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Transferring graphics from Mathematica to MS Word

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg30099] Transferring graphics from Mathematica to MS Word
  • From: "Dr J. Satherley" <js1 at>
  • Date: Sat, 28 Jul 2001 01:51:01 -0400 (EDT)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Dear Mathgroup

The above issue has been a problem for me since I began using Mathematica
version 3.0 in about 1996 and remained when I upgraded to version 4.0. The
central problem was that the graphics in Word would not print correctly even
if displayed correctly on the screen in Word. Fonts were the major problem
but also curves in plots instead of being smooth were thin wiggly lines.
Over the years there have been a number of postings to this forum related to
this topic but none ever solved this problem me.

Just recently I have successfully transferred perfectly my plots from
Mathematica to MS Word. It now shows up correctly both on the screen in Word
and from the printer. Since using Mathematica v4 graphics appeared correct on the
screen in Word provided that Export["file.wmf",graphics] was used or
(Display in version 3) but it did not print correctly. In particular text in
sub or supersripts or symbols that used the special Mathematica fonts, even
things as simply as "/", would not appear in some cases on the printed graph
from Word. I had always thought it was Mathematica that was the culprit;
that it perhaps did not correctly produce the Windows metafile format
(*.wmf). Consequently I had only fiddled the settings for text, framelabels
etc. to see if that made any difference but it never did. In my case it
turned out to be related to the font settings in my printer properties. I'm
using a HP Laserjet 5P (non-postscript) and I changed the font setting to
'Print TrueType as graphics'  and then it printed correctly. Care must still
be taken to choose a font type that the windows system properly recognises.
So it was neither Mathematica nor Word that were the problem. With this
success I feel more confident in relying on Mathematica as my graphing tool
when it comes to producings plots for reports and papers which need to be
produced in Word.

"Copy as metafile" and "Save as metafile" in the edit menu of Mathematica
produce graphics in Word that look Ok on the screen but even with the above
changes the quality of the printed graphics is still poor.

In summary those who want to put Mathematica (v4) produced graphics into MS
Word use the Export["file.wmf",graphics] function and then in Word use
'Insert picture'. Check the printer settings and in particular make sure
'Print Truetype as graphics' is set in the printer properties.

John Satherley
js1 at

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