Sunday, May 19, 2019

Letter pics taken by low-cost phone camera print OK directly on Laser Printer but get printed badly through Microsoft Word and generated PDF on Laser Printer; Scanned images in Word print well on Laser Printer

Today, 19th May 2019, was experimentation day for me to figure out how to solve my problem of pics of appreciation and experience letters which show OK on ebook but print with dark shadows on paperback book. See for those paperback book pics.

For experimentation, I thought I will explore print quality on laser printer as the (digital) printing of paperback book may behave in a similar but improved manner. I will know for sure only when I get a paperback book copy with those prints but I think it may be reasonable to presume that if the pics print OK on laser printer they will print OK or better on (digital) paperback book printer.

The pics below show first the low-cost smartphone (LYF) camera pics of two letters, which were made grayscale and whose DPI was increased to 300. One of the pics is slightly edited to hide a telephone number.

[To open pic in larger resolution, right-click on pic followed by open link (NOT image) in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]

The ebook has colour versions of these pics and they look somewhat similar on LCD monitor (as there is very little distinctly observable colour other than gray levels, in the letter). So for ebook display this is good enough.

The pics below are of the printouts of these image files on what seems to be a Canon PCL5e printer (as per printer option box). The pics were taken by the low-cost smartphone (LYF) camera under tubelights and so quality of pics may not be very good (in terms of sharpness of image including text in the image) but it is OK.

The above printout pics seem to be quite close to the image pics! This what I had expected in the paperback book! But the paperback book has very dark shadows on these pics.

Next step was to include these pics in a two page A5 sized Word document (I use Word 2007), use Print To PDF to create a PDF file and then print that PDF file on the same Canon Laser Printer as mentioned earlier. I did that and also used Save As PDF option to check that quality too.

The Word document can be viewed here on Google Drive:, and here are links to view PDF created by Print to PDF:, and PDF created by Save As PDF:

The pics below are of the printout of either Print to PDF or Save As PDF (both printed similarly and so it was difficult to distinguish from the printouts which is which). Pics are taken with LYF smartphone under tubelights.

The dark shadows are so much in above pics that one cannot even read the text of the letter! The paperback book pics' dark shadows make it look unpleasant but one can still read the text.

So the same pics that print well on Laser Printer when printed directly from some image viewer application (on Microsoft Windows), get horribly covered with dark shadows once they go into Word and then PDF (Print to PDF) and finally printed on Laser Printer. Note that the PDF document shows the images quite well. The Print to PDF quality is better than Save As PDF as the latter adds some dark shadows visible in the PDF on viewing on LCD monitor itself.

I think there is a good possibility that something goes wrong once the pics go into Word! Perhaps there is some compression that is done which does not impact display on LCD monitor but creates these horrible dark shadows when it is printed.

I tried to print the related 2 pages (page 105 and 106 in ebook) directly from the ebook PDF (Google Drive link: to the Canon Laser Printer using Grayscale option in printing so that the printer will automatically translate any colour to grayscale. The same images that look quite OK on pages 105 and 106 of the ebook, print horribly with dark shadows making the letter content undecipherable as shown below! Note the pages are printed in A5 size (or slightly lesser than that) on A4 page.

Now the Puttaparthi shopkeeper had told me that scanning the letters and using those images may solve the problem. He repeated that today on seeing these printouts. Of course, scanning would provide much better quality that low-cost smartphone camera. But would scanning be able to avoid the dark shadows problem that Word seems to introduce for these letter pics taken by camera?

He scanned the two letters (as colour by default). I think it was an HP scanner. I told him to scan at 300 DPI. The scanned images are given below (with one image being edited slightly to hide a telephone number).

The scanned images are beautiful! Clean and crisp! If you look closely one does see a speck or two but that's insignificant for my needs.

Next step was to make a two page Word document of A5 size (using Word 2007) having these two images. And then create a PDF of it using Print to PDF, and then print the PDF on the Canon Laser Printer (with grayscale option to convert colour to grayscale). As one of the images used in the document have a residence telephone number (which may map to somebody else now), I have not shared the documents on Google Drive.

The pics given below are of the two page printout with A5 size print (compressed to slightly lesser than A5 size) on A4 paper, with the pics being taken by low-cost smartphone under tubelights (poorer quality pics than in good natural light and so text appears less sharp than in the actual printout). The second page pic is slightly edited to hide a telephone number.

Some black dots get introduced in this printout of the images which are not visible in the Word document or PDF file (note that the scanned images are pretty clean). But that is minor stuff as compared to the horrible dark patches in earlier printouts mentioned above!

I seem to have got the solution to the dark shadows in these letter pics in paperback book. Just use scanned images of these letters instead of my low-cost camera pics.

To be on the safe side, I plan to scan these documents again as grayscale (and not colour) 300 DPI pics using the shopkeeper's scanner, and then use those grayscale 300 DPI pics in the Word paperback book document, and generate PDF from it using Print to PDF. I plan to test printing of these pages from this PDF file on the Canon Laser printer. If that comes out well, as I expect it to, then I will go ahead and submit the PDF file to, and order a paperback printed book copy. Hopefully that printed paperback book copy will print the letter pics decently.

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