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I currently use Foxit's PDF reader, and I recently downloaded an image from the Internet, but it is inside a PDF file. How do I extract this image?

Operating system is Windows 7.

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your highest quality extraction will be to extract to whatever format the image is already stored in within the pdf. (at least i think that's how images-in-pdfs work.) –  quack quixote Apr 26 '10 at 17:06
Use pdfimages.exe (from XPDF). –  Kurt Pfeifle Jul 29 '10 at 15:16

5 Answers 5

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The quick way if you don't require original pixel resolution of the image is to just press ALT and Print Screen buttons. Then choose paste where ever you want the image.

The other way to preserve the resolution is to open the PDF in an image editing program such as Adobe Photoshop and work with it there.

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Opening a PDF document in Photoshop causes the 'Rasterize Generic PDF Format' dialog to appear, so the resolution cannot be preserved. Tested with PS7. Are newer versions of Photoshop different? –  AffineMesh Apr 27 '10 at 6:55
as you said, [alt]+[prnscr] does not preserve the original pixel resolution (it uses whatever resolution your current screen/monitor uses). –  Kurt Pfeifle Jul 29 '10 at 15:18
@studiohack, @UserSuUserDo: Not only will you miss the original resolution if you use [alt]+[prnscr], but you'll get the complete PDF viewer window as a picture. This may be 'good enough' for many use cases. But sometimes you want the graphic as is embedded in the PDF page only. Here pdfimages.exe comes in handy. –  Kurt Pfeifle Jul 29 '10 at 15:21
Or use the snipping tool built into W7 to capture the area you want. –  Moab Jul 29 '10 at 15:22

If you download XPDF for Windows (here), you'll find a few .exe files inside. You can run them without "installation". Use pdfimages.exe like this:

pdfimages.exe -help

This displays the help screen.

pdfimages.exe ^
    -j ^
    c:\path\to\your.pdf ^

This extracts all JPEGs as prefix-00N.jpg, and all the other images as prefix-00N.ppm (Portable PixMap).

[Edit by ComFreek: Please note the trailing slash in the destination path, which is important if you do not want to extract all images into its parent directory.] --
{Edit by KurtPfeifle: I do not agree with ComFreek's comment, but leave it to the readers to test and find out the differences in results themselves. My original parameter, not using a trailing slash, as ..\prefix will prefix the image names used for the extracted files.}

pdfimages.exe ^
    -j ^
    -f 11 ^
    -l 13 ^
    c:\path\to\your.pdf ^

Same as before, but limits image extraction to pages 11 ('f' = first) to 13 ('l' = last).


In the meanwhile I prefer Poppler's version of pdfimages -- especially since it acquired this new feature: add -list to the commandline in order to just list (not extract) images contained in the PDF, plus some of their properties. Example:

pdfimages -list -f 7 -l 8  ct-magazin-14-2012.pdf

  page   num  type   width height color comp bpc  enc interp  object ID
     7     0 image     581   838  rgb     3   8  jpeg   no        39  0
     7     1 image       4     4  rgb     3   8  image  no        40  0
     7     2 image     314   332  rgb     3   8  jpx    no        44  0
     7     3 image     358   430  rgb     3   8  jpx    no        45  0
     7     4 image       4     4  rgb     3   8  image  no        46  0
     7     5 image       4     4  rgb     3   8  image  no        47  0
     7     6 image       4     6  rgb     3   8  image  no        48  0
     7     7 image     596   462  rgb     3   8  jpx    no        49  0
     7     8 image       4     6  rgb     3   8  image  no        50  0
     7     9 image       4     4  rgb     3   8  image  no        51  0
     7    10 image       8    10  rgb     3   8  image  no        41  0
     7    11 image       6     6  rgb     3   8  image  no        42  0
     7    12 image     113    27  rgb     3   8  jpx    no        43  0
     8    13 image     582   839  gray    1   8  jpeg   no      2080  0
     8    14 image     344   364  gray    1   8  jpx    no      2079  0

Note again: this version of pdfimages is the one from Poppler (the one from XPDF does not (yet?) support this new feature), and the version must be v0.20.2 or newer.

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The point of "This extracts all JPEGs ... and all the other images as Portable PixMap .PPM" is important. Sometimes you want a tool that can convert everything to one format –  Ron Harlev Jun 23 '11 at 18:25
@harlev: if you want everything as PPM, just leave away the -j from the commandline. –  Kurt Pfeifle Jun 23 '11 at 21:06
@harlev: Google for ImageMagick. It has a commandline tool that can convert anything to anything called convert. Available for Linux, Windows, MacOS X and what have you. Easiest use case for you: convert some.ppm some.jpeg. –  Kurt Pfeifle Jun 24 '11 at 0:15
Note: XPDF isn't as actively maintained as the poppler library which forked from it some time ago. Poppler provides pdfimages as well, and some people might prefer using that. –  MvG Jan 29 '13 at 12:54
@BurhanKhalid: Pre-built binaries are here: sourceforge.net/projects/poppler-win32 –  Kurt Pfeifle May 16 '14 at 23:46

You can try importing the PDF into Inkscape, and work from there. Inkscape will only open one page at time, but will give you complete control over the page contents. You will be able to extract and manipulate vector graphics from the PDF quite easily.

However, if you want to extract raster images from the PDF, I'm pretty sure pdfimages from XPDF is easier (but you can still try using Inkscape after learning how to extract embedded images from SVG files).

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Without installing any software, you can switch to PDF-XChange Viewer (select Portable Version) which has this ability already build-in

  • exports all or selected pages as image
  • output format: PNG, JPG, TIFF, BMP
  • choose DPI, compression level, gray-scale
  • can save multiple pages as multi-page TIFF

    enter image description here

    enter image description here
    click to enlarge

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There is a nice tool that can be used to avoid pdf extraction-related issues. You can find it on www.sumnotes.net I used it extensively at university for my thesis and I was really satisfied. It saves a lot of time and efforts. With sumnotes you can extract notes, highlights, and images Enjoy it! Bye :)

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