Technical Writer, Production Support, Software Training

Creating PNGs from Illustrator

We all get this question as designers: “Can you provide us with a copy of the logo or masterhead design in a format that we can use in Microsoft Word”… or “PowerPoint”?

Illustrator CS, released back in 2003, introduced the Save for Microsoft Office command. (File menu), which converts your Illustrator artwork to a 150ppi Portable Network Graphic (.png).

File menu in Adobe Illustrator with arrow pointing at Save for Microsoft Office command.

Funnily enough this command is very often overlooked by designers. Yet it provides a pretty clean image result for use in Microsoft Office.

Logo artwork Illustrator (left) and with transparency displayed (right)

Illustrator artwork (left), and with Transparency view enabled (right).

Although the generated PNG graphic certainly works nicely with Microsoft Office applications, it does have some limitations:

  • especially for graphics containing smaller text or finer details, the detail can get lost a little.
  • the PNG file that is created does not contain any transparency.

Which is why I often use Illustrator’s File > Export command. This command can also convert your Illustrator artwork to a PNG file.

PNG Options dialog

It has an added bonus in that it provides you with the ability to retain background transparency and control image resolution. Increasing the resolution can result in better looking text once the graphic is inserted into your Microsoft Office application.

Left logo without transparency, right logo with transparency, displayed in Microsoft PowerPoint.

The graphic above shows you the comparison once the artwork is inserted into PowerPoint.

  • Left: the Save for Microsoft Office Result, which generates the white background
  • Right: the File > Export result, at a slightly higher resolution, displays a little crisper and retains transparency.

The advantage of using PNG over JPEG when generating graphics for use in Microsoft Office is that a) PNG supports transparency (JPEG does not), and b) PNG is more suited for graphics that contain a limited number of colours or text, such as logos.

Similar posts
  • CC Charts (Preview) CC Charts (Preview) is a technology preview of a new service Adobe is developing. It’s a great tool to use when working on infographics and charts. At this stage the CC Charts tool appears in Adobe Illustrator. Charts created with this tool are added to the Libraries panel and can thus be placed in other [...]
  • How to create a tint for a colour in Adobe Illustrat... How can I make a tint for a colour in Adobe Illustrator? It’s a question I’m asked regularly by Illustrator users. There are two issues with the default settings when defining new colour swatches in Illustrator: When you apply the default colour swatches in Illustrator to your artwork, the swatch colour is not associated with the [...]
  • Illustrator CC (2014): Rectangle tool and Transform ... On June 18, Adobe released #CCNext. One of the applications updated in this release is Adobe Illustrator. We’re up to version 18 now with the Illustrator CC (2014) release. Renewed Transform panel and live shapes The renewed Transform panel contains a Rectangle Properties section that is active when you have a rectangle or rounded rectangle shape selected in [...]
  • Illustrator: Patterned Gradient Stroke Effect Illustrator CS6 introduces the ability to apply a gradient to a stroke. This means we can now create tubular looking line effects, without the need to use more complex blending techniques. In addition, Illustrator CS6 provides strongly improved pattern controls. We can now create not only rectangular pattern tiles, but also hexagon shaped tiles, and [...]
  • Vertical Type from Illustrator to InDesign In my previous post I provided a solution for setting type vertically in InDesign. Illustrator in contrast to InDesign actually has a Vertical Type tool, and the close integration between the two applications means we can opt to set our type in Illustrator instead and bring it into InDesign as a [...]

5 Comments

  1. Me Me
    December 7, 2011    

    There is also the ‘Save for Web & Devices’ command which gives further controls to the output.

    • December 19, 2011    

      That’s true 🙂

      However that command I think always generates 72ppi graphics (?), which is why I really only use it when preparing web/device graphics 😉 Must admit I’ve not tested that that is still the case, but just assuming it is 😉

  2. Lena Lena
    July 29, 2011    

    Thanks for your help. This is exactly the information I needed – very clear too!

  3. June 16, 2011    

    @bluekdesign

    I’m going to have to disagree with you on using WMF and EMF as preferred formats for the purpose of recoloring and ungrouping to be honest.

    A graphic designer who’s paid for his/her expert designs would not like to see their artwork recolored or ungrouped.

    Especially when it concerns logos that are part of a company’s branding. Generally there are very strict rules on how they may be used, editing logos generally is a no-no.

  4. bluekdesign bluekdesign
    June 16, 2011    

    In many cases, exporting to WMF or EMF is preferable. These metafile formats can be scaled, recolored, and ungrouped within Office.

    Also, I prefer File > Export because it supports pasteboards. Save for Office does not.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *