Tips and Tricks

How do I include a table from Excel?

What is the best way to get a one page table from Excel into my book?  I’ve tried a few things, but everything looks terrible-<del>much worse than pictures</del>-in the book on the screen, in a home printed copy, and in a printed PDF file viewed on the screen.  I’ve even tried scanning a printed copy from Excel into a JPG file.  This file looks good in a JPG viewer, but terrible in the book.  I can’t even read the text in the table.  Is this because  BookSmartt compressing my file, and it super compresses this type of black and white image?  How can I be absolutely sure the page will look OK when I order my book?

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Posted by
bheithoff
Nov 18, 2007 2:05am PDT
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bheithoff
 

Same problem.  I need to publish a columnar list in a 13×11 book.  I am preparing to print a book full of experimental layout variations to see what does and does not work as the end product.

I am going to create MS Word doc that is a table, then print to .pdf, then convert to .jpg and then crop and chop.  I will insert the .jpg into the page and see how it prints.

Will post a "results" message here when completed.

Posted by
200mphmedia
Nov 18, 2007 7:20am PDT
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200mphmedia
 

SOLUTION:

Create the table in Excel.
Import the Excel file into MS Word (not sure if colors, etc. will transfer)
Select All, Copy
Go to a graphics program (I use Xara Xtreme Pro, PhotoShop should work too)
Paste the Selected as a Windows Metafile Format
Save the file with your added headings, backgrounds, setc.
Export as a 300dpi .jpg file.
Import the file into BookSmart and place it on a page.
Print the page to test the layout and resolution.

I just did this but skipped the Excel to Word part (shouldn’t make any difference) and the print was crystal clear.

FYI  Xara Xtreme Pro works absolutely magnificent in preparing pages, layouts, graphic effects, etc. for import into BookSmart as 300dpi .jpg files.

Posted by
200mphmedia
Nov 18, 2007 8:22am PDT
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200mphmedia
 

UPDATE

Formatted Excel spreadsheet can be copied and pasted as a wmf format directly into Xara.

When it gets into Xara, all the components of the spreadsheet are individually edited image items.  Select ALL again and Group to get it as a scalable and placable image.

Hope this does it for you.  It will work perfectly for my project.

Posted by
200mphmedia
Nov 18, 2007 8:36am PDT
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200mphmedia
 

Thanks for the tips and the update!

Posted by
bheithoff
Nov 18, 2007 8:03pm PDT
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bheithoff
 

For my limited set of software tools, the following seems to do the same for my purpose.  I copy the Excel table and paste to PowerPoint.  It remains scalable at this point.  Then save from PowerPoint as a 300 dpi JPG file.  This saves all pages of the PowerPoint to a folder of individual JPG files.  I think each page is saved at 2999×2249 pixels.  They still look terrible in my book on the screen (24" iMac) and are impossible to read when printed, but I trust it will be OK in the final book.

Posted by
bheithoff
Nov 19, 2007 12:26am PDT
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bheithoff
 

Hello bheithoff;

From my limited experience experimenting with importing PowerPoint files, the finished article WILL BE garbage!

Here’s another option for you…

If you have a "pdf maker" on-board, you’re much better-off exporting the Excel doc to pdf, and then exporting that to a JPEG file.

If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat, just Google "Free PDF maker" and you’ll get a range of options available…

Cheers;

Lee

Posted by
lkb-28
Nov 19, 2007 4:31am PDT
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lkb-28
 

Excel to pdf also works, but you cannot edit that for final little fixes nor tweak sizing, etc.  If you go Excel to Xara as wmf, you can edit every little section of the spreadsheet in Xara as graphic/text elements. 

Have not tried PP output, but will give it a try and report back on it.

Posted by
200mphmedia
Nov 19, 2007 5:44am PDT
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200mphmedia
 

I just exported PP to JPG and imported into BookSmart.  It was at the wrong resolution because you cannot "up" the resolution to 300 dpi.  BookSmart tagged the image with an alert.

However, taking the SAME image, importing into XARA, then exporting it back to JPG at 300 dpi produced a prefect result at the page size.  I worked in 13×11 format.

 

Posted by
200mphmedia
Nov 19, 2007 6:00am PDT
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200mphmedia
 

Please excuse my inexperience on this issue of importing tables from Excel.  I’m using the “drag and drop” method for a table that has been fully formatted in Excel.  I guess my first questions get down to a few basic ones about files in general.

First, can I assume that all “identical” JPG files, regardless of the generation method or history, will look the same in a finished book.  By “identical” I mean opening them in PhotoShop Elements, zooming in 400 or 800%, and they’re indistinguishable when looking at individual pixels.

Second, if a JPG file of 11 point original Excel text looks “good” on the screen in PhotoShop at 4x the physical size as in the finished book, will it also good when printed in a book?

Now for some specifics about recent tests I did to make files.  I pasted a table from Excel (5.97×9.3 inches) into PowerPoint (Office 2004 for Mac) and saved as JPG.  I have an Option button that allows me to save at many resolutions including 72 (initial default) 180, 300, 600, 1200, 1600 dpi with the following result in my files:
   72 dpi      52 KB file  720×540 pixels
   180 dpi  216 KB file  1800×1350 pixels
   300 dpi  448 KB file  2999×2499 pixels
   1200 and 1600 dpi files, surprisingly, were exactly the same as 300 dpi in file size and pixel count!  I don’t understand that.
When viewed in PhotoShop, the 72 dpi result was poor, 180 better, and all others were OK and the same.

I also saved a PDF file from Excel, opened it in PhotoShop (300 res) and then saved it as a JPG file (a method that in principle, I think,  Lee recommended).  The result was a bigger file of 768 KB with 3300×2550 pixels, but under close examination of pixels didn’t look much different than pasting directly into, and saving from, PowerPoint.  It seems like some extra border was added to bump up the pixel count.  Another surprise here was that I got an alert in BookSmart that the resolution was too low when I enlarged the image in a full bleed, even though it had a large pixel count!

Finally, I opened my "300 dpi" JPG file from PowerPoint in PhotoShop and increased the image size to 150 and 300 resolutions and resaved as JPG.  This did smooth the pixilated edges of the characters.  The file size at 300 res blew up to over 5 MB, however at 150 res it was about 1.5 MB.

Now going back to BookSmart (version 1.9 and 10×8 inches), all of these images were quite poor on the screen.  Only the 72 dpi file was noticeably worse.  Only by enlarging a full bleed image beyond the desired size could I sometimes get a screen that looked OK.  The files which were resized to 300 dpi in PhotoShop arguably looked better.  Printed pages from BookSmart continued to be bad.  I can only believe what others say, that I shouldn’t worry about this because it is a file compression issue

So, in conclusion, it seems that, for my software set, my best method is as follows:
   Format my table in Excel exactly as I want it.
   Copy cells holding the table and paste into PowerPoint.  Adjust size to fit the page if necessary.
   Save as a JPG, using the “Option” button to set 300 dpi.
   Open the saved file in PhotoShop and resize to at least 150 resolution to smooth the edges.  Resave the result as a JPG file.

200 mph, did you miss the option button to save as 300 dpi?

Lee, why do you think your PowerPoint JPG image was “garbage”?  Did you not save as 300 dpi?  Does the resizing (i.e., in PowerPoint) make the difference?

Posted by
bheithoff
Nov 19, 2007 5:08pm PDT
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bheithoff