WMF Format

Windows Metafiles (WMF) and Enhanced Metafiles (EMF) are the core display formats of the Windows operating system. They are also the native graphics formats for Microsoft Office applications. WMF is still in wide-use today across 16-bit and 32-bit Windows platforms. EMF is an enhanced 32-bit format update.

When you copy a drawing. Windows stores it as a metafile, the native Windows vector format. Metafiles render output on screen and send it to print. Most Windows applications read and write WMF and EMF. Metafiles are not used in XML, UNIX, CAD, Web and PostScript/PDF print environments.

What’s a Metafile?

Metafiles are formats that can store different types of data like vectors, bitmaps and text in one file. Examples of common metafile formats today are PDF, SVG, WMF and EMF. Because they contain all the information needed to display and print, they are a foundational component of operating systems. Windows uses WMF and EMF while the Mac uses PDF. They store this mix of information in memory or in files and then push it to the output devices.

Creating WMF

In Windows, you can right-click on a vector graphic and Select “Save As”. Three of the formats offered are vector formats – WMF, EMF and SVG.

Use pdf2picture to convert any PDF, EPS or Adobe Illustrator file to either WMF or 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.

WMF Support Notes

  • WMF is the 16-bit format. It has excellent application support at all levels within the 16-bit and 32-bit Microsoft Windows platforms
  • EMF is the enhanced 32-bit metafile format. It adds support for curves, cropping, and larger file sizes.
  • WMF and EMF both support vector graphics, raster images, text and fonts in one format.
  • Visual Integrity compensates for inherent Metafile limitations. For example, WMF does not support curves or cropping while PDF does. Our engine emulates these PDF features in the metafile output.
  • META FLY can convert both 16-bit WMF and 32-bit EMF to vector and image formats.
  • Of the two, WMF is the most reliable format if you don’t need EMF’s enhanced features.
  • Learn More from Wikipedia