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Placing word documents with embedded metafiles

May 16, 2013 2:34 PM

Tags: #word #path #eps #clipping #math #formulas #metafile




I have a Word document with Windows Metafile embedded pictures (with .EPS extensions). The pictures are math formulas, and I am not sure what tool they were created with.


I open the document with Word 2010. I tried saving the document in both doc and docx format before placing in InDesign. But with ether format the following issue persists.


The embedded metafile images look fine in Word, however after placing them in InDesign, the individual elements and clipping paths inside the embedded metafile images change their relative to each other positions, so the formulas start looking very wrong – individual symbols collide and/or get clipped.


Why is this happening? Is there a way to work around this issue?


I am on Windows 7 and InDesign CS 6.0.



Thank you

  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 16, 2013 7:00 PM   in reply to TObject

    try saving word doc as a PDF--then place PDF into InDesign

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    May 17, 2013 5:56 PM   in reply to TObject

    It sounds like you have a MathType document. MrMathType from (Design Science) posts here. But you might want to pop over to their web site and see if there are any faqs or support documents that may help you:

 !target=inde sign


    Failing that, try sending him a PM:


    Take care, Mike

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    May 20, 2013 7:10 AM   in reply to TObject

    I've been laying low for several reasons, but mainly because you've already emailed our tech support folks. I'm in a different office across the country from them though, and wouldn't mind looking at one of the documents that's giving you problems. Can you attach it here or upload it to a Dropbox or other cloud folder?




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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 20, 2013 12:34 PM   in reply to TObject

    Thanks. I've looked at the document (on both Windows and Mac OS), and see the same problems you see. However, I believe your initial assessment was correct, that the objects have become corrupted somewhere along the way. I've also discussed this with Derrick, one of our Support Engineers, and we agree that unfortunately the only recourse is to create new versions of each of these equations, and replace the old ones in the document. The article you linked to explains why, but for the benefit of others who may be following this thread, there are several things that could cause this. The article points to Word's AutoSave feature as one cause, though there are others. Word has never done a real great job of handling huge numbers of "objects" of any type, and if you had a lot of embedded charts in your document, we may be having the same discussion, but with a different type of corrupted objects. That's not to just shrug my shoulders and say "hey, it's not our fault", but this is one area where we do all we can do and sometimes it's not enough. I believe Microsoft has a great product, and I believe we do too. Just like we appreciate hearing when our products don't perform as desired, so does Microsoft. There's a feedback link in the article you linked above. Report this to MS if you want, but the report may not be very effectual since it deals with a 10 year-old version of Word.

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    May 20, 2013 12:54 PM   in reply to TObject

    Try this:


    1) Select All

    2) Open a New Word Document

    3) Edit/Paste Special/Picture (Enhanced Metafile)

    4) Save


    Then Place it in ID. See how it works.

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    May 20, 2013 1:25 PM   in reply to Ellis home

    I was able to get the equations to render identically to the Word preview by


    1) resave file as .docx

    2) rename file extension from .docx to .zip

    3) unzip and extract

    4) open .wmf files in Illustrator CS4


    So it's not Adobe per se:

    But the way Adobe reads WMF metafiles, they get messed up.

    but InDesign's Word filter that reads the embedded WMFs incorrectly. I am unsurprised by this - there are many circumstances where InDesign's Word filter causes ruination of embedded graphics.


    I can envision a tedious process where you resave all of the embedded WMFs as AI files, remove all of the equations from the source Word file, place that file in ID, and then re-place all of the equations as inline anchored objects.  Perhaps MrMathType will be able to come up with a process that is not as labor intensive as the manual-dismantling-and-reconstruction process? When I look at the guts of the extracted WMF files in NotePad++, I certainly see the word "MathType" in there, so MrMathType might be able to figure something out. But my gut feeling is that success here would be dependent on the degree to which Word has scrambled the equations in the first place.

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    May 21, 2013 1:04 PM   in reply to TObject

    Thanks for the update. I was able to follow the process and it worked perfectly. Too bad they're not editable by MathType.


    @Joel, I also saw the word "MathType" in the WMF, but Word still sees it as an image. Looking into the document.xml file in the unzipped docx, there's nothing there that would indicate this equation or any others in the document can be repaired. There are times when that can be done, and I've done it, but not in this case.

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    May 21, 2013 2:13 PM   in reply to TObject

    Right. FYI, here's what the first equation looked like to me in AI CS6 Win:


    At least Omega came through unscathed. ;-)

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    May 21, 2013 2:24 PM   in reply to TObject

    When I dropped the WMF files directly into Illustrator, all I had to do was clear unnecessary tracking, and they looked fine:



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