Convert WMF and EMF with Accuracy

metafly-400x400xMETA FLY is a fast and powerful metafile converter. With it, you can transform native Windows metafiles into useful formats for other applications.

Windows Metafiles (WMF) and Enhanced Metafiles (EMF) are the native Windows vector formats. Unfortunately, they don’t travel well. If you want to use them on the Web, UNIX, Linux, the Mac or in specialized applications, you’ll need to convert them. META FLY does that brilliantly!

Metafiles are everywhere

You see them on screen, in software programs as well as behind the scenes in the GDI display and print code that drives Windows application. When you copy a drawing to the clipboard from PowerPoint for example, it is stored as a Metafile. You can save or export metafiles in most Windows graphics applications. Both formats are used to save, exchange and publish drawings, diagrams, maps, charts, plots, forms and reports across the Windows platform. WMF and EMF are not broadly supported outside of the Windows environment. Web pages, for example cannot display metafiles. Other environments that lack support for viewing or authoring Metafiles are UNIX, CAD, XML and PS/PDF print production systems. They require their graphics to be in different formats. META FLY is the bridge between Windows and all of these other environments.

Use META FLY on your desktop to convert WMF and EMF to all industry-standard formats. Convert just one file as easily as multiple files or complete directories. Server versions and developer SDK versions are also available.


Features in META FLY

  • Convert one file or multiple files using the built in batch mode
  • Convert all pages or specify a page rage
  • Intelligent object recognition
  • Rotate to any degree
  • Concatenates characters to form editable words and lines of text
  • Option to ignore text, images or paths during conversion
  • Specify minimum line width
  • Vector graphics, raster images and font text strings supported in vector output formats
  • Options to choose resolution, color depth and compression for raster output formats
  • Separates layers in CAD drawing based on colors
  • Dashed/dotted lines as segments
  • Easy Windows “Wizard” interface selects files, set options and converts in 3 easy steps
  • Outputs industry standard vector output formats which are scaleable and editable at the text and object level including PDF, EPS, SVG, DXF, PS, HPGL, CGM, MIF
  • High-fidelity image formats for Web and Office including JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP and TIFF can be generated at ideal resolution settings for print or screen display
  • Options to map, reference, substitute or outline Type 1 and TrueType fonts to compensate for font mismatches between source and target systems
  • Batch tools (FLY Batch) and developer DLL available (FLY SDK). Linux and UNIX versions offer command line interface.
  • Output to raster image formats

Vector Formats:

  • SVG for XML and the Web
  • CGM for tech pubs and engineering
  • MIF for FrameMaker
  • EPS and PostScript
  • HPGL for CAD plotting and viewing
  • WMF for Microsoft Office
  • EMF for Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows printing

Raster Formats:

  • TIFF for imaging, archiving, faxing, printing
  • GIF, PNG and JPEG for the Web or office
  • BMP for Microsoft Windows applications
  • ASCII for index, search and processing

Text Formats:

  • ASCII text with placement
  • stripped ASCII text
  • ASCII preview (first few lines from file for summary)


  • Runs on Microsoft Windows (32-bit and 64-bit OS in 32-bit compatibility mode)

NOTE: Advantage Support is not available for META FLY.

Frequently Asked Questions about META FLY

If you can not easily find what you need in the FAQ, please contact us at


It’s easy to tell whether your PDF file is a raster or vector format by viewing it in Adobe Acrobat.  This is important since the two file types are converted differently. Vector PDF files are best transformed through data extraction. This is accurate and precise and involves minimal manual clean-up. Raster PDF files are traced since there is no data to extract. This is an approximation and requires operator involvement as well as manual clean-up. Visual Integrity is specialized in tools for vector conversion and will produce high-quality, accurate drawings from vector PDF input. If a raster PDF or scanned drawing is run through our software, we will turn the flat image into a tracing layer for manual work-up.

Test #1 – The Blue Test

Start by opening your PDF file with Acrobat or Acrobat Reader. Click anywhere on the drawing. If it turns blue, it’s a scanned drawing. Depending on the quality of the scan, you may have some success with a raster-to-vector tool. Alternatives are to manually redraw it or outsource it to be redrawn by a service bureau.

scanned drawing-unselected

A scanned drawing as it opens on-screen in Acrobat (It has not yet been selected).

scanned drawing - selected

Once you click anywhere on the scanned drawing, the entire drawing is selected and turns blue to signify this.


Test #2 – The Zoom Test

Open your PDF file with Acrobat or Acrobat Reader. Use the Magnifying Control to zoom in on a detailed section of the file. At 100-150%, it may be hard to tell the difference. Continue zooming until you are at a magnification greater than 400%.

When magnified, a scanned drawing will look jagged, noisy, blurry or dirty. If you are uncertain, magnify some more. The higher the resolution of the drawing, the more magnification it needs to degrade. Vector files will look perfect at any resolution.

When magnified, a scanned drawing will look jagged, noisy, blurry or dirty. If you are uncertain, magnify some more. The higher the resolution of the drawing, the more magnification it needs to degrade. Vector files will look perfect at any resolution.

