18 June 2009

Import high quality, high resolution images and figures (charts) into Word

A few weeks ago, Chris Davis gave an excellent MMM on producing high quality tables and figures. Most journals ask you to provide the figures and tables as separate files. They have professional page-layout people that take care of this stuff. However, students creating a PhD thesis (or a Masters thesis for that matter) have to tackle this problem on their own.

So what's the problem? Well, by default, Word downsamples (compresses) images that you paste into your documents. It does this to keep the filesize of your .doc file as small as possible. This is because once upon a time people used 1.44 MB floppy disks to transport their files. Amazingly, there are still people alive that want to compress their images in Word (more than the default).

Thankfully, there is way to insert beautiful, crisp images into Word. Click on the Tools menu, and select Options. Once the Options box appears, click the General tab and then the Web options button. In the Web options box, click the Pictures tab. Change the Pixels per inch value from the default (72) to 300 (or whatever your requirements are).

A word of warning: After having set this value, do not assume that it will stay there. This value resets to 72 dpi unpredictably and without warning. My advice is to check this setting before inserting an imporant image or figure. Don't worry about it changing without you knowing. If it reverts to 72 dpi, when you insert an image it will look awful, which should make alarm bells ring.


FontQueenBee said...

Hi Mark: On Mac it's Word>Preferences, but this trick didn't work even after I restarted Word. Ugh. =)

FontQueenBee said...

Hi again: I was working with a vector Illustrator logo and found a solution!! If you open the vector logo in Photoshop and save it as a tif, it imports into Word looking beautiful - no rasterization at all. NOTE: Just exporting the vector logo as an Illustrator tif made the file 2x larger, so I used Photoshop to keep the file size down.

emiliabeth said...

Dude, you are a GENIUS and solved my problem 100%. Major time save - thanks so much!

Roman Smolkin said...

Thank you for sharing this, exactly what I needed to find. could not find that Word Option/Setting information anywhere, it was driving me nuts

shdesign said...

Finally found this in Word Mac :
Preferences> general > settings (on the right) "web options" you can then increase the dpi setting.

dan lane said...

i cannot get this to work on word mac even though i restarted the program