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Illustrator file format for Microsoft Word

Posted: Thu May 07, 2015 3:58 pm
by matt_lorenzi
I know the subject line alone should get me banned, but I don't think I'm alone.

In the technical writing world a lot is still done in Word - for better or worse.
It's a good option for collaborative writing, editing, feedback, outlining, etc.
I'm working on some manuals with a lot of line-art in the procedures.
And since what I am doing is likely not to get commercially printed, CMYK support and image resolution is not a huge deal.

Here is my question: What is the best way of setting up art-board and what is the best method for exporting to suitable file format?
Illustrator CC has an option called "Save for Microsoft Office". Does anyone use this option? I've tried it and works okay, but I'm not sure what the image gets cropped to. I thought it crops to any visible paths with a stroke colour. Problem is, any masked off objects also get included in the image.

I think a better solution would be to create an artboard to the exact size of my export, but in order to respect the artbord I have to chose File > Export > PNG.
If I chose this option at least I can check the Use Artboard box.

Anyone with good experience or best practices with this sort of thing? Thanks again.

Re: Illustrator file format for Microsoft Word

Posted: Thu May 07, 2015 4:47 pm
by MichaelH_in_PA
Just export the Illustrator file to a tiff at 300DPI and call it a day.

Word will also import CGMs. Illustrator 10, (if you can dig it out of all those aol cds you have in your bottom drawer) will output CGMs as well. But Adobe took out that functionality in more recent versions. Thanks Adobe.

Re: Illustrator file format for Microsoft Word

Posted: Fri May 08, 2015 2:11 pm
by matt_lorenzi
Another point. If you save to various formats using Export, Illustrator appends the file name with the name of the Artboard. So if only using one artboard, it will add _01 to your file name. Big pain in the ass - which I am not alone in feeling. Any known work-arounds other than manually changing your file name?

Re: Illustrator file format for Microsoft Word

Posted: Sat May 16, 2015 1:01 pm
by mattyr64
I have found that using the EPS file format tends to yield the best results for embedding any line art within MS Word.
I've done test prints using PNG, TIFF & WMF/EMF as well, but find that EPS seems to produce the nicest looking prints that respect the line weights.
This has the added advantage of being a proper vector format, so can be re-opened in Illustrator for amendments.
Any updates to the source file can be re-inserted into MS Word, or simply refreshed if the files are correctly linked.

Best of the rest I've found to be PNG or TIFF, I personally prefer PNG due to the smaller file sizes.
Be aware that MS Word does weird things with resolutions of raster images.
Check the image ppi/dpi in MS Word settings, and match up your illustrations appropriately.
I tend to use EPS across the board, to avoid any issues.

Re: Illustrator file format for Microsoft Word

Posted: Sat May 16, 2015 6:05 pm
by matt_lorenzi
Is it okay to use EPS in a Word doc? The images look really weird on screen, but perhaps they print out better.

Re: Illustrator file format for Microsoft Word

Posted: Sun May 17, 2015 9:06 am
by mattyr64
It definitely works perfectly in MS Word 2010 on PC, and in 2008 & 2011 on Mac.
I've not yet tested the latest PC version, but plan on installing it at some point next week.
I'll post back whether it works okay or not :D

Re: Illustrator file format for Microsoft Word

Posted: Sat May 23, 2015 12:29 am
by matt_lorenzi
The more I'm punting this idea around, the more I'm inclined to produce the technical manuals in Adobe Indesign.
I realize it's not the standard program for this sort of thing, but if there's no collaborative writing, and reviews will be PDF based, then I don't see why I need to stick with Word.

Re: Illustrator file format for Microsoft Word

Posted: Tue May 26, 2015 7:02 pm
by Neil Falconer
I work as a Technical illustrator producing work for Authors and Engineers.
I have found saving illustrations out from Ai files to png optimises files perfectly well for MS Word
Don't use the save for Microsoft Office option as there is no resolution choice.

Export Ai file as png and set the resolution at 450 ppi min, 600ppi if required.
If the documentation is bulky, png files will help keep your word files down in size.

Jpgs and illustrator files can bloat and grind Word files to a halt.

On a final note, I also save Illustrator files as EPS files. They are larger in size, but a lot of clients insist on having the eps files to open in their own programs.

I hope this works well for you.

Re: Illustrator file format for Microsoft Word

Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:24 pm
by matt_lorenzi

Thanks for pointing out about the settings in Word. Even though my PNGs were 300dpi, whenever I PDF'd my Word document my images looked less than sharp. And I used the highest quality PDF authoring setting.

I looked under Word Options > Advanced > Image Size and Quality and found the default was 220 ppi. So no matter what my input resolution was, or my output settings, the graphics were essentially 220 ppi to begin with. I selected: Do not compress images in file. This seems to have done the trick.

Bloody Word!

Re: Illustrator file format for Microsoft Word

Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 5:37 pm
by matt_lorenzi
I just tried an EPS and got an interesting result. While the resolution looks crisper, it looks like it dropped the shaded hatching I had. I think will stick to PNG for now and make sure I save as 300 dpi and not to down-sample when I convert to PDF.