SVG graphics in Microsoft Word

So you’re using Microsoft Word, and you’d like to take advantage of SVG graphics. SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics. They’ve got a really neat property. You know when you re-size graphics in Word, the graphics quality degrades as you enlarge them. Well, SVG graphics don’t degrade when enlarged (doesn’t apply to photo images 🙁 ). So how do you get these great graphics into MS Word? Well, you can’t import it or open it directly, Word doesn’t recognize any file with an SVG extension. The way around this is to use the clipboard. To do this, you’ll need to have an application that uses SVG formats. A great free application that uses SVG formats is Inkscape. Once you’ve drawn what you want, select the graphic and copy it to the clipboard by either right clicking on it and selecting copy, or by typing ctrl-c. Then open a MS Word Document and paste the graphic. It’s that easy. I’ve pasted an SVG graphic below so you can check it out by resizing the graphic for yourself in Microsoft Word.

Super Maco in Microsoft Word

11 thoughts on “SVG graphics in Microsoft Word

  1. Well, normally if I want to edit the document, and I’ve misplaced the original, I just copy it from the Word Document and then paste it back into Inkscape. I don’t know of anything that will let you interactively edit an SVG within Word.

  2. I tried your method for a logo that I made up, but the everything came out fuzzy/jagged. Any ideas on why this happened?

  3. Hi Chris,
    Not sure what happened with your logo. Did you save your SVG as a PNG ?, because that could cause jaggies. Also if you use the blur or transparent features in Inkscape, that could cause problems as well.

  4. Hi Ted,
    Could you give a little bit more detail how you copied the graphics?
    Did you download the example document, and it is still blurred?

  5. I downloaded the file and it accidentally opened in Word 2003. The scaling appeared to still work. No matter how much I stretched or zoomed, the edges looked good.

    Same when I opened it in 2010…

    So, I’m getting unexpectedly good results!

    This is on Win 8.

  6. This works perfectly.

    And, you can even edit the image after importing it.

    I was able to drag, resize, change colours, and change line and fill.

    The down side is that effects (blur, transparency, gradients) don’t work at all.

    Works fine for very simple images (icons, cartoons, etc.) though.

  7. I’ve been using this for saving California Secretary of State PDF forms as background images for Word documents. Just open up the PDF in Inkscape, save as SVG, then copy to the clipboard and paste into the header in Word. Works great. The Secretary of State seal doesn’t show up for some reason though.

  8. Hey Jim, sounds like you might need to do a little extra work to get the Secretary of State Seal. Have you tried using the “Trace Bitmap” function under the “Path” menu? It’s really good for monochrome logos or logos with multiple solid colors. Here’s a good tutorial on using Gimp for cleaning up the graphic, then using Inkscape to convert it to SVG:

  9. WORD 2010 does not support embedded SVG graphics. It only adds a placeholder icon for the graphic. If you publish the document in HTLM format online, you may get the graphic to appear in some form. If you want to include SVG graphics for an e-book, forget it. As usual Microsoft has missed the boat as far as adapting core technological breakthroughs.

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