Vector Graphics in Microsoft Office

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Ever wanted to use nice sharp and scalable vector graphics in a document or a presentation, instead of huge bitmaps? Forced to use MS Office by your organisation but engaged to use free open source software for drawing? Here is one possible and easy way to do it!

The Inkscape way

Get your drawing in Inkscape

Inkscape is a free vector graphics editor with a lot of great features. It runs under Linux, Mac OS and Windows and there also portable versions if an installation is impossible on your computer.

First you need to get your drawing loaded in Inkscape. Inkscape´s file format is SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics). It is also able to read various file types, for example:

  • other vector graphic files
  • import PDF content
  • vectorize bitmaps
  • do your own drawing

There is a great source for free SVG graphics: The Open Clip Art Library

By the way, Inkscape is my favorite drawing program and a good replacement for Visio.

Export the drawing

Once pleased with what you see in Inkscape, just export it using the Save Copy function in the File menu. Choose the Enhanced Metafile (*.emf) filetype. Keep the original SVG file if you want to edit it later.

Be aware that EMF seems to have limitations with transperancy and color transitions. These might show up different than in the SVG file.

Use the EMF file

The EMF file can easily be added to Word documents or Power Point presentations like any other supported graphic file. I´m using this with MS Office 2003.