Re: Graphics Format

Subject: Re: Graphics Format
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 07:30:00 EST

At 09:25 AM 9/18/96 +1, you wrote:
>On Tue, 17 Sep 1996 Pam Bar-Haim <pbar-haim -at- CGATE -dot- NDC -dot- CO -dot- IL> wrote

>> Can anyone out there offer advice on choosing a graphics format?

>> We print mainly from Word for Windows, but also use Power Point,
>> Excel, and other Windows programs. We need a format that, while
>> minimizing file size, gives a high-quality printout using a
>> non-PostScript printer (as well as a PostScript printer). Some of
>> my colleagues have experimented with different formats and had
>> some success with .wmf format. Any comments or ideas will be
>> greatly appreciated!

There isn't a single answer to this question. The answer, as always with
technology, is "it depends."

Bitmaps are simple and robust and print nicely no matter what, but they
can't be enlarged without distortion. Bitmaps import into most apps, but
they're rather large and, as one poster already noted, it may be desirable
to incorporate by reference. Indeed, bitmaps vary considerably. BMPs are
straightforward, with a single definition, but TIFFs aren't like that. There
are several TIFF standards. And many older packages can't import JPEGs and
GIFs at all. Even newer apps can't import GIFs. Some apps, like WinHelp,
require bitmaps.

Vector formats (or descriptor formats) like WMF and EPS refresh slower on
most systems, but they resize easily and crisply. Further, they print
wonderfully. However, they require more sophisticated filters.

Our concerns at Simply Written tend to be future-oriented...if we need to
change how we're doing this thing in the future, how tough will it be? Will
the doc have to go cross-platform? Will it have to become PDF, HTML, SGML,
WinHelp? From that standpoint, BMP is a good choice. It's so stone simple
that any package can convert it. On the other hand, it's enormously limited.
Many people like TIFF or PCX because they handle colors decently and are
ubiquitous. But we've had trouble translating TIFFs and PCX is such an old
standard that you might as well go with BMP.

My advice would be to ask yourself what your future plans are, then pick two
or three types that seem to promise flexibility later, then test 'em
thoroughly. Don't skip the last step. It's actually the most important.

Tim Altom
Vice President, Simply Written, Inc.
317.899.5882 (voice) 317.899.5987 (fax)
FrameMaker support ForeHelp support
FrameMaker-to-HTML Conversions

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