Making Acrobat PDF File From Word Document with Visio Diagrams
A staple task in technical writing is
- Embedding diagrams made with Visio in Word documents.
- Publishing such a Word document as an Acrobat PDF file.
My preference for embedding Visio diagrams is to:
- In Visio, copy the diagram to the clipboard.
- In Word, paste it as Picture (Enhanced Metafile).
This choice provides a small impact on the Word document's file size while maintaining the high visual quality seen in Visio. As long as readers use Word, this approach is perfect.
It is the conversion of the Word file to PDF that is problematic.
Earlier versions of the software worked fine: the PDF file was a 100% accurate representation of the Word file.
With Office 2003 and Acrobat 7.0 things have changed. Some Visio diagrams are distorted in the PDF file. The text in the diagram is changed: its size is larger, its position is different (often a great distance from where it belongs, sometimes gone altogether).
The issues here are:
- quality of the images when viewed online and, secondarily, printed
- file size
- There is no perfect solution.
- When Word file size is no obstacle, the best quality is from Visio drawings pasted into Word documents as Visio Objects. This approach does not increase the file size of the PDF file.
- When Word file size is an obstacle, the best quality is from using SnagIt to capture the Visio drawing to the clipboard from which it is pasted into the Word document (with the regular Paste action).
- Both of these approaches benefit from avoiding having to create a separate image file for each Visio drawing placed in the Word document. As I prefer to put all drawings for a Word document in one Visio file, this saves me a lot of time.
If you use SnagIt to capture Visio drawings, you will want to take a few precautions to get the best image:
- In Visio, set the background so no grid lines, no connection points, and no guides are visible (turn these off with the View menu).
- Also in Visio, set Zoom to 100%.
- For diagrams that do not fit on the window at 100% zoom, you can set SnagIt for a scrolling region, then in Word use Picture Format to adjust the margins (probably trim the right and left sides).