Understanding Microsoft EMF Format for ClipArt


Microsoft’s EMF format has some great benefits and some drawbacks that you should be aware of.

Video Script

Hey this is Bryan Jones from eLearningArt.  Today I wanted to show you a little bit about what the EMF format is and some of the benefits and drawbacks to it.  So let’s go ahead and get right into it.  So this slide you’ll see here, let me open it up in PowerPoint.

First of all, EMF is Microsoft’s scalable vector format, and you’ll see this is a PNG on the left and this is an EMF.  And a PNG, whatever I it out as is great, but once I scale it beyond that size, you start to see a fuzziness.  But when you have an EMF format, and I scaled it up really big, and you don’t get that same fuzziness.

So those EMF’s become scalable right within Microsoft, so you don’t have to go into another source file to deal with a vector file, you can do it right within Microsoft.  Couple of the other advantages, when you have clipart – and I have lessons on how to do all of these individual things.

But basically starting with simple icons, you can actually ungroup them, and then recolor some of the objects.  So it gives you more customization than if you just had a PNG that was a single – a single file.  Same thing.  You can ungroup it and add, you know, some sort of effects like, you know, making the phone ring like that, or, you know, animation builds.

And again I have more lessons on this.  Here I’ve taken the original files and modified them, so I was able to make it go from the – the chart going up to the chart going down, or changing the time on the clock, or taking two pieces of clipart and adding them to create something – something new.

So the EMF format isn’t perfect.  So a PNG you’re going to get – you’re going to get exactly what the – the vector format had for you.  So you’ll see sometimes an EMF, where this should have been a straight line, you get a little bit of degradation.  For most of what you’re doing in an eLearning course, or a PowerPoint presentation, it’s so small – I mean, that building is now really huge.

You’d really be dealing with it, you know, maybe that at – at the biggest, zoom in there, and it’s almost not noticeable.  So I think the drawbacks really aren’t there.  If you wanted to have that – that really high quality where you go back into the – the main file format, save it out as a PNG.

But it’s a trade-off.  You lose some of the flexibility with – with the PNG.  The re-coloring you can also go back and do in – in a source file, if you have access to those source files.  But the – the other thing you can do is – so I created this with just the shape here in another lesson, you can back and take a look at it.

But I – I basically, let’s show you really quickly.  Where’s the…?  Hold on one second.  All right, so I’m back here.  So anyways, I created this bike by tracing over an image, then I turned it black and – and grouped it and saved it out as an EMF.

And, you know, let me show you that again, just when you’re saving that EMF.  So, you know, you can right click on anything that you create.  Go save as picture, and what you’ll see here, defaulting to the PNG.  But there is two options for you here, and they’re both clipart styles.

Microsoft Meta File, that’s the old vector format, you should really save it out as an Enhanced Windows Metafile, that’s a – that’s an EMF.  And then you can – you can name it and save it somewhere.  But anyways, EMFs are great to work with, there’s a lot of advantages, it’s scalable, it’s editable, and you can re-color it.

So I hope that helped answer some questions about the – the EMF format and how it works in Microsoft.  That EMF you may not be able to insert into another – a third party program, but you can always what you want within PowerPoint and then save it out as a PNG.

So you could, let’s say, recolor an icon, save it as a PNG and then insert it into another eLearning program, or tool, or – or graphic design program.  Thanks so much.  I have a whole bunch of lessons on – on dealing with clipart, and icons.  So you can visit eLearningArt.com for more of those, or visit my YouTube page where you can see a lot more of these screen casts.

Have a great day.  Thanks.

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