Figures in Word and PowerPoint

Word figures are best created in PowerPoint and then inserted into Word documents.

  1. PowerPoint is a better drawing application than Word.
  2. Figures created in PowerPoint can be used in both PowerPoint presentations and Word documents.

The procedure is a follows:

  1. In Word insert a rectangle to measure how big the figure should be.
  2. In PowerPoint
    • Create the figure on a separate “slide”.
    • Create a rectangle with the same size as the rectangle you created in Word.
    • Draw your figure inside this rectangle (see below).
    • Delete the rectangle.
    • Group all shapes in the figure.
    • Copy the figure to the clipboard.
  3. In Word without a Caption
    • Use “Paste Special” to paste the figure into Word as a “Enhanced Metafile Picture”.
  4. In Word with a Caption
    • Create a “Text Box”
    • Use “Paste Special” to paste the figure into the textbox as a “Metafile Picture”.
    • Right click on the figure and select “Insert Caption”
  5. When Done
    • Remember to save both the Word document and the PowerPoint presentation. If you lose the PowerPoint presentation you will not be able to edit the figures anymore.

The “Paste Special” → “Enhanced Metafile Picture” method can also be used inside PowerPoint. When used in PowerPoint it can be used to create groups where font size and line widths scale correctly.

Saving Word Documents in PDF Format

Form Word 2007 and up documents can be saved directly to PDF format. This works quite well but in some situations it fails.

  1. Drawings with transparent elements
  2. Drawings with pictures that have rounded corners other masks.

So far the best solution I have found to workaround these problems is to save the Work document in XPS format and the print the XPS document to PDF using CutePDF.

Drawing in PowerPoint

The drawing tools in PowerPoint are much better then the drawing tools in Word, but they are still not difficult to used and hard to understand. Here is some tips that will help you draw in PowerPoint.

  1. Enable “Snap to Grid” - So that objects align.
  2. Disable “Snap to Objects” - It is less confusing when only snapping to the grid.
  3. Set the page size to be a multiply of the grid size. If the grid is 0,25cm set the page size to 30cm not to 29,1cm.