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I have MS-Word 2003 and need to transform a .doc file into a pdf.

For this reason, I installed PDFCreator and tried to print to the virtual printer.

The pdf file is created, but observing the result I can notice an evident loss of quality in the figures contained in the document.

The most evident is in an image with has a greyscale gradient, which is transformed in two half: uniform grey where it is dark, and full white where it is lighter.

What is stranger is that the text is rendered perfectly.

What it could be? I thought I could fix it by twiddling some pdfcreator parameters, but I wasn't successful. Could it be a problem with ghostscript?

Does anybody have any suggestions to fix it? Or -- any other pdf virtual printer (free) which is known to work well?


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How was the image created? I think MS gradients (such as a rectangle filled with a gradient) will not be able to converted to pdf. – celenius Sep 2 '10 at 13:17
It was an image that was created by inkscape, exported as PNG or JPEG (don't remember exactly) and then imported into word. – fdierre Sep 5 '10 at 9:32
Which version of PDFCreator? Which version of Ghostscript behind PDFCreator (latest is v.8.71)? Does the image use some flavor of transparency on top of the grayscale gradient? (If so: Ghostscript cannot handle transparencies when the conversion goes .doc ==> .ps ==> .pdf). – Kurt Pfeifle Sep 6 '10 at 21:25
From your description, it sounds like the gradient was converted to a low-color image (such as 2, 4, or 16 color). I would check the default settings for the virtual printer especially ones pertaining to image downsampling and color management (if any). – horatio Jun 2 '11 at 14:02
possible duplicate of Free PDF printers produce ugly images? – Egghead99 Sep 11 '14 at 16:02

The problem lies probably in the fact that you didn't find out how to tweak the default settings of your version PDFCreator.

Bear in mind that your conversion path is a 2-stage process, going

 .doc  =>>  .ps  ==>  .pdf

The first step is done by a PostScript driver, the second one is done by Ghostscript. PDFCreator is just a frontend to this process. The conversion uses a .ppd (PostScript Printer Description) file file, which may or may not contain lots of bells and whistles to tweak output resolution of images.

You are free to exchange that PPD file. I do not know which one PDFCreator uses by default, and which default settings are enabled in that PPD. You also didn't tell which version of PDFCreator you used. BTW, the latest version of Ghostscript nowadays is v9.02 ...

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