Jul 10, 2013

Coping with objects and graphics to translate in Microsoft Office documents

About a year ago, I published a series of posts describing a simple way to get at the objects and graphics embedded in Microsoft Office documents, such as Microsoft Word DOCX documents or PowerPoint PPTX presentations. These investigations were inspired by a series of jobs where I had to cope with up to 60 embedded Excel tables in a Microsoft Word document. The four related posts are:
The post titles may differ a little from the text in the links here, which is updated for a little more clarity.

I've also added two short videos to my YouTube channel which illustrate how to remove embedded objects from a DOCX for translating separately from the Microsoft Word document and how to put them back afterward.

Here's how to extract the embeddings folder from the DOCX file:

And here is how to put the translated embedded objects into the DOCX file and refresh the view of the embedded objects in your translation:

These and other videos I've produced recently are part of an effort I began recently to develop integrated courses for self-instruction and review with software tools used by many of us. These courses use the Moodle platform and offer text, screenshots, audio, video and data files such as examples of file formats to translate, backups of memoQ practice projects to restore on your local computer for training, configuration resources for memoQ, useful macros to support work with many translation environment (CAT) tools and a host of other resources and learning links.


  1. Hello,

    just a tip to speed this process up. If you have 7zip installed (free open source file archiver) you do not need to rename the Documents to .zip in order to check the contents of the archive. Just right click the file and select 7zip->open and you will be able to browse the contents.
    You can drag and drop files or the entire media or embeddings folder from the 7zip window to your windows explorer window to get a copy. When you're done editing the files you can drag and drop them back to the respective folder in the 7zip window.
    7zip will ask if the files were to be copied to the archive (even though they will be overwritten if already exisiting) and after confirming you can close the 7zip window. The docx file will be updated with the contents.

    Best regards

  2. Interesting tip, Charo. I avoided advising the use of archiving software in the process, because most ways I tried the various packages when I developed these processes last year screwed up the compression and corrupted the files. However, this procedure and ones like it with other tools does work. I tried it with IZArc as well. The first time you open a DOCX or other MS Office 2007/2010 file with an archiving tool, you'll have to select the application from the "Open With..." dialog in the context menu (and avoid making it the default!!). After that it will always be offered as an option for opening that file type.

    However, IZArc isn't as friendly as 7zip - it doesn't support drag & drop, and anything added is put in from the top of the file path. So to put back the contents of the embeddings folder I had to add a folder named "word" which contained a folder named "embeddings" which had the translate objects in it. And the overwrites had to be confirmed, of course.


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