How to convert embedded to linked graphics in RTFs
(for compatibility with WinHelp and to minimize file size)

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There are many types of graphics supported by Word, and not all of them display accurately in WinHelp. Some resize dramatically, and others lose detail with a change in resolution, whilst some don't display at all in lower colour displays. To overcome this behaviour, a lowest common denominator policy (try-to-please-as-many-as-possible) is required.

As Citect requests that the user display their graphic pages at 256 colour resolution ( to support flashing colours), and as WinHelp supports optimised (whatever that means) 16-colour resolution (yet apparently can accurately display 256 colours), all graphics must be reduced to a maximum 256 colour resolution before they can be reliably and accurately displayed in Word, WinHelp, and Citect.

New graphics within topics must be created or captured at a maximum of 256 colours. The recommended method for inserting graphics in an RTF in Word is described in How to insert a link-only bitmap to an RTF. How to insert a link to a bitmap for display in WinHelp is described in WinHelp Bitmap Syntax. The topic How to insert graphics into RTFs explains why graphics should not be embedded into RTFs due to file sizes.

With existing RTFs, however, the waters are already dirtied. The remainder of this topic explains how to determine if a graphic is embedded or not within an RTF, and how to extract and convert it to a linked graphic if it is. The first step is to examine the RTF and try to determine whether a particular graphic is embedded or not.

Only after you've determined that a graphic is embedded ONLY in an RTF, and that there is no separate source bitmap file, should you need to extract an embedded graphic from an RTF.

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To determine whether a particular graphic in an RTF document is embedded or not:

  1. Open the RTF in Word, move to, then right-click select the graphic.
  2. The image is "Linked". The question becomes "Is it also embedded?" From the main menu, (and whilst the graphic is still highlighted) select Edit | Links.
  3. The Linked list test in step 2 was not definitive. The question remains "Is it also embedded?" Right-click on the graphic and select Edit Picture from the pop-up menu.
  4. The picture is "embedded" ONLY and definitely not linked.  A separate copy of the picture needs to (and may already) exist as a bitmap file. You will need to locate the source file if there is one, and provide a link to it in the RTF. See How to insert a link-only bitmap to an RTF. It should be located in the same directory folder as the RTF. Unfortunately, there has been inconsistent naming conventions used with previous help authors, so it could be named anything. If it doesn't exist, or you can't find it, you'll have to either extract it from the RTF or recreate it using Paint or PSP3 (not PSP6 - see How to properly capture a bitmap).


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To extract an embedded graphic from an RTF:

    Important Important

    The screen resolution MUST be set to 256 colours or less before this procedure is followed. See How to insert graphics into RTFs.

  1. Resize Word so that the all of the graphic is visible and ensure that Word has the focus (displays on top and titlebar is colourednot greyed)
  2. Press ALT + Print Screen to take the screengrab
  3. Open or swap to PSP3
  4. Paste the image by pressing CTRL + V
  5. Use the select tool (dashed box) and select the part of the image you want to extract.
  6. Copy the selection by pressing CTRL + C
  7. Paste the selection as a new image by pressing CTRL + V
  8. Save the new image as a RGB encoded bitmap by pressing F12
  9. Name the image appropriately and store it in the same folder as the RTF which will link to it.

The image needs to be linked so that it displays in the RTF. See How to insert graphics into RTFs.

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See Also

xyz Lotech Solutions' Tips, Tricks, and Procedures | Bitmap File Formats and Colour Resolution | How to insert graphics into RTFs

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