[R] R: Including R plots in a Microsoft Word document

Gabor Grothendieck ggrothendieck at myway.com
Sat Feb 21 01:04:11 CET 2004

Perhaps some additional explanation is in order.  There are 
two basic classes of format:

- vector graphics such as windows metafile (wmf) and svg where 
the actual structure of the drawing is stored.    Editing these 
can be done with no loss of resolution and you can access  
the individual components of the plot, the titles, the points, 
etc. directly.

- bitmapped (also called raster) graphics such as jpg and png
where the drawing is stored as a sequence of pixels.  You can't
access the individual objects in a plot with raster graphics since
the image is just a set of pixels.  Resizing involves a loss of

Windows metafiles are the preferred format for Word.  They
are vector graphics, not raster, and they can be edited from
within Word directly -- you don't need another editing program.
This should be much easier than using bmp or jpg together with

You can either generate wmf files by right clicking the plot and
copying to the clipboard or using R code like this:


followed by   Insert | Picture | File   in Word.

In Paul's case he is generating his images in Linux, where I gather
Windows metafiles are not available, but in your case everything
is on Windows so you should not have that problem.

Date:   Sat, 21 Feb 2004 00:38:37 +0200 
From:   Mahmoud K. Okasha <m.okasha at palnet.com>
[ Add to Address Book | Block Address | Report as Spam ] 
To:   Paul Johnson <pauljohn at ku.edu>, <r-help at stat.math.ethz.ch> 
Subject:   Re: [R] R: Including R plots in a Microsoft Word document 


I first would like to thank all of you for your great ideas. However, I
agree with Paul particularly in that the answer is more complicated than
other people make it seem when you have many graphs. I am trying all the
ideas. It seems that all of them work but with some difficulties. I have
Windows 2000 and MS Office 200. It seems to me that the easiest way of
solving the problem is through saving the file in Bmp or Jpeg format and
edit it in a graphic program such as Photoshop then insert it in the file. I
will continue trying all methods to find the easiest.

Best regards

----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Johnson" <pauljohn at ku.edu>
To: <r-help at stat.math.ethz.ch>
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 9:47 PM
Subject: Re: [R] R: Including R plots in a Microsoft Word document

> I have wrestled with this problem a lot. I use Linux, coauthors use
> Windows, and the eps files I make from R don't work with MS Word. Well,
> the don't ever have "previews" and they sometimes won't print at all
> when I use CrossOver Office with MS Office 2000 in Linux. My coauthor
> says he can often wrestle my eps files into word on his system with
> Office 2003. People keep telling me to use gsview to insert the preview
> panes into eps files, and that does work, but more than one half of the
> time my system creates eps files that look significantly worse than the
> originals. Sometimes it inserts a blank page at the top of the eps or
> it reshapes a figure. I don't care enough about MS to try to track that
> down. It just pisses me off.
> As a result, I think the answer is more complicated than other people
> make it seem.
> I don't think it does any good to output a pdf file because, as I
> learned yesterday, MS Word users can't import a pdf file into a doc.
> Clearly, if you are an MS windows user of R, you can save graphics in
> the windows meta format (wmf) (or is it enhanced meta format, emf?).
> That will go more or less seamlessly into Word. If you have a chance to
> boot into Windows, and you really must make an image that works well
> with Word, then you should boot into Windows, run your R in there and
> make the wmf file.
> If you are a Linux/Unix user, and you are too proud to use Windows, the
> problem is much more difficult to deal with.
> If you are ABSOLUTELY SURE that your image does not need to be resized
> in any way, you could output from R into a picture type format, such as
> png. As long as the image does not need to resized in any way, that
> will be fine. If it is resized, then all bets are off.
> I find that the R output to the xfig format is quite good and I can edit
> files in xfig. You can edit those files, add text, so its very very
> handy. So right now I'm looking for a good bridge from xfig format to
> Word. But I just started investigating that.
> uaca at alumni.uv.es wrote:
> >On Fri, Feb 20, 2004 at 05:54:33PM +0200, Mahmoud K. Okasha wrote:
> >
> >
> >>Greetings List,
> >>
> >>I am conducting some large simulations using R. As a result, I get many
plots but I'm having some trouble with including some of them in a Microsoft
Word document. Can any one tell me the easiest method of having copies of
the R-graphs in the Word documents?
> >>
> >>
> >
> >R can produce at least PostScript, PDF, png, jpeg/jpg
> >
> >see:
> >
> > help(postscript)
> > help(pdf)
> > help(png)
> > help(jpeg)
> >
> >I don't use word, for me the PostScript format (more precisely
> >PostScript/.eps) is the best/more easy/powerful format if you don't have
thousands of
> >points or lines :-)
> >
> >por instance, to print a simple plot:
> >
> >postscript(file="somefile.eps");
> >
> >plot(whatever);
> >
> >dev.off(); <<---- Important
> >
> >other formats are similar
> >
> >regards
> >
> > Ulisses
> >
> >
> > Debian GNU/Linux: a dream come true
> >"Computers are useless. They can only give answers." Pablo
> >
> >Humans are slow, innaccurate, and brilliant.
> >Computers are fast, acurrate, and dumb.
> >Together they are unbeatable
> >
> >---> Visita http://www.valux.org/ para saber acerca de la <---
> >---> Asociación Valenciana de Usuarios de Linux <---
> >
> >______________________________________________
> >R-help at stat.math.ethz.ch mailing list
> >https://www.stat.math.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
> >PLEASE do read the posting guide!
> >
> >
> --
> Paul E. Johnson email: pauljohn at ku.edu
> Dept. of Political Science http://lark.cc.ku.edu/~pauljohn
> 1541 Lilac Lane, Rm 504
> University of Kansas Office: (785) 864-9086
> Lawrence, Kansas 66044-3177 FAX: (785) 864-5700
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