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Working with Web Page Screen Shots


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I am trying to incorporate screen shots of some web pages into a PDF document. I have tried to do this in two ways. The clarity of the screenshots in PDFs in both cases is quite poor. I would appreciate guidance on what I can do to improve the clarity of the screenshots in the PDF documents.

Here are the two methods I have tried:

Method I:

I transferred the screen shot of the web page created using the Print Screen function into Paint and saved the images in two formats GIF (96 dpi) and JPG (300 dpi). I then resized the GIF and JPG images to reduce the width down to 624 pixels needed in the PDF document.

The resulting GIF (higher) and JPG (lower) images are shown in the following images:

ScreenShot-test.gif

ScreenShot-test.jpg

I then took these images and copied them into Microsoft Publisher to generate the PDF document.

The PDF document is shown in PDF from Method I

Method II:

Here I skipped using Paint to generate the GIF and JPG images. I copied the screen shot directly into Publisher to generate the PDF document.

The PDF document generated by Method II is shown in PDF from Method II

I do not know if this matters ... this work is done on a laptop PC with 1600x900 display resolution.

In both methods, clarity of the screenshots deteriorates substantially when the PDF is generated in Microsoft Publisher. Is this normal?

I would appreciate guidance on what I can do to improve the clarity of the screenshots in the PDF documents.

Thanks much,

Judy

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The resulting image from your screenshot seems to be significantly smaller than it should appear on the website. Do you do any resizing after pasting it into paint.net?

No, Paint.NET is not spyware...but, installing it is an IQ test. ~BoltBait

Blend modes are like the filling in your sandwich. It's the filling that can change your experience of the sandwich. ~Ego Eram Reputo

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The resulting image from your screenshot seems to be significantly smaller than it should appear on the website. Do you do any resizing after pasting it into paint.net?

Yes. The screen shots were 950 px wide prior to pasting in paint.net. I resized them down to 624 px width to accomodate them inside the Publisher document.

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Oops, I missed that in the original post!

By resizing them, you have essentially decreased the resolution (more info here).

If it has to be 624px width because Publisher doesn't accept larger images, and it sounds like that is the case, you're out of luck. Your best bet may be to simply shrink the image after importing it to Publisher to increase dots per inch.

No, Paint.NET is not spyware...but, installing it is an IQ test. ~BoltBait

Blend modes are like the filling in your sandwich. It's the filling that can change your experience of the sandwich. ~Ego Eram Reputo

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Oops, I missed that in the original post!

By resizing them, you have essentially decreased the resolution (more info here).

If it has to be 624px width because Publisher doesn't accept larger images, and it sounds like that is the case, you're out of luck. Your best bet may be to simply shrink the image after importing it to Publisher to increase dots per inch.

Would it mean I would be better off using Method II then ... copy and paste the screen shot directly into Publisher without going through Paint.net ... and then resizing it in Publisher?

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I'm still testing something fully that came to mind, but I think you dont want to resize "this way" with either tool.

The website is fixed at 950 pixels. So you can adjust the DPI in a couple of places here to make your imports not need to be manipulated as much. There will still be a little bit of aliasing but thats the nature of the beast. This same aliasing is caused even if I zoom the page down in size in the browser. At least in Chrome, Firefox, and IE. So I dont think you're going to get much better with text embedded in an image without using Adobe tools. However this other approach shows a little difference in the output to PDF.

To shrink a 950 image to 6.5 inches for publisher, you would set the DPI to of the canvas before pasting to 146.2 DPI to cause it to fit at 6.5 inches when imported. Technically this isn't much different than letting publisher have its way with the images but it seems to help ever so slightly in my fast testing.

Image of new canvas dialog (height can be adjusted to whatever is needed or matches ...):

th_dpifornewcanvas.png

Also, save your shots as PNG. This is lossless format and will not lose information when imported into Publisher. You're doing enough pixel crunching without doing any more damage by gif or jpg. They really are not good for this sort of thing.

Exporting to PDF in Publisher: Commercial Printing option. It will flag your doc as having a problem: RGB color space. Once converted to CMYK plus spot in my testing, my PDF's actually shrank in size slightly without fidelity loss and images at 300+ DPI no longer had pronounced aliasing as seen with the High Quality Printing option. Especially if you are going to potentially exceed 150 DPI, you have to choose these options or it will mangled stuff.

This may help you work around the problem and get a slightly better result. I think I see a difference.

No matter what though, when you take a website screen-shot (combinations of images and text), then crunch it into an image, its going to lose some of the fidelity. Especially with the text. This is one area where Adobe is king as it tends to do things that it holds the patents for. I'm not anti-MS by any stretch. Just in the world of PDF's, we all have to seem to pay homage to Adobe ...

I hope that makes sense. Rather hectic day, but I was curious about the issue and thought I might be able to help find something of a solution. So far I'm not sure I've done more than show you a parlor trick to match DPI of a canvas to make resizing unneeded in Publisher for future needs. (Like headers, etc.) I've used that method specifically in Word docs to avoid some sizing issues, etc. Just wasn't sure what impact it may have in Publisher on image quality when compressed to PDF. So far I'm not sure its much different. But I do prefer to use PDN to cut up screen shots.

*Almost forgot: set you selection box tool to a fixed width of 950 pixels by whatever height works for the capture. I have to guess on the height you would want to grab as the site seems to vary a little.

Edited by delpart

***

Gallery at PDN-Fans

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another thought dawned on me ... would the end PDFs come out better if I use a screen capture software (like Snagit or ScreenHunter) to generate the screen shot instead of using the Print Screen button on the key board? Or would the use of screen capture software pretty much have no impact on the clarity of the PDFs? I would appreciate your thoughts and advice.

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If it has to be 624 pixels wide, you are best off reorganizing the pdf so you aren't stretching the image. There is nothing you can do to make a 624 pixel wide image look less blurry when stretched to 900 pixels

No, Paint.NET is not spyware...but, installing it is an IQ test. ~BoltBait

Blend modes are like the filling in your sandwich. It's the filling that can change your experience of the sandwich. ~Ego Eram Reputo

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If it has to be 624 pixels wide, you are best off reorganizing the pdf so you aren't stretching the image. There is nothing you can do to make a 624 pixel wide image look less blurry when stretched to 900 pixels

I am losing clarity when I resize down to 624 px from a larger width. From what you are saying, it appears my best bet is capture 624 px of the web page that is most relevant so that I do not have to resize the image when I put it into Publisher. Am I correct? If so, would Snagit and ScreenHunter enable me to do just that ... capture 624 px of the web page that is most relevant?

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As long as you don't try to stretch the image, yes that is correct. You can also take a screenshot and crop to a 624 pixel area in paint.net, but go ahead and use Snagit if you have it.

No, Paint.NET is not spyware...but, installing it is an IQ test. ~BoltBait

Blend modes are like the filling in your sandwich. It's the filling that can change your experience of the sandwich. ~Ego Eram Reputo

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