Quick Fix: Incomplete images in Microsoft Word PDF exports

It's surprising when user manuals or documents exported to PDF from Microsoft Word have images that are cut off or incompletely displayed.

The PDF user manual for the Huawei Fit was exported from Microsoft Word 2013 and has two images that are cut off.

When a bitmap appears incomplete on a PDF export, it's not Word's fault but generally laziness of the writer or editor to review the PDF output. Word, by default, actually makes it difficult for users to place an image past the invisible page boundaries of a .docx workspace. Unlike Adobe InDesign or CorelDraw (and the retired Adobe PageMaker), image placement isn't WYSIWYG in Word, Adobe FrameMaker, Apple Pages, or LibreOffice Writer. Bitmaps are treated like text and follow the Rules of text.

Recent versions of Word give you plenty of options for adjusting alignment, but the application first and foremost understands bitmap images in relation to text. For the PDF user manual shown above, the issue was caused by applying the same hanging indents of the text to the screen shot of the smart watch screen. The problem is recreated in the following dummy screen shot.

The FreeNAS screen capture will appear beyond the page border once the Word file is exported to PDF. This is because the indent for the Note admonition was applied to the screenshot. 

Indents and positioning for images should always be taken into consideration if the final document is to be exported to PDF.

A corrected indent for the bitmap corrects the PDF output.

In some cases, the same problem occurs for code blocks irregularly indented in Word. The alignment may look correct in the .docx file but the end of the code line extends past the PDF page. Editors and writers should always review the PDF regardless of what application they use to publish the final PDF output.


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