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My problem is I am tasked to extract images from a 640-paged pdf file. Majority of which are charts and tables with texts. Doing a simple copy and paste makes the image lose its resolution and the texts becomes blurry and sometimes unreadable.

Do you know of a better way to extract images in a PDF file without affecting the resolution?

Thanks a lot!

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I solved this by installing KDE for windows and then installing okular.. In Okular, one can select the image and save it straight to the file eliminating the process of pasting it on an image editing program which I think somehow preserves the resolution. –  r2b2 Sep 28 '10 at 10:48

9 Answers 9

No - copying and pasting should retain the original resolution of the embedded resource - what is most likely happening is that it is a low resolution picture that was shrunk inside the PDF, so when it is exported, it looks worse than it is.

Try shrinking it and/or making it the same size as in the PDF and it should actually be the same.

Alternatively, (and worst option) go to 100% zoom and take a screenshot or use the snipping tool in Windows Vista / Windows 7.

NOTE - Images in .PDFs are usually shrunk/compressed at the time they are made converted to a .PDF, however, once it is has been compressed, you should be able to extract at the same quality as the PDF, not worse.

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This is true especially with tables. Maybe I need to zoom in to the desired resolution , or until the text is readable and grab the snapshot. Another option I have is to open the pdf in Gimp and make the resolution higher –  r2b2 Sep 28 '10 at 1:47

Which PDF viewing software are you using?

By using a PDF editing/creation program, like Adobe Acrobat Pro, you should be able to extract the embedded images as they are in the PDF file*. You can get a free trial from the Adobe site (for Windows and Mac), which you can use just for purpose.

* as long as they are not protected, in which case you will have to.. er, I'm not going there...

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Its Adobe Acrobat free trial. I'll try this too, thanks! –  r2b2 Sep 28 '10 at 1:30
@r2b2: Oh, if you were already using Adobe Acrobat Standard, I don't think using the Pro version is going to help. –  paradroid Sep 28 '10 at 1:37

You could use Imagemagick to convert all PDF pages to separate image files (although I am not sure how long it will take to do such a big document, or if it will cope!) and then crop out what you want. Might be worth doing a trial run with this as at least you will find out whether the resolution of the embedded images is OK for what you need.

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From the XPDF suite (which is Free & Open Source Software) you can use pdfimages.exe CLI tool to extract all images from a PDF, or just all images from a range of pages. Here an example to extract all images from pages 33-36:

pdfimages.exe ^
  -f 33 ^
  -l 36 ^
  -j ^
   c:/path/to/input.pdf ^

The -j will try to extract embedded JPEG images as JPEGs. All other images are output as PPMs (portable pixmaps). Attention, PPMs are totally uncompressed!

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Extracting the original resolution images is one of the free features of the Solid Framework SDK so if you create your solution in C#, this is it: http://www.soliddocuments.com/features.htm?product=SolidFramework

The sample application that illustrates this feature is also free if you need a GUI batch solution: http://www.pdf-internals.com/download.htm?product=SolidPDFMechanic

(I'm with Solid Documents)

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The best way is to use Adobe Acrobat Pro (2010 or newer versions). Go to File -> Save As -> More Options -> Encapsulated PostScript and then click Save.

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this is very easy using evince (The document viewer) in Ubuntu. Just open the pdf using evince then unmaximize the window, mark it Always on top then drag and drop the image into the folder you like.

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Evince is also available for Windows and BSD. Also right-click on image offers to Save as. –  Adobe Sep 17 '14 at 8:00

If you have Acrobat pro this is by far the simplest way to take a snapshot of high resolution (set it how high you want). In preferences/general check the box that says 'use fixed resolution for snapshot tool' and set the resolution to your liking e.g., 300ppi or even higher. Then take a snapshot (tools/select & zoom/snapshot tool) and it will copy a high res copy to your clipboard. Then paste it from your clipboard where you want. works great.

To see a more detailed description click this link...

someone's detailed answer with screenshots

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I usually extract images by opening the pdf files in Adobe Illustrator and then copy and pasting them into InDesign. The resolution preserves.

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