2. Zoom

The section of the picture should be magnified on your screen and it should become apparent whether you have a vector or raster PDF file. The Vector PDF file will look clear and smooth at any resolution while the raster PDF will become dirtier and grainier the more it’s zoomed. In the example below, the section is enlarged 400%. Sometimes, it’s necessary to magnify the file more than 1000% when it’s a high-res scan to determine the file type.

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If you are using a desktop product, there is a Help file included with the software. Just click on the Help button found in the bottom right corner of the software dialog. A new screen will open, with a table of content for all the available topics. You can expand the outline to find the section on Conversion Options or search the index using the Find command. Depending on which product you are using, there will be General Options, Page Options, Size Options and Format Specific Options.

For Developers – In the “docs” directory of the Conversion SDK installation, each option is explained in “options flysdk.pdf”. In addition to the description, for each option, the corresponding API function is listed.

For example:

rotate(0) STDAPI VgRotate(INT rotate)

rotate(0)               Rotate the drawing using the angle specified. Default = 0, no rotation.


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Converting multiple files is also called batch mode and all of our products support it. To specify more than one file, use the “Add” button. Once you have specified your first files, you can remove files and add files until you have the batch of files together that you want to convert.

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WMF, or Windows Metafile, is the original 16-bit metafile format. It is the native vector graphics format for the Microsoft Windows platform. It is also the standard format for scalable graphics in Microsoft Office and many other Windows applications. Even though it has been enhanced and extended as a 32-bit format (EMF -Enhanced Metafile), WMF is still the most widely used and supported metafile format on the Windows platform.

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Several vector formats such as WMF, CGM, DXF and HPGL do not support cropping. This is the act of cutting away and discarding the unnecessary portions of the picture such as extraneous fills and other elements. PDF and PostScript, both very robust and complete formats, do support it. To bridge the gap, Visual Integrity has developed a proprietary method to simulate cropping. When applied during conversion, the resulting file will appear cropped just like the original.

To apply it, select the “Emulate PS/PDF cropping” feature in the General tab of the Options menu.

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The font glyphs of the 13 standard PostScript fonts are included.

If you need to convert to an image format or the text to curves/polys (= emulate) in a vector format either the font must be one of the 13 standard fonts or the font should be embedded within the PDF or PostScript file. Contact if you want to add font glyphs.

13 Standard PostScript fonts:

  • Courier (Regular, Oblique, Bold, Bold Oblique)
  • Helvetica (Regular, Oblique, Bold, Bold Oblique)
  • Times (Roman, Italic, Bold, Bold Italic)
  • Symbol

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← Faqs

Tutorial: Using META FLY

Launch META FLY and add the files to convert:



Choose Output Format - Vector or Image



Notice the Options button?

Often the defaults are perfect but if you find you need to tweak the settings, all options are covered below by mode (vector or image) . Once you are satisfied with the conversion settings, select "Next".

Conversion Summary


Convert the file! That’s it...

Review the summary and select "Convert"


The converted files will be in your file system, usually in the same folder as the original file. You can now open them in your application. At this point, you can choose New Conversion to perform more operations or Exit the application. If there are any warnings, check the Details button to review them. In almost all cases, these will be warnings about fonts which were in the original file but are not on your PC, meaning that a substitute font will be used. Errors are very rare and if you encounter one, please report it to us along with the file.


Both Vector & Image Mode: General Settings



Characters as Strings looks at your file and, based on placement and proximity, will combine individual characters into words and words into editable lines of text.

Characters as Curves will create a graphic match for the text ensuring a perfect match when fonts may be unknown or unavailable of the target system.

Rotate: You can also choose to rotate the file in either direction.

Scale Text: Enlarges or reduces the size of the text in the converted file.

Emulate PDF cropping: Several vector formats such as WMF, CGM, DXF and HPGL do not support cropping. This is the removal of unnecessary portions of the picture such as extraneous fills and other elements. Since PDF does support it, we have developed a proprietary method to simulate cropping which can be applied during conversion. Using this feature, the resulting file will look just like the original PDF.

Show Font Warning: If the same fonts defined in a PDF file are not installed on your computer, the converted drawing will not display properly. Font mapping is a way to ensure the closest match possible or to compensate for different font naming conventions on different systems.

Ignore paths, text images: Choose if you want to perform the conversion without certain elements.

PDF/PostScript Driver: By default, the native system metafile parser will be used for conversions. Changing this would be rare. If you want to output conversions to a PDF or PostScript driver, please contact us for support and background settings.


VECTOR MODE: Font Settings


Font Settings: If the characters are converting but not displaying properly, you likely have a font mapping issue. To comply with the licensing regulations of font suppliers, our software can not embed fonts in the vector output formats. Instead, we reference the fonts by their names. If the fonts on the target PC use the same name, the file will open and display perfectly. If the same fonts are not on the PC that opens the file, which is much more likely, the text will not display properly. To complicate things, often, one font may go by several different names. Arial Bold, for example, may be referenced as “EHJPKB+Arial-Bold” in the original file. This font may be normal Arial Bold but the target application does not know it unless you tell it. This is known as font mapping. If the font is not mapped correctly, the closest font will be substituted. In this example, “EHJPKB_Arial-Bold” must be mapped as “Arial” with font style “Bold”.



