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MathGroup Archive 2001

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Re: Transferring graphics from Mathematica to MS Word

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg30118] Re: Transferring graphics from Mathematica to MS Word
  • From: "Robert Wilson" <zrkwilson at>
  • Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2001 21:26:12 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <9jtk5b$87o$>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at


Mathematica uses vector graphics, but Word documents (.doc) use bit mapped
(.bmp) graphics. However, Word can also use Windows meta files (.wmf) which
uses vector graphics.

Bit mapped (.bmp, .doc) files store each point of a graph. For example, if
you graphed Plot[x^2,{x,0,3)] it would store it as  something like
{{0,0},{1,1},{2,4},{3,9}}, depending on the increment. If you zoom into the
graph in Word (.bmp, .doc) you get the wiggly line effect you described.

Vector mapped (.wmf, .pdf) files store an equation for the graph. For
example, if you graphed Plot[x^2,{x,0,3)] it would store it as  something
like {x^2,{x,0,3)}. If you zoom into the graph in Word (.wmf) you still get
a smooth curve since the equation is stored and not the points.

True type fonts are vector graphics, too.

hope this helps
rwilson3 at

"Dr J. Satherley" <js1 at> wrote in message
news:9jtk5b$87o$1 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> sub or supersripts or symbols that used the special Mathematica fonts,
> things as simply as "/", would not appear in some cases on the printed
> 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,
> 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.
> 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
> be taken to choose a font type that the windows system properly
> 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
> 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
> changes the quality of the printed graphics is still poor.
> In summary those who want to put Mathematica (v4) produced graphics into
> 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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