Word – Export word document with high resolution PNG to PDF

microsoft wordmicrosoft-word-2010microsoft-word-2013pdf

I have a nice high resolution PNG. (Download from Dropbox)
When I paste this into a new Word document, it looks good. I can't zoom in more than 500% but at that zoom level all lines are smooth, as expected.

Now I click File > Save as and select PDF from the Dropdown. From Tool > Compress Images (right next to the save button) I select "use document resolution". Then, I hit save.

Expected: The image in the PDF (viewed in Adobe Reader) should have a similar quality as the PNG.

Reality: The Image is much worse than the PNG. Maybe downsampled to 96ppi.


  • When I am in the save dialog and I go again to Tools > Compress Images, the selected option is reverted to "E-Mail (96 dpi)"
  • I tried the same thing on a diffewrent computer with Word 2013, but no luck.
  • I tried a different PDF viewer – same image quality
  • I tried to encode normal 96 ppi within the PNG and resize the image in word.
  • The option "do not compress images in file" is enabled. This option:
    (This option)
  • This is a reduced problem, so please don't suggest GIMP. My real file has some text in it. Until now I am just reluctant of redoing it all in LaTeX.
  • The problem gets worse, when the image is further reduced within word. This points to a resampling going on when the pdf is created.

Additional thing I have tried:

  • When I use "Printing (220ppi)" instead of "document resolution" there is no discernible difference. (After all I thought that "document resolution" means that no resampling takes place and the full resolution is used.)
  • Exporting to XPS format has the same characteristics.

Question: How can I preserve the image quality when exporting to PDF?

Best Answer

If you are using Windows 10 then you are lucky: you don’t need any third party PDF printer. Windows 10 comes with a PDF printer called Microsoft PDF Printer that you can make use of. I tried and it printed with decent resolution.

If running on Windows 8.1 or below, or requiring more functionality/better quality, JoelAZ’s answer is better. Just pay attention to where you download.