What is EMF File Format

emf file format

EMF stands for Enhanced Metafile. It was introduced by Microsoft in 1993 as an improved version of its Windows Metafile (extension WMF). It includes additional commands, and can be used as a graphics language for printer drivers. There is a compressed version of this file format named Compressed Windows Enhanced Metafile with file extension EMZ.

According to Microsoft website, a metafile is a collection of structures that store an image in a device independent format. EMF files can contain both vector graphics and bitmap components. This capacity brings portability between applications. However, EMF files need more processing time. Thus, Microsoft recommends the use of the bitmap format, when fast drawing is a priority.

Thus, an EMF file contains a collection of commands to draw objects, such as lines, polygons and text. In addition, there are commands to define the style of those objects. However, a metafile differs from vector graphics in that it can contain a mix of vector and raster files. For example, they can contain a command to display a bitmap image.

On the downside, an .EMF file has certain limitations. First, it doesn’t support embedded fonts. Thus, a special font included in the file won’t be displayed unless the system has it installed. Second, the commands don’t support the concepts of paragraph, wrapping, or multiple fonts per string. Third, only text can be rotated. Fourth, only solid lines can be drawn. And finally, an .EMF file doesn’t support gradient fill.

An EMF file can be opened with Microsoft Office Picture Manager, an app included in the Microsoft Office suite. Once opened, it can be converted to any image format with the File > Export command. In addition, an EMF file contained in a Microsoft Word document that is saved as HTML is automatically converted into .GIF file format. Browsers can not open an EMF file, but there is a browser plug-in for Netscape and Microsoft browsers that can display an EMF image on a webpage.

Microsoft reported several vulnerabilities in the EMF file format, but these are resolved with the installation of the Service Pack 2.

How to Open EMF Files


Microsoft Office

How to Recover Deleted EMF Files

Like any other file, .EMF files can be unintendedly deleted. Great news! Disk Drill, a data recovery app, can help you to recover EMF files. This program, is very easy to use, and is available for free!

Disk Drill
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Steps for Recovering EMF Files Successfully

EMF recovery by using Disk Drill involves a few easy steps. Just do the following:

  1. Download Disk Drill from any of the links above.

  2. Install Disk Drill by clicking on the installer’s icon. Disk Drill will guide you during the whole process. Just follow the given instructions.

  3. Open Disk Drill by clicking on the app’s icon. The program will automatically detect all connected digital devices and list them. Select the one that contains your .EMF file(s).

    Disk Drill supports a wide variety of digital devices, including internal and external hard drives, USB based drives, memory cards, and more.

    In addition, Disk Drill lets you work with image files. An image file is a bit-by-bit copy of a digital drive. Being a complete copy, it also contains all deletions and empty spaces. Thus, their use is a standard practice in Digital Forensics, as they allow you to keep the original source intact, while performing the analyses on the image copy. Image files can be attached to Disk Drill and scanned as any other digital device.

  4. Narrow the search by selecting .EMF file extension from the “Preferences” menu. In this manner, your search will be faster and more efficient.

  5. Scan the selected device. The operation can be cancelled or paused at any time. Also, you can save the working session and continue your EMF recovery later on, without any loss of the work already done. This option is very useful when working with devices of large sizes, as the scan can take several hours.

  6. Once the scan is completed, Disk Drill will present the results in a list. This list can be narrowed down by using the provided filters by size or date. If the program couldn’t find the original name of an .EMF file, it will assign a generic name to it, such as file0001.EMF.

  7. Select the .EMF file(s) you are interested in, and retrieve it (them) to a folder of your choice.

Your EMF file recovery is done!

recover deleted emf

Arthur Cole

Arthur Cole is a freelance content creator. He also has a more than 10-year experience in program development for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android.Arthur Cole is a writer with deep expertise in programming, who can easily...

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Approved by
Brett Johnson

This article has been approved by Brett Johnson, Data Recovery Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Brett has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and Network, 12 years of experience.