I have a complaint about a new "feature" of Microsoft Word XP that causes screen captures and other low to moderate
resolution images pasted into Word to look fuzzy while editing the document. I frequently copy CAD-type drawings or
scientific graphs from their parent applications to a notebook I keep in Word. I always first paste the "image" (actually
object) into Paint Shop Pro to intentially discard the object information, then re-copy, and paste the raw image into Word.
I use this method since the original objects are typically quite large, and I already keep the original file around, so I
don't need to bloat my Word documents any more than usual with object info.
Ever since we upgraded from Word 2000
to Word XP, I have noticed that when I paste an image from Paint Shop Pro into Word it looked sort of fuzzy, especially
screen capture images. Looking into this, I found that you can choose Paste Special from the Edit menu when pasting an image
and you will see 3 choices: Paste as Picture, Paste as Bitmap, or Paste as Device Independent Bitmap. Microsoft claims the
"Picture" mode is better for high quality printers and results in smaller file sizes while Bitmap is an "exact reproduction"
of the original image and takes up more disk space.
Experimenting with the various Paste Special modes I found
that the default action when pasting an image is to paste is as a "Picture". It appears that Microsoft is, in effect,
turning the image into a JPEG-type image to fit the space available on the page. Converting pictures of people to JPEG
images usually doesn't matter, since the picture still looks good. However, converting diagrams, plots, or screen captures
to JPEG images is usually a bad idea, as straight lines become fuzzy, etc. The second downside of pasting an image as a
"Picture" is that it ends up about 90% of the size of the original image -- again you lose some detail.
looks like the best solution for me is to use Paste Special and choose BitMap. I believe this is the behavior that versions
of Word prior to XP would do, and it is more appropriate for diagrams and plots. I would suggest to the Word designers that
they create a Smart Tag to appear when pasting images to give the choice of how to paste it, similar to the Smart Tag that
appears when you paste text from a web page, allowing you to easily convert to raw, unformatted text.
Interestingly, I pasted the same image into a document, first as a Picture, then secondly as a Bitmap, then printed out the
document, and I could not see a difference. Still, when editing documents on the screen, the difference is quite apparent.
The only downside is that when pasting an image as a BitMap it will take up slightly more disk space, especially if it is
very large BitMap (several times the size of the screen). As a test, I pasted 5 copies of 630x475 pixel image into two
documents, first as a "Picture" and secondly as a BitMap. The file sizes when saved to disk were 101 Kb for the "Picture"
document and 123 Kb for the BitMap document. Thus, the BitMap document is 25% larger, which, in my opinion, is a small price
to pay for better looking images.
Because I got tired of always choosing Edit | Paste Special -- Bitmap for each
picture, I wrote a simple two line macro to paste the image as a Bitmap, then bound the macro to a custom icon on my
'' Sub PasteAsBitmap()
'' On Error Resume Next
'' Selection.PasteSpecial Placement:=wdInLine, DataType:=wdPasteBitmap
'' End Sub
The On Error Resume Next was necessary in case the info on the clipboard is not a bitmap. The wdInLine was necessary to
achieve the correct pasting behavior of inline rather than floating over text.
Finally, now that I've completed by
diatribe, I do have one question. Once I've pasted an image into Word (say a Screen capture, cropped to a reasonable size),
I sometimes then want to export the image back out of Word and edit, again, typically with Paint Shop Pro. If I select the
image in Word, choose copy, then Paste into Paint Shop Pro, I find that it has pasted a JPEG-esque representation of the
image, adding random pixels in the solidly colored areas and decreasing the number of colors. The only workaround I have
found is to take a Screen Capture of the Word document!! then paste into Paint Shop Pro and crop. Better alternatives? One
clue as to what might be going on is that if you choose Edit | Paste Special after copying the bitmap in the Word Document,
there are now a number of new choices, including Picture (GIF), Picture (PNG), and Picture (JPEG). Pasting (into Word) as a
PNG or GIF looks good (sometimes, though I was getting some large black or white blocks sometimes), while pasting as a JPEG
looks just like the picture that appears in Paint Shop Pro.