and very small Foxit Pdf Reader:
http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php
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yup...not the viewer
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Are the images of poor quality when you reopen the created PDF document for editing in Acrobat Pro?
Again, I'm suggesting the possibility of the viewer settings being the problem here.
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yes, still poor quality
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For instance, if the accessibility options of Acrobat Reader are set to use anything other than "Colors Specified in Document", then perhaps that could affect the way the images are rendered.  There is also an option to toggle "Smooth Images" on and off.  I only have an old version of Acrobat Reader installed, but perhaps there are other options in a more recent version.
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not only this, but i tried turning off any compression anywhere in all adobe settings
-------

Upload an example here so we can see the bad results:
http://www.ee-stuff.com/Expert/Upload/upload.php
Login required and subject to maximum of 4MB in specific file formats.
-------
i'll check this out
-------

Have you tested the Online PDF Creation service to compare results?
You get 5 free documents by following the link on the page:
http://createpdf.adobe.com/?Language=ENU
and registering.
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i'll give this a shot, hopefully they can handle my large files
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BillDLCommented:
Thanks for that comprehensive feedback.  The bad news on my part is that I'm pretty well struggling for another valid explanation, as have you for the past year.  Hopefully someone else who has had this specific problem and knows the cause and solution will drop by soon :-)
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raw_enhaAuthor Commented:
wow, i just tested http://createpdf.adobe.com/?Language=ENU and..i'm horribly disappointed. the picture came up as a box with a red x, like an unloaded web picture...even though in my document the picture is an object, not a link. Also, it moved MS drawing objects (ie, lines) all over the place (and in the wrong places)

i'm going to try the EE link next, i'll upload the DOC and an example PDF from my own conversion process.
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raw_enhaAuthor Commented:
ok i just uploaded a file with all related files to the EE site, if you find anything let me know, thanks
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BillDLCommented:
For info of other experts, the download page for the example PDF file is:

https://filedb.experts-exchange.com/incoming/ee-stuff/4223-PDFproblem.zip

Looking at it now and comparing results from other pdf virtual printers.
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RipinCommented:
Just tested and made same thing in InDesign, it was fine. So it's Word that makes it bad.

Your images are fine for max 489 dpi, not more. Jpg is compressed to normal quality (7-8). Could use maximum quality, that may help.

Word can only store pictures (not 2007) max 200 dpi. So that maid be something to do with this.
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BillDLCommented:
Thank you for including me in the points share raw_enha.  Unfortunately the ee-stuff.com pages wouldn't load when I was first trying to download the file, and by the time I did compare results, I was arriving at exactly the same conclusion as Ripin.

The image turned out completely unblemished and clear when using several virtual pdf printers from some other publisher/word processing applications, including printing directly to pdf from my standard image editor Paint Shop Pro, and also from MS Publisher 2003.

Unfortunately Frontpage 2002 messed it up big time by rendering the *.jpg with the wrong colouring, and the *.png with chunks missing and duplicated overlaps of the image.  Maybe just some of my settings there however.
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SaraBucknamCommented:
Hi--
I recently began converting Publisher files into .PDF documents (marketing materials that I can email to clients), and I did so using a color copier that scans documents into .PDF files.  I don't know much about resizing/transforming graphics...which is essentially why I didn't attempt to do it myself!  I believe that this service is offered at Kinko's (we have a copier with this feature at my workplace).  I have had wonderful luck with it, so long as I set the resolution to 300x300 dpi or higher (the machine I use allows me to go up to 600 dpi).  The images look exactly the same as the publisher file I originally printed out, although photos lost some quality when scanning to lower resolutions, which I suppose is to be expected.  I'm not sure if this is helpful at all, I noticed all the other responses so far have been rather technical, but I thought I'd throw it out there anyway.   Good luck, I can relate to your frustration!
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arms145Commented:
I had a similar problem with Word and conversion to PDF (using CutePDF). I finally narrowed it down to the use of transparent images (GIF and PNG). The PDF conversion always messed up the edges.
But if I added solid backgrounds to them (giving the overall image a smooth, regular, rectangular edge), they converted much better.
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elaichbeeCommented:
I had a similar experience as well. I had a PNG image that was created in a graphics package using a 3D reflection effect. It had a transparent background color, therefore it had at least 2 layers. The reflection in the image displayed in the Word doc but it did NOT display when the Word doc was converted to PDF - no matter how I changed the image conversion settings in the Acrobat Distiller preferences.

Then I tried a different strategy - I saved the original image file as a TIFF with standard compression, which automatically merges the foreground and transparent background layers into one (i.e., it "flattens" the image). Well, after inserting this TIFF into the Word document, I was then able to convert it to PDF with the image looking absolutely perfect - great resolution and with the reflection. Apparently, the Word to PDF conversion does not go well with multi-layered images and transparent backgrounds that are separated from the foreground image. (My image's transparent background color was white, as was the document page it was inserted on, so I was able to get away with this strategy. It might not work for other foreground-background combinations.)
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bthisCommented:
The problem appears to be transparency, either in the original GIF or in a JPG or other format with Word's tranparency function applied.  Word distorts any any image containing transparency.  The same image with not transparency comes across fine in a PDF.  
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