Enhanced metafiles

How hard is it to copy a diagram into a PowerPoint presentation in a reliable format?

Copy and paste is a pretty fundamental operation. When you copy and paste a file, the file that is created is a new file with no relationship to the file that was copied, apart from the fact that it is initially a copy. Any changes you make to the new copy are not applied to the original and vice versa.

But, for a reason that I cannot explain, Office messes with that simple model. Instead the default paste tries to embed the original file.

Why is this the default?

Is this really what most people expect to happen when they click paste?

I doubt it.

To get around this broken default you need to select the ‘Paste Special’ option. And then, God help you!

There are seven different options to choose from:

Enhanced metafile dialogue

I have a Computer Science degree and the only ones that make sense to me are the four that appear to map to different image formats (Bitmap, GIF, PNG, JPEG). Even then it’s not clear to me which of these formats would make the best choice.

What the hell is an ‘Enhanced Metafile’? Why would I choose a ‘Windows Metafile’ format when I could have the enhanced version? Should I prefer the Windows flavour of Metafiles or the Enhanced ones (how exactly are they enhanced)? And, while I’m at it, what is the sort order on this list?

The picture below is taken from a random Google image search.


I don’t know this women. But for arguments sake let’s call her Marjorie and think for a second what she would make of this dialogue.

When are those of us who build these tools going to start putting ourselves in the shoes of people that don’t speak C#?

5 thoughts on “Enhanced metafiles”

  1. This is exactly the reason I love my Mac. 90% of the time it Just Works(tm). I plug in my camera and it loads them into iPhoto. I have no idea what the file structure looks like or where it stores the photos as it has no relevance to what I am doing (viewing photos).

    I have to use a PC at work and I was trying something as simple as copying some cells from a spreadsheet and inserting them in PowerPoint. All I wanted to do was paste them as a table – standard word style table that I could format using all the normal text tools. I ended up copying the text to notepad and manually pasting the cells into PowerPoint.

    Now I also have the nightmare of doing my taxes in MYOB…God help my sanity over the next few weeks ;-)

  2. I found this at: http://www.pcreview.co.uk/forums/thread-1899038.php

    I quote from Steve Rindsberg who made a post in the forum:

    > If you’re copy/pasting bitmap graphics (ie, photos, scans, like that) you’re
    > generally better off not doing it at all (best to save to file then Insert,
    > Picture, From File to bring the file into PPT). If that’s a non-starter for
    > whatever reason, choose PNG or JPG for this type of graphics.
    > WMFs/EMFs are mostly useful for “vector” graphics. If you can ungroup it and
    > get at the individual shapes, text and stuff that makes it up, it’s a vector
    > graphic.
    > EMF and WMF are the same general idea but EMF is a bit newer and can do a
    > better job of representing curves and some text.
    > Generally try EMF first, if that fails, give WMF a try.
    > —————————————–
    > Steve Rindsberg, PPT MVP
    > PPT FAQ: http://www.pptfaq.com
    > PPTools: http://www.pptools.com
    > ================================================

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