EMF Format

Enhanced Metafile (EMF) is one of two metafile formats supported in Microsoft Windows. Metafiles are the native vector format for Microsoft Office and other Windows applications. They are also the core graphics display format of the Windows operating system.

WMF is a 16-bit version found in 16-bit and 32-bit Windows platforms. EMF is an enhanced 32-bit format update that supports the newer operating systems. When you copy a drawing to the Windows clipboard, it’s a metafile. Developers use metafiles to render output to the screen or send it to the printer. Most Windows applications read and write both WMF and EMF.

Although standard on Windows, metafiles are not supported in XML, UNIX, CAD, Web and PDF print.

WMF is a safe choice and supported in all graphical Windows applications. EMF offers more. It’s customizable, extendable and has any more features. But, these benefits also make it a riskier choice. The flexibility can introduce incompatibilities between EMF files and applications that support EMF.

Benefits of EMF include scaling, Bezier curves, cropping, color support and device independence. EMF also includes support for metadata which saves text descriptions with the file. Because developers can add functionality to the EMF specification, they risk creating format mismatches. This modification feature is what leads to incompatibilities between different types of EMF pictures.

Creating EMF

In Windows, right-click on a graphic and select “Save As”. Choose EMF.

Use pdf2picture to convert any PDF, EPS or Adobe Illustrator file to EMF. This can be done on a single file or in batch mode.

You can edit Metafiles with tools like Metafile Companion. To view Metafiles, download our free Metafile Viewer.

EMF Support Notes:

  • EMF is the enhanced 32-bit metafile format while WMF is the well-established 16-bit format.
  • WMF has excellent application support at all levels within the 16-bit and 32-bit Microsoft Windows platforms
  • EMF adds support for curves, cropping, and extremely large drawings
  • WMF and EMF both support vector graphics, raster images, text and fonts
  • Visual Integrity software overcomes the limitations of the metafile format by emulating missing features.
  • We offer options to convert from metafiles to other formats as well as from PDF to metafiles.
  • If you have a choice and do not need the advanced graphical features that EMF supports, using WMF as your input format is a safer choice.