[R] WMF conversion...

Marc Schwartz marc_schwartz at me.com
Wed Feb 10 19:25:21 CET 2010

On Feb 10, 2010, at 11:48 AM, Jason Rupert wrote:

> Thank you very much for your reply. 
> I guess I may be using the wrong terminology.  I have Office 2007.  In PowerPoint 2007, I can navigate to "Save As" and then choose "PDF or XPS".
> That option is shown in the attached image.  When using that I tried both "Standard" and "Minimum" size.  Both produced the diagonal lines.  
> Also, I do not see Adobe Acrobat installed on my machine however I am investigating possibly getting that product. 
> Thank you again for the reply.  
> Jason 



I stand corrected. While it was not listed on the initial MS Powerpoint page that I referenced, which in fact reinforced the need for Acrobat, digging a little further on the XPS related links, I found the following:


which led me to:


So it would appear that MS does have some type of PDF/XPS export facility available as a separate download for Office. I was not aware of it.

Based upon what I found on the Adobe web site, the Acrobat based facilities have a wider variety of quality based configuration options vis-a-vis exporting PDFs. 

I am going to guess that the MS facility defaults to the two options referenced, each of which sacrifices quality to an extent in deference to keeping the resultant file size manageable. Thus, the two options likely utilize differing levels of compression, each of which are impacting your image quality.

I would give the Zamzar site a try as well to see what they deliver quality-wise. Turn around time may be the only issue with an online service.

Since Acrobat is not a cheap product another alternative would be to consider using OpenOffice.org's suite, which includes Impress as a Powerpoint-like application. OO.org has a PDF export facility built in and my recollection from years ago when I was on Windows is that the PDF quality was quite good with embedded WMF/EMF images from R. More information here:


There are also a variety of other Office to PDF conversion utilities available and if all you need is to export an Office document to PDF, they would also provide cheaper alternatives to Acrobat, which has much more extensive functionality. Try: 


One other alternative to consider is to use EPS images from R (see ?postscript) and import those into Office. If you have or can install a Postscript printer driver (you don't actually need to have a PS printer), you can print the PP slide set to a Postscript file and then convert that to a PDF file using a utility like ps2pdf, which is included with Ghostscript. More information here:


There is also an online version here:


If you really want to get your hands wet, the approach suggested by Frank using Sweave and the Beamer package is a good way to go, if you are open to learning LaTeX. That is what I tend to use when doing presentations involving R output of both formatted tables and plots.



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