I recently received a PDF in an email that contained a bunch of great images that I wanted to extract as separate JPEG files so that I could upload them to my website. There are several ways to get an image from a PDF, and the best way really depends on what tools you have installed on your system.
In this article, I will introduce six of the easiest ways to capture an image from a PDF file. I’m going to start with the simplest methods that don’t require any paid or third-party software, and then I’ll show you how you can do this in Adobe Acrobat Pro and Adobe Photoshop if you have them installed.
First method – take a screenshot
The first method is to take a screenshot of the image in the PDF file. Obviously, this method is only useful if you need to grab a small amount of images from a PDF file.
You can use a third-party screen capture utility if you already have one installed, or you can use the built-in screen capture tool in Windows 7 and later, or shortcuts to capture the screen in OS X. part of the screen using built-in OS functions.
The second method – free online tools
The next easiest way is to simply use a free online service that will extract the images for you and let you download them individually or as a compressed archive. The only problem with online services is that they will have some kind of limitation on the size of the PDF file and the number of images that the service will retrieve for free.
PDFaid.com is an ugly looking site with ads on every free space, but it does a great job of extracting high quality images from PDFs.
Select a file up to 20MB in size, select the desired image format (JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP) and then click the Extract Images button. After a few seconds, you will see a popup dialog where you can click to download a zip file with all the images.
ExtractPDF.com is another good site that has a cleaner look and a better way to present results. Choosing a PDF file of no more than 14 MB in size, you will see a list of all images found with small thumbnails.
I love this because you can choose which images to download if you don’t want to download all of them. This site only allows you to upload images in PNG format, so you will have to convert them to another image format yourself.
Method 3 – Adobe Acrobat Reader
Another well-working method I’ve used is using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. First open the PDF file and scroll down to where the image you want to capture is located.
Then click the Edit menu and choose Take Snapshot.
At this point, you can just click and drag your mouse over the image area to take a screenshot, but the best way is to click the Edit menu again and choose Select All.
Now right click on the image in the PDF and you will see the “Copy Selected Graphics” option.
The image will be copied to your clipboard and you can paste it into any image editing program to save it in your preferred format. I prefer to go through the select and copy procedure because it only captures the image without any extra portions of the screen.
It’s worth noting that the first three methods require you to fetch images individually, not in a batch or all at once. The following three methods allow you to batch extract images.
Method 4 – Adobe Acrobat Pro
For those of you with Adobe Acrobat Pro installed, it is much easier to get all images from PDF at once. To do this, open Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and open the desired PDF file. Then click “Tools” and you will see some icons, but you want to click “Export PDF”.
On the left, you will see a small thumbnail image of the first page of the PDF document, and on the right, you will see a set of options for exporting the file. Click Image, select the file format you want, and check the Export all images box.
Click the Export button and you will see another dialog box where you will need to choose a location for the exported image files. The default folder is selected, but you can change its location by clicking the “Choose another folder” button.
When you click on the folder, the Save As dialog box appears, in which you must name the image. The filename of each image will use whatever you enter as the base name, followed by the page number and image number, that is, CatPics_Page_1_Image0001.jpg.
Fifth method – Adobe Photoshop
If you have Photoshop installed instead of Acrobat Pro, it is also very easy to extract all images. Open Photoshop and open the PDF as you would normally open an image file. The PDF import dialog will appear automatically.
Click the Images radio button and select the images you want to open in Photoshop. Use the SHIFT key to select more than one image. When you click OK, each image opens in a separate Photoshop tab.
Method 6 – Free program
If you are wondering why I have not mentioned any free programs, it is because most of them have some kind of adware or spyware that appears during installation. However, since there is actually no other free method to batch extract images from PDF other than online, I will mention one working program that I used.
Some PDF Images Extract files are free distribution, but they are outdated. I ran the EXE via VirusTotal and it turned out to be completely clean, so that’s good. The only problem is it sometimes crashes and there seems to be no way around this problem. Your mileage will be different.
Click “File”, “Open” and select your PDF document. In fact, you can choose more than one file for true batch image extraction. Click the little play button at the bottom and the process will begin. By default, a folder is created on the desktop with the same name as the PDF file containing all images.
So these are six different ways to get images from a PDF file, and hopefully one of them will work for you. If not, please leave a comment and I’ll try to help. Enjoy!