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  1. #1
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    Gripe with pasting BitMaps and Screen Captures (Word XP)

    I have a complaint about a new "feature" of Microsoft Word XP that causes screen captures and other low to moderate resolution images pasted into Word to look fuzzy while editing the document. I frequently copy CAD-type drawings or scientific graphs from their parent applications to a notebook I keep in Word. I always first paste the "image" (actually object) into Paint Shop Pro to intentially discard the object information, then re-copy, and paste the raw image into Word. I use this method since the original objects are typically quite large, and I already keep the original file around, so I don't need to bloat my Word documents any more than usual with object info.

    Ever since we upgraded from Word 2000 to Word XP, I have noticed that when I paste an image from Paint Shop Pro into Word it looked sort of fuzzy, especially screen capture images. Looking into this, I found that you can choose Paste Special from the Edit menu when pasting an image and you will see 3 choices: Paste as Picture, Paste as Bitmap, or Paste as Device Independent Bitmap. Microsoft claims the "Picture" mode is better for high quality printers and results in smaller file sizes while Bitmap is an "exact reproduction" of the original image and takes up more disk space.

    Experimenting with the various Paste Special modes I found that the default action when pasting an image is to paste is as a "Picture". It appears that Microsoft is, in effect, turning the image into a JPEG-type image to fit the space available on the page. Converting pictures of people to JPEG images usually doesn't matter, since the picture still looks good. However, converting diagrams, plots, or screen captures to JPEG images is usually a bad idea, as straight lines become fuzzy, etc. The second downside of pasting an image as a "Picture" is that it ends up about 90% of the size of the original image -- again you lose some detail.

    Thus, it looks like the best solution for me is to use Paste Special and choose BitMap. I believe this is the behavior that versions of Word prior to XP would do, and it is more appropriate for diagrams and plots. I would suggest to the Word designers that they create a Smart Tag to appear when pasting images to give the choice of how to paste it, similar to the Smart Tag that appears when you paste text from a web page, allowing you to easily convert to raw, unformatted text.

    Interestingly, I pasted the same image into a document, first as a Picture, then secondly as a Bitmap, then printed out the document, and I could not see a difference. Still, when editing documents on the screen, the difference is quite apparent. The only downside is that when pasting an image as a BitMap it will take up slightly more disk space, especially if it is very large BitMap (several times the size of the screen). As a test, I pasted 5 copies of 630x475 pixel image into two documents, first as a "Picture" and secondly as a BitMap. The file sizes when saved to disk were 101 Kb for the "Picture" document and 123 Kb for the BitMap document. Thus, the BitMap document is 25% larger, which, in my opinion, is a small price to pay for better looking images.

    Because I got tired of always choosing Edit | Paste Special -- Bitmap for each picture, I wrote a simple two line macro to paste the image as a Bitmap, then bound the macro to a custom icon on my toolbar:
    '' Sub PasteAsBitmap()
    '' On Error Resume Next
    '' Selection.PasteSpecial Placement:=wdInLine, DataType:=wdPasteBitmap
    '' End Sub
    The On Error Resume Next was necessary in case the info on the clipboard is not a bitmap. The wdInLine was necessary to achieve the correct pasting behavior of inline rather than floating over text.

    Finally, now that I've completed by diatribe, I do have one question. Once I've pasted an image into Word (say a Screen capture, cropped to a reasonable size), I sometimes then want to export the image back out of Word and edit, again, typically with Paint Shop Pro. If I select the image in Word, choose copy, then Paste into Paint Shop Pro, I find that it has pasted a JPEG-esque representation of the image, adding random pixels in the solidly colored areas and decreasing the number of colors. The only workaround I have found is to take a Screen Capture of the Word document!! then paste into Paint Shop Pro and crop. Better alternatives? One clue as to what might be going on is that if you choose Edit | Paste Special after copying the bitmap in the Word Document, there are now a number of new choices, including Picture (GIF), Picture (PNG), and Picture (JPEG). Pasting (into Word) as a PNG or GIF looks good (sometimes, though I was getting some large black or white blocks sometimes), while pasting as a JPEG looks just like the picture that appears in Paint Shop Pro.

    Matt

  2. #2
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    Re: Gripe with pasting BitMaps and Screen Captures (Word XP)

    I would try pasting into Microsoft's Photo Editor as it seems to accept the bitmaps back out of Word at the same resolution that it went in with. Pasting into other bitmap editors gives me unsatisfactory results.

    The reason that the colour is changing is most likely that you are pasting the clipboard image into a 256 colour file rather than a 24bit file which you should have chosen. Try pasting as a new file - that should retain the correct colour depth.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

  3. #3
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    Re: Gripe with pasting BitMaps and Screen Captures (Word XP)

    I just tried this with Word 2000. My experience with pictures is that my experience never matches what someone else says. I took a document that started as 1150kb with two jpg pictures. I created bitmaps from the pictures, and replaced the originals with those, using the default method. That took the size to 780kb. I then cut the pictures and pasted them back as pictures - the file size went back to 1150kb. I reopened the file with the bitmaps, cut them and pasted them as bitmaps (and stretched them a bit). That reduced the size to 240kb. I reopened the file with the bitmaps, cut them and pasted them as independent bitmaps (and stretched them a bit). That reduced the size to 57kb (yes, two-digits).

    In the original file with the jpgs, the pictures in the document showed in black and white. When I edited the pictures, they were in colour, but when I closed them, they were still in black and white in the document. After I opened them and copied them to Photodrw, saved them as bmps and re-inserted them, they displayed in colour from then on. I originally was searching for some explanation of the photos not displaying in colour. Now I'm just documenting what I tested so I can find it next time. If someone wants to explain the loss of colour, I'm all eyes. I suspect that the person who sent me the original file, from a Mac, saw the images in colour.

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