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Both PDF Creator and Bulldog PDF Printer produce terrible looking on-screen results with simple images in Word documents (haven't tried from other applications). By simple images, I mean GIF, JPEG or PNG representations of text and line art. For example, if I have a GIF version of the CE Mark in a Word document, it looks fine in Word but in the resulting PDF the lines are all jagged on-screen.

I've tried various settings in both PDF Creator and Bulldog. High quality, screen quality, etc. I've tried disabling image compression and whatnot.

The resultant PDF seems to print just fine, it's only when viewing in Acrobat Reader that the images look terrible.

Here's the kicker, when I use the Adobe PDF Printer that ships with Acrobat, and select "High Quality Print", the images in the resultant PDF look great on screen.

I know that both PDF Creator and Bulldog use Ghostscript behind the scenes. I'm not sure if this problem is just the way it is, or if there is some setting that can fix this problem for one or both applications.

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Which version of Word are you using? There is a free save as PDF Add-in for Office 2007. microsoft.com/downloads/… –  stukelly Aug 10 '09 at 21:33
    
Currently 2003. –  boden Aug 10 '09 at 21:46
    
I too used this open source PDFCreator, It modified my firefox's setting, the default search engine was changed to some " my.staticpage " It also installed a plugin called "protect webbrowser settings". Also the software is not at all good. The results are not even up to the mark. I finally uninstalled it. –  Gaurav Sharma Sep 6 '09 at 7:45
    
I have the same problem as you, but no real workaround. The quality of the images produced can sometimes be atrocious. –  alex Sep 21 '09 at 21:26
    
Update: I've found that the Word 2007 save as PDF feature produces good results. –  boden Sep 29 '09 at 15:17

6 Answers 6

Not sure about the image quality, but have you tried CutePDF Writer? It's always seemed to work pretty well for me when i didn't have Adobe tools handy.

Edit: changing the transparent CE.gif image to have a solid white background, then re-including it, helped immensely. I used Paint.NET to load the image, add a layer under the CE, fill with white, flatten, then re-save as CEsolid.gif. Insert that into Word and print with CutePDF helps.

Below is a screenshot of a PDF printed from Word with the transparent image next to the same image with a white background.

alt text

Also, if you dig through the CutePDF settings, you can set the graphic quality. On the Print dialog, click Properties, Paper/Quality tab, Advanced, then Graphic/Print Quality. Can set up to 4000dpi. Not sure how much that helps in this case, but FYI.

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Nope, same problem. –  boden Aug 10 '09 at 21:57
    
Rats. I just did the same thing (CE.gif) and got the jagged results you describe. Surely there's a way to force higher resolution rasterization. In the meantime, it doesn't solve the GIF problem, but FYI if you use the EPS version of CE, it comes out pretty nice. –  bill weaver Aug 11 '09 at 14:07
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Okay, the CE graphic is transparent. Try changing the background to solid white (or whatever color you need). Then insert it and print to PDF. It looks much better. Not perfect, but noticeably better. –  bill weaver Aug 11 '09 at 14:17

Try PrimoPDF, I've never had any problems with it.

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Nope, same problem as PDF Creator and others. I tried each quality option with roughly the same result. –  boden Aug 10 '09 at 21:52

Your problem is not related to PDF conversion but to image resolution. Word and the like process the image through an anti-aliasing filter before displaying it on the screen. It looks good in Word, although a bit blurry (if you zoom in). This antialiasing thing is a plague in nowadays software: it is meant to the screen, not to the paper you will print on. I suspect the Adobe pseudo-printer to blur stuff a bit when you "print" into it configured with best quality.

http://randomtonull.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/why-does-my-photos-andor-powerpoint-files-looks-ugly-when-printed-or-converted-to-pdf/

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Use XnView to save as a PDF file. XnView does not compress images, but "packing" in pdf format. Each program is based on Ghostscript spoils image quality. It does not help change the quality settings, eg in PDFCreator

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For PDFCreator, try image compression settings. Set it to ZIP over the default of JPEG as JPEG is a lossy format.

Options - Formats - PDF - Compression tab and change to ZIP

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Have you tried doPDF? I haven't tried it on just simple screen caps - but everything else I have passed it have turned out great. Including various web pages which would have similar low resolution graphics that can be problematic.

http://www.dopdf.com/

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Well, I have it a try and it produces better results, but still pretty ugly. Unfortunately the program doesn't offer much in the way of control, so I'm not sure if I can tweak it. Thanks for the suggestion! –  boden Aug 10 '09 at 21:45

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