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Re: st: Graph export: "Could not initialize metafile"

From   Alan Riley <>
Subject   Re: st: Graph export: "Could not initialize metafile"
Date   Wed, 21 Apr 2010 16:53:36 -0500

Dorothy Bridges ( reports that a colleague is
seeing an error when they try to export a graph as an EMF file:
> My .do file includes a command along the lines of: "graph export
> mygraph.emf".  The file runs fine on my computer and on the computers
> of at least two of my colleagues.  On a third colleague's computer,
> however, we get the error message "could not initialize metafile."
> This guy has the same version of Stata and the same version of Windows
> as the rest of us.  He is able to export to .wmf without trouble.  Any
> ideas?

There are two cases in which Stata will report this error message
when trying to export an EMF file:

   1) There is no default printer driver installed on the Windows system,
      or the default printer driver has a bug or is refusing to load.

   2) Windows refused to initialize the EMF file.  This is very
      unlikely and would likely only arise in the event of a corrupt
      version of Windows.  We have never seen an instance of a user
      encountering this.

#1 is the most likely reason.  Applications must create EMF files
with respect to some device on the Windows system so that things
like fonts and text and line spacing can be calculated with respect
to a standard resolution.  Stata and most other applications which
support EMF files use the default printer as the reference device.

Dorothy's colleague should ensure they have a default printer driver
installed, even if a printer is not connected to their computer.
If they already have such a printer driver installed, and are still
receiving this error message, it can indicate a bug or error within
the printer driver itself, and rebooting the computer can sometimes
clear such an error.

If Dorothy's colleague is unable to resolve the problem, they should
contact Stata Technical Services at, who will
help them diagnose and correct the problem.


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