Getting Rid of the Jaggies in WordArt

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 3, 2015)

Terry has noticed that when he uses WordArt to create signs for his business that the fonts are jagged and not clean and smooth. He wonders how he can fix this. Using WordArt to create signs opens up a whole world of possibilities for formatting text. You can create what appears to be a great sign on the screen, but when it is printed, the edges of the text appear jagged. There are many reasons why this might occur. Let's explore a few of them. First of all, you need to understand how WordArt works. WordArt allows you to use text as the basis for creating a graphic object that is placed within your document. While WordArt uses text, it isn't treated the same as text within the document itself. For example, let's say that you create a WordArt object that contains 36-point text. When you get out of WordArt, you can then—within Word—select the WordArt object you created and resize it using the handles that appear around the object. This resizing can be done using the same techniques that you use to resize other graphic objects. Let's say you resize the object to make it twice as large. Does this mean that you are now using 72-point text in the WordArt? No; it simply means you have stretched the 36-point text to appear larger. As this is done, you may end up seeing "jaggies" in the WordArt. This occurs in some versions of WordArt because the final WordArt object is treated as a bitmapped graphic, and bitmapped graphics are notoriously bad at scaling to larger sizes. The solution to the problem is two-fold. First, you need to make sure you are using the latest versions of WordArt. Older versions, as mentioned, render objects in a bitmapped format, while later versions don't. The second solution is to make sure that you set the size of the font within WordArt itself so that you don't have to resize the object created by WordArt. In other words, set 72-point type within WordArt instead of using a smaller point size and resizing outside of WordArt. The font you are using could also contribute to the problem. While discussing the intricacies of fonts is beyond the scope of this tip, the simple answer here is that some fonts do not render very well at certain sizes. You want to use TrueType rather than bitmapped fonts. Additionally, the size of the font could cause some distortion at larger or smaller sizes. For example, some fonts are designed to be used in smaller sizes. That font viewed at 12 points will look fine but when viewed at 72 points (even within WordArt itself) may appear jagged. Also keep in mind that some fonts are designed to have jagged edges as part of the look of the font. Changing the effects of text, in and out of WordArt, is easy and can create a great design. However, these changes can also produce some unintended results, possibly causing jaggies to appear. You'll only discover if this is part of you problem by testing out various WordArt effects. The next place to look is at your printer. If you are using the wrong printer driver, some documents will not print correctly, especially if the document contains graphics. Make sure you update to the latest printer driver by visiting the website for whichever company manufactured your printer. The amount of memory available in your printer can affect what it is able to print. Some printers are not capable of printing finely detailed text and graphics. You can also check the print settings on your printer. To save ink, speed up printing, and other reasons, the printer may be set to print at a low resolution. This can cause jaggies. You can also check the ink the printer is using. Deficient, defective, or poor-quality ink supplies are often the reason for poor-quality printouts. Additionally, the type of paper you are printing on can make a huge difference in how your document looks. Some types of paper are harder to print on, particularly cheaper paper and very thick paper.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8093) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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