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I'm trying to copy parts of a PDF to make some footnotes in a separate document... but the format doesn't copy, so is it possible to copy a highlighted part as a picture like a jpeg for me to copy paste? What software can I use to do this? Preferably free linux software, but I'm open to other options.

I have a lot to do, so an easy way way would be great... I could probably take screenshots of the pdf, but that seems like a lot of work since I have so many parts to do.


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In the Windows version of Adobe Reader, you can go to Tools, Select & Zoom, Snapshot Tool. Perhaps it's the same in the Linux version? Or other PDF readers will have a similar function? – Bavi_H Jun 21 '10 at 3:18
You could just take a selective screenshot of your computer :D – Vervious Aug 29 '10 at 2:10
@Nano8Blazex: That is the effect I want, but I have to do it many times and would like a shortcut. I've seen it done before, but don't know how. – Jarvin Aug 29 '10 at 2:13
possible duplicate of PDF: Copy a block of text from a pdf as an image – Jarvin Aug 29 '10 at 2:14
What OS do you use? I mean Windows or Ubuntu for this question? (I read your profile!) – Vervious Aug 29 '10 at 2:16
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Can you not copy from any PDF document, or just not from this PDF document? The mouse pointer needs to be configured as a Select Tool and not as the Hand Tool for coping to work. You can change this configuration through the Tools -> Select & Zoom menu or by right-clicking anywhere in the document. You can also make the Hand Tool behave as the Select Tool when you move over text by opening Edit -> Preferences -> General and checking the box in front of "Make Hand tool select text & images".

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Adobe Reader and Acrobat Pro have the Snapshot tool to do this. You can find it on the Select and Zoom toolbar. Its icon is a camera surrounded by a selection marquee. You may have to enable it - it wasn't enabled by default on my install of Acrobat Pro.

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Whatever software you choose will need you to 'highight' in the PDF parts that you want to be cropped into JPG pictures. If you take a screenshoot limited to the PDF window, it will not add much to your necessary effort (of choosing the area of interest).

There are a few specific apps that will allow you to pick a rectangle of interest,

Desktop Data Manager is a Clipboard Manager for GNOME similar to Klipper for KDE. With DDM it is possible to display different types of content like text or images.
DDM includes a screenshot taking application which is able to take screenshots from a single window/subwindow, rectangle of the screen or the whole desktop.

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I saw a guy do exactly what I'm looking for, but I have no idea what software he was using... he just dragged his mouse from one spot to another and the square in between was highlighted... then he copied and pasted it into word and viola. – Jarvin Jun 21 '10 at 1:52

If I wanted to do this, I'd use the GIMP. It's a very feature rich, free and open source, image manipulation program, but it imports PDFs (albeit as raster graphics, but I doubt you want anything else), and you can use it as your PDF reader if you want. I'm sure there is specialized screenshot software that can do this too, but it's hard to recommend any without knowing your OS.

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If you are a Windows user, then consider using Foxit Reader. It is much lighter than the regular Adobe Reader and it's history of exploits is less consequent. There also a snapshot button to do exactly what you're asking for.

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In cases I can not copy pdf because it is protected or something, I just snahpshot it and use GT Text It is pretty fast.

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Can you give a more detailed description of the linked content, and explain how it relates to the question? This will help ensure that this answer remains useful in the event the link becomes invalid. In addition, please be careful posting links in answers of this nature--they could be seen by the community as spam, correctly or otherwise. See the FAQ for more information. – bwDraco Oct 11 '12 at 15:43

you can actually do it online here is one and this is another. The last one allows for bigger files (over 1mb) while the other doesn't.

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-1 those just convert entire pdfs into images (I think) and I don't believe that is what Dan wants. – Vervious Aug 29 '10 at 2:18
"I want to copy text out of a pdf, but want it to be copied as an image block" That's exactly what he wants. – KronoS Aug 29 '10 at 2:20
Not an image block of the entire image block or entire page... just a picture of a section of text. I think. He did mention he wanted the effect of a screenshot, but faster. Better let him comment. :D – Vervious Aug 29 '10 at 2:24
Oh i see... well ya I guess we'll just have to wait to see if that's what he wants :) – KronoS Aug 29 '10 at 2:26

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