SVG Parser: Choose your SVG Parser. If you do not know, then it is probably the default Adobe SVG parser.

Scaling: Choose the size that you want the SVG files to be relative to the original.

Embed Raster Images: Normally, raster images are saved separately and are referenced by the SVG file. This option allows you to save the file with the images embedded.

Embed Fonts: In most formats, it is not possible to embed fonts because of license restrictions. It is permitted in SVG so you can always make sure you have an exact match in the file. Note this will make the file size larger so choose to do this carefully.

Kerning: If the kerning is not ideal upon conversion, you can try to select this option. If this does not product satisfactory results, please contact us and we will work with you optimize the kerning for your process.



Scaling Factor:  CAD formats do not define physical dimensions using absolute measurements from a ruler. Instead it uses units which the user defines. These units are lost when the PDF is created, but the scale, the xy relationship, remains. You can set a scaling factor to apply during the conversion to achieve the size drawing you want or you can set the correct units when you open it in a CAD program. By default, pdf2cad uses 1mm(0,03937 inch) in the PDF = 1 unit in the DXF.

Precision Factor: Sometimes pdf2cad delivers better precision and more accurate coordinates if you change this setting from 10.0 instead of 1.0. If this does not help, please send us the file to diagnose.

Paths as Polylines/Polygons: The proprietary object recognition engine will identify the relationship between paths and, if contiguous, will render them as polylines or polygons.

Layers: By default, all objects are placed on the same layer. They can be separated by color, line width, PDF layers, spot colors as well as a combination of color and line width.

Zero line width: Remove 3D effects

Fill option: Sometimes, white fills in a PDF file show up as black fills in a DXF file. If this is a problem, use this option to ignore white fills.

VECTOR MODE: Other Vector Format Settings


Level Target Application: CGM has many levels and profiles. For best results, you should choose the leel that best suits your application. Level 1 conforms to the original 1987 standard, Level 2 is fairly rare, Level 3 is very prevalent, based on the 1993 spec and is most used by technical writers and mechanical engineers, Level 4 is based on the 1999 standard.

Enable Metric Scaling: Scaling can be done using virtual device coordinates or metric. Choose here and add your coordinates if you choose VDC.

WMF/EMF Dither Images: Images can be dithered to a 256 color image

EMF Kerning: This setting controls the space between letters or characters. Normally, one should not need to worry about kerning but if you do want to change the character spacing you can do it with a kerning factor. Note that a display problem with kerning may be due to a font mismatch also which could be resolved through font mapping.


IMAGE MODE: Image Settings

See above for General Settings which are the same for Vector and Image Modes



Dots per Inch: Renders the image with a defined resolution in dots per inch. Some useful settings are 600 or 1200 dpi for offset printing, 300 dpi for high-quality office printing, 150 dpi for everyday office printing, 96 or 72 dpi for Web images.

Width or Height of Image: You can force the size based on target dimensions. In order to maintain aspect ratio (scale), you must enter a number in either width or height and pdf2picture will calculate the correct dimension to ensure perfect scaling.

Image Quality Factor: 100 will give the highest quality image. Lowering this number will decrease file size which may be desirable. A few tests to see the trade-off are recommended if file size is a constraint.

Color Model: Custom or Naive

CMYK: If selected, a CMYK version of JPEG files will be created.

GIF Transparency: Option to make background color (default is white) transparent for Web graphics.

“None of the illustration tools we have here can produce SVG to meet our standards, but your META FLY can. Works like a charm.”, Terry Reed, Xerox Corporation

The Xerox Corporation has been a customer since 1996 using PDF FLY and META FLY to convert WMF, EMF, PDF and PostScript to SVG.

Download our free Metafile Viewer

On Windows, many graphics and forms are stored and exchanged as Windows Metafiles (WMF) and Enhanced Metafiles (EMF). Often, you can not preview them unless you open them in a Windows application such as Word or PowerPoint.  One of the sample applications that we developed to demonstrate the power of our developer kit for Windows (FLY SDK), is a Metafile Viewer which we are making freely available as a handy utility.


You can download and use Metafile Viewer free!

Download Free WMF Viewer

The WMF Viewer installs on any Windows system supporting 32-bit operation and offers the following features:

  • Loads and views both 16-bit Windows Metafiles (.wmf) and 32-bit Enhanced Metafiles (.emf)
  • Support for vector graphics, raster images and text with fonts
  • Fast performance
  • Ability to view multiple files (tile, cascade)
  • Unlimited zooming capability for large, detailed drawings
  • Zoom box functionality
  • Scaling and alignment options
  • Print to Windows printers


Copyright (C) 1995-2016. Square One bv dba Visual Integrity. The Metafile Viewer is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation. This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details. This is the only product from Visual Integrity governed by the GNU GPL.