Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a file full of equations (inline and not), written in Microsoft Word 2007 and saved as a "Word Document" (.docx).

I want to convert them all to images.

So far, the only way that I have is to save the .docx file as a .doc file (Word 97-2003 Document). This works up to a point, but the images for the formulas are too low-resolution.

Any ideas?

share|improve this question
why not print screen and crop the image / print as pdf ? – ilansch Feb 21 '13 at 21:48

Try saving the document as HTML. The images will appear in PNG format in a folder next to the output file called (DocumentName)_Files. From my tests the quality looks much better than when converting to DOC and is not blurred.

share|improve this answer
Bravo! Much less work than my answer, and it gives you a separate file for each equation, which could come in handy. This certainly makes one wonder: if Microsoft Word can do this for Save as HTML, why can’t it do as good a job for Save as .doc? – Scott Feb 27 '13 at 18:49
you are right, the quality is better. Not better enought, but better =P Thanks – josinalvo Feb 27 '13 at 19:26
@Scott, yes that is a mystery indeed :) – Adam Feb 27 '13 at 23:32

I have an answer.  (a) It is a kludge.  (b) It will be tedious, if you have a lot of equations, unless you can automate it.  (c) It might not work if any of the equations is more than about 4 inches wide.

  • Go through the document, select every equation, and change its font size to double (or larger, if you want, or smaller, if you have to).  If you have inline equations that break across lines because of this, add line breaks to avoid it.  If you have equations that are more than 3¾ inches wide (7½ ÷ 2), set the left and right indents for that paragraph negative.  If you have equations that are more than 4¼ inches wide (8½ ÷ 2), put the document into landscape mode, or set a custom paper size.  It’s OK to scale different equations by different scale factors, but just keep track of the factor for each equation.
  • Save the .docx as a .doc.
  • Go through the document, select every equation image, and change its size to half (or, in general, the inverse of the factor by which you enlarged it).  You may find inline equations appear sunken:The area of a circle...If so, select them, go to the “Font” dialog box, “Character Spacing” tab, and adjust the “Position” until it’s right.  (Start by multiplying it by the same reduction factor that you used for the image; e.g., half.)  Undo any damage that you did to the document; e.g., extra line breaks, negative margins, undesired page orientation and/or size.

In this example, I created a standard equation in my default Normal font, which is 11 pt.  Then I made a copy of it (for illustration) and changed it to 22 pt.  Then I saved as a .doc, made a copy of the second image (the larger one), and scaled it back down to 50%.

enter image description here enter image description here

It seems to me that the third image in the .doc is less blurry than the first one.  Presumably it would get even better if you could use more extreme magnification/reduction ratios.

share|improve this answer
the idea is useful. as it turns out, there is an add-in that can help me automate that: It works with some files, but not others, though =( – josinalvo Feb 27 '13 at 19:31
in the end, that was the answer. Instead of increasing all equations by hand, I increased the whole text, saved as doc, than decreased the whole text (minus the equations, that had already become images) – josinalvo Mar 7 '13 at 5:43

Your options are nicely summarized here. The best option is the add-in, but unfortunately it isn't free. There is a trial period though. Perhaps there are similar free add-ins available.

You could also try following these steps to export as a TIFF, then open in MS Paint and save as a PNG. Unfortunately this only works for formulas in a document by themselves, and involves editing.

share|improve this answer
unfortunately, this add-in is not working for me. I already tried it in 2 computers, with word 2007 and 2010, and neither time did it work – josinalvo Feb 27 '13 at 15:44
I was just searching for add-ins and the Office download site has almost none. Developers just don't like Office (Do Office developers even like Office?). Are you using XP? If so you need to upgrade to Microsoft .Net framework v2.0 for the Kutools to work. – Matt Feb 27 '13 at 15:54
I installed .Net 4.0, and it works now. The tool for converting equations to images is not very good, but now there is a way: I can select all images (with kutools), resize them, save to .doc, then reduce the size of all images (again, with kutools) Unfortunately, kutools refuses to work with my file (maybe it is too big ? Maybe because it has stiles ?) But thanks, it was useful – josinalvo Feb 27 '13 at 19:30
Glad I could be of some help. Odd that such a simple task is not built into Word. You should also considering accepting an answer, to distinguish which method worked best. I'm others would be interested to know. – Matt Feb 28 '13 at 10:18

Along the lines of Adam's response: If you format the equations to the right size and appearance in Word and then save as .pdf, you can use Edit -> Take a snapshot in Acrobat to get images of the equations.

It doesn't put the equations into separate files but this was a quick solution for me when I needed white equations on a black background.

share|improve this answer

I know this is an old thread, but there's an easier way and the resolution is better... copy your equation, and then do a Paste Special... when the Paste Special box comes up, select Picture...

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .