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Preserve image quality when saving from Word to PDF

When you are saving a Word 2007 or 2010 file as a PDF, there is always a significant loss in image quality. Pictures look blurry, weathered or soft – quite simply unfit for a professional document. The objective of this site is to help your images look as good as possible when you’re saving from Word to PDF.

Compare the following images (click to expand):

z poor pngBefore        z pngAfter

The screenshot on the left shows a PDF that has been saved from Word at default settings. The one on the right shows a PDF saved at custom settings. Both screenshots have been taken using the same content, and at identical zoom and resolution settings. As you can see the one on the right looks much better. What’s more, we can make images in PDFs look even better when saving from Word!

How do you do it?
Step 1: Stop Word from compressing images
Step 2: Ensure maximum image quality while saving in Word
Step 3: Set Word's Acrobat settings to save images in high quality

Also check out:
Some products to make your life a lot easier


  1. Do you have any similar recommendations for Publisher conversion to PDF?

  2. hello, I could not follow the steps in MS 2007 ?

  3. This was a great and very detailed idea...certainly no one else came up with this, including CreateSpace. HOWEVER, it did not work for me apparently. It appears my images from my Word file STILL were compressed below 200 dpi when converting to PDF...or perhaps it's when uploading to CreateSpace...anyone?

  4. @Baharin very sorry for the late reply! Unfortunately I haven't tried this out in Word 2007. However, the steps should be fairly similar.

    @Paula Are you sure you saved your settings? This *could* be a CreateSpace issue however.

  5. I'm using Microsoft Word for a Mac and am having trouble finding these same tools (in the File dropdown menu, there isn't an 'Options' choice, for instance). Any advice?

  6. Can this procedure also be used to preserve image quality saving from a Word doc to a PNG file? Thanks for any answer.

  7. File → Save As → Save as Type: PDF; Tools → Compress Pictures... → (x) Print (220ppi)...

  8. Thank you so much! I have been struggling with my resume's photo, your explanations are spot on and did the job in a few mns!

  9. Thank you so much for these tips! Word was driving me crazy. You saved my professional graduate plan! Much love!

  10. Thanks. This blog saved my graduate research plan! Much Love


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Prevent Word from reducing image quality

By default MS Word attempts to compress images. To stop it from doing this, 1. Go to File > Options . 2. Click on Advanced . Relevant settings will appear in the Image Size and Quality area. 3. Uncheck Discard editing data , check Do not compress images in file and Set default target output to 220 ppi. 4. Click on the drop-down link bearing the name of the current document (New Microsoft Word Document (4) in the following screenshot). Select All New Documents (or leave at the current setting to apply for the open document only).   5. Click OK . Next stop: ensure that Word still isn’t compressing your images! Check out: my personal documentation software picks.

Stop Word from compressing images during save

Even after you have unchecked the Do not compress images in file option (see my previous post ), Word will still try to compress images during saving! To stop this from happening, do the following: 1. While saving your current file, instead of clicking Save (or pressing Ctrl+S), click on Save As (or press F12). 2. Once the Save As window appears, click on Tools . 3. From the Tools drop-down list click on Compress Pictures .   4a. Make sure Delete cropped areas of pictures is checked. Set the target output to Print (220 ppi) . 4b. For Word 2007 users only: the Automatically perform basic compression on save option will additionally appear. Make sure it’s unchecked. Unfortunately, you will have to uncheck this option every time you save a file! That is, unless you follow step 6 below. 4c. Click OK to save your updated image compression settings. 5. Exit the Save As window by pressing Save to save your document, or Cancel to exit without saving. If you have Acrobat Pro