Fuzzy screenshots in PDF output from Word import

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Fuzzy screenshots in PDF output from Word import

Postby ChoccieMuffin on Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:26 am

I'm sure someone will have an easy solution to my problem (she says, hopefully).

For some of my documents the content creators create their stuff as a Word document, including screenshots. The Word docs are imported and processed with a series of scripts and the PDFs are generated without me doing anything to the Flare project. The problem is, in the final PDFs the screenshots are fuzzy. They're fine if you zoom in (a lot!) or do a printout but most people look at the PDFs onscreen, so do any of you stars have a suggestion for how to deal with this?

Thanks in anticipation
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Re: Fuzzy screenshots in PDF output from Word import

Postby GerardFalla on Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:36 am

Sounds like an explicitly-set DPI in the actual placed images - if so, maybe a CSS fix would be best, rather than checking all images inline.
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Re: Fuzzy screenshots in PDF output from Word import

Postby ChoccieMuffin on Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:54 am

GerardFalla wrote:Sounds like an explicitly-set DPI in the actual placed images - if so, maybe a CSS fix would be best, rather than checking all images inline.


Not sure I quite understand what you mean. The content creators just create screen grabs, plonk them into their Word document, mess about resizing (no alternative really, as a lot of the screenshots don't fit the space allowed without being resized), the doc is imported into Flare, Flare generates a PDF. I can't see what CSS fixes I could do, as when the Word doc comes into Flare it comes in with specific inline dimensions. The screenshots aren't a uniform size so I can't just do a search and replace or strip out the inline formatting, as otherwise we'd end up with them not fitting in the document.
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Re: Fuzzy screenshots in PDF output from Word import

Postby ChoccieMuffin on Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:11 am

Any further suggestions for how to deal with this one? The content writers retake their screenshots and resize them in Word so they fit nicely, and the screenshots do need to be resized as they wouldn't fit on the page otherwise.

Suggestions gratefully received.
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Re: Fuzzy screenshots in PDF output from Word import

Postby GerardFalla on Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:13 pm

OK, so I've just tested to make sure I'm not full of hooey here: when you screencap something, the method by which you screencap it directly impacts the resolution with which the image is saved. This data is stored within its metadata: looks like sceencaps are typically 96 ppi on windows 10.

That data is coded into the image file itself. When you scale in Word, that adds a percent changed to that info, and when that Word file is being parsed into Flare, the image is stripped back out and saved in the appropriate Resources directory.

If you examine that image file directly, you can inspect and/or edit the resolution there, should you need to. This is independent from how it is scaled in Flare, which can be in hard pixels or in percentage vs original.

If there's a significant disparity between these values, Flare and its PDFing engine are having to interpolate to get the final image written in the PDF - which may contribute to when you get this strange effect.

I would suggest you might want to look at the image file's metadata, and see what the resolution is listed as being, and the actual pixel dimensions of same, and wherever possible, try to set it for the correct size & resolution for the output you're regarding as primary.

I would also look at your PDF options tab under your PDF target, to be sure you're not additionally compressing already lower res data there too.

Flare PDF target Options 2018-02-06_15-09-00.png


Hope this helps
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Re: Fuzzy screenshots in PDF output from Word import

Postby ChoccieMuffin on Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:49 am

Hi Gerard

Thanks for getting back to me and sorry for being late in my thanks, I was off work last week.

I've taken on board your points. It would seem that some of the screenshots are fuzzy even when opening them in an editor (I use SnagIt) so the problem lies before I get my stickies on those ones. There are others that are scaled quite a lot, so I'm going to have to come up with some idiot-proof instructions for the people writing the Word docs to make sure things don't get too bent out of shape.

GerardFalla wrote:OK, so I've just tested to make sure I'm not full of hooey here: when you screencap something, the method by which you screencap it directly impacts the resolution with which the image is saved. This data is stored within its metadata: looks like sceencaps are typically 96 ppi on windows 10.

That data is coded into the image file itself. When you scale in Word, that adds a percent changed to that info, and when that Word file is being parsed into Flare, the image is stripped back out and saved in the appropriate Resources directory.

If you examine that image file directly, you can inspect and/or edit the resolution there, should you need to. This is independent from how it is scaled in Flare, which can be in hard pixels or in percentage vs original.

If there's a significant disparity between these values, Flare and its PDFing engine are having to interpolate to get the final image written in the PDF - which may contribute to when you get this strange effect.

I would suggest you might want to look at the image file's metadata, and see what the resolution is listed as being, and the actual pixel dimensions of same, and wherever possible, try to set it for the correct size & resolution for the output you're regarding as primary.

I would also look at your PDF options tab under your PDF target, to be sure you're not additionally compressing already lower res data there too.

Hope this helps
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Re: Fuzzy screenshots in PDF output from Word import

Postby Psider on Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:33 pm

Do the images come in to Flare as jpg? I've noticed when saving Word docs as html, the jpgs are super crunchy. If I go into the options and set 'allow png images' then the png images are nice and sharp. (It's also a funny setting, as it used to be on all the time, but now it's off and I can't get it to stick.)

In Word: File > Save As. After picking the directory, select Save as Type: Web Page (or web page filtered). Click the Tools dropdown and select Web Options. Tick Allow PNG as a graphics format.

If they're coming in as jpg, maybe there's a way to force Flare to use the png conversion rather than jpg. Or if not, submit a feature request.
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Re: Fuzzy screenshots in PDF output from Word import

Postby ChoccieMuffin on Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:21 am

Yes, they're all png when they come in. But that info might be useful for others having the same problem, so thanks for posting.
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Re: Fuzzy screenshots in PDF output from Word import

Postby GerardFalla on Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:13 am

For myself, I've set a policy in which when my contributors or SME's are generating content, though they are free to place the images into a Word file (or RTF or PDF or whatever format they choose) for inline context, they must provide source images in a folder on an accessible network share for them to make it into the docs.

I've far less interest in automated inclusion of content from SMEs than I have in quality control; for folks whose content stream volume is high this probably wouldn't work.
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Re: Fuzzy screenshots in PDF output from Word import

Postby ChoccieMuffin on Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:43 am

Cheers, Gerard. When you import a Word doc which contains images, the images are pulled out and plonked in the Content Explorer in the Resources\Images folder, so that's not a big problem. Thing is, for this set of documents I don't actually touch stuff in Flare, so there wouldn't be any point in enforcing that policy. For docs that I DO manipulate in Flare, I'm the one taking the screenshots so I don't have the same problem.
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Re: Fuzzy screenshots in PDF output from Word import

Postby Psider on Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:23 pm

What if images are left at the original size in the Word doc, even if they don't fit in the space. Then use a max-width value for images in the Flare stylesheet? Or processed in your scripts to use thumbnails (not sure how this is done in Flare as I'm not using it right now)? Does that give a better result?
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Re: Fuzzy screenshots in PDF output from Word import

Postby ChoccieMuffin on Thu Feb 15, 2018 2:36 am

Unfortunately not. We have stupid page sizes (Landscape and I'm not allowed to change the page sizes) and a lot of the screenshots are pretty big and portrait, so original sizes for screenshots just won't fit on the page. (But my complaint about having to stick with a stupid page size is for a different discussion, and not with you lovely people!) But thanks for the suggestion. :-)
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Re: Fuzzy screenshots in PDF output from Word import

Postby Psider on Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:54 am

Oh yeah. I work with online exclusively, so I forget about the whole fixed page size thing. duh!
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