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Vector graphics in MS Publisher

Posted: June 8th, 2010, 1:38 am
by LeafPiece
I don't think i'm a member of any tech forum, so hopefully someone here can help me.

I'm in the process of writing an origami book with diagrams. So far I've been drawing my diagrams in Microsoft Word. I know there are better programs, but so far it has worked fine. When I realized I should fill in color to represent the colored side of the paper, I downloaded Inkscape. I am able to copy the vector graphics from Word to Inkscape, color the regions I want, and then copy the image back into Word without any loss of quality either on screen or in print. However, when I actually put the pieces of this book together, I thought I should probably compile it in MS Publisher. Like I said, I can copy vector graphics back and forth in Word with no apparent loss in quality. But when I copy the same graphic into PUBLISHER, it looks fine in normal view, but there is clearly a loss of quality in print preview and when I literally print it out. I don't understand why there is a difference. The images are always transferred as enhanced metafiles, and Word and Publisher are both from Office 2003. Is there an easy solution? Is there even a real problem? Is there a better program I can use in the first place that would be appropriate for professional publication?

Posted: June 8th, 2010, 3:59 am
by ahudson
What has happened is that somewhere along the line, it converted your file from vector to raster graphics. This probably happened when you went from Inkscape back to Word. It is impossible for vector graphics to have lower image quality; they're not defined by pixel, instead by node. So I think it's gone into .jpg, .bmp, or some other raster format.

Unfortunately Publisher 2003 doesn't .svg or any other standard vector formats, so there are two other things you could try if you want to use Publisher for layout. You could export each diagram as a high-quality .png image from Inkscape using File < Export Bitmap, and set it to 300 dpi or higher. The other option would be to use some other program to convert from .svg to a vector format that Publisher can deal with, like .emf or .wmf. I hear CorelDraw can do that, but it'd be a pain to do it if you had more than a couple images.

You really shouldn't draw origami diagrams in Microsoft Word. If I were you I would consider redrawing everything in Inkscape, Illustrator, or CorelDRAW; your diagrams will come out looking MUCH nicer, and you can fine-tune the style and layout to get exactly what you want. You'll have a hard time getting publishers to take you seriously if you stick with Word, it's not a standard image-creation format for a reason.

Posted: June 9th, 2010, 5:28 pm
by LeafPiece
Thanks for the advice. I thought it had been a vector graphic throughout the whole process. If I "paste special" in both Word and Publisher, I can tell that it is pasting as an enhanced metafile (and inkscape has the option to save as emf, so would I really need a converter?). The graphic looks fine in any view in MS Word, and in Publisher it is fine in normal view no matter how far I zoom, but if I go into print preview it appears pixelated (not in a fuzzy way like a raster graphic but in a distorted way).

I am beginning to wonder if there is just something wrong with the print preview? In the original post I said that even after printing there appeared to be something wrong, but I tried again with a couple changes, and the image I printed looked very crisp. If I knew everything would print okay it might not bother me, but I don't want to submit something for publication that doesn't look right on screen. It just makes me nervous...

I appreciate your advice on Word. Unfortunately, I started this a long time ago and didn't really know what I was doing. When I finally figured things out I was almost done, lol. Completely redrawing the diagrams is not an option, as I have about a dozen flower models at the intermediate level between 20 and 30 steps each, not to mention several leaf and bud diagrams. It would just take too long. However, if I copy each image into Inkscape I can tweak them a little from there. I need to copy to Inkscape anyway in order to fill color.

I might end up doing the high-quality png option. And if all else fails... I guess I can always self publish and ebook, haha.

Posted: June 9th, 2010, 9:49 pm
by ahudson
Oh, inkscape finally added .emf support? That's good to hear... I'm still on version 0.46, they must have added it since then.

Posted: June 13th, 2010, 11:20 pm
by LeafPiece
Yep, I guess I have .47 right now. Thanks again for your help!