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Convert PDF to images files (JPEG, BMP, GIF, etc ...)

May 2016

Convert PDF to images (JPEG, BMP, GIF, etc ...)

How to convert PDF documents into images files (JPEG, GIF, BMP, or any format) in order to exploit them.
  • This article aims to answer this problem with free softwares.
  • This article describes the procedure under Windows XP. However, it can easily be adapted to other operating systems (Windows98, Windows 7, Linux, MacOS X, etc. ...), as most of the softwares used are available for many platforms.


Installing Gimp

Installing Ghostscript

  • GhostScript Viewer, a free software to read the PDF (in console mode)
  • Download GhostScript
  • Install GhostScript leaving the default directory (recommended for further manipulations).

Adding system variables

  • Start> Settings> Control Panel
  • Performance and Maintenance> View basic information about your computer system OR
  • Advanced tab, then Environment Variables
  • Click the New button.
  • Variable Name: Enter GS_PROG
  • Variable Value: Enter C:\Program Files\gs\gs8.14\bin\gswin32.exe (adapt according to the installation folder of GhostScript)
  • Click on OK
  • Click the New button
  • Variable Name: Type GS_LIB
  • Variable value: type C:\Program Files\gs\gs8.14\lib (adapt according to your installation folder GhostScript, the version number 8.14 will change depending on your version of Ghostscript)
  • Click on OK
  • Click OK in both of the windows left open.
  • Optionally, restart the computer


  • Open Gimp (Start, (All) Programs,The Gimp.
  • Open PDF file (File> Open> Select File> OK).
  • Adjust the options if you wish.
  • File> Save a copy.
  • Choose a location Enter the desired file name and add the necessary extension (. Jpg,. Bmp,. Gif, etc ...) or choose the type of files in the list.
  • OK, change options if necessary (compression, etc. ...) and validate again.


  • If you have the following error message:

The opening of "C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\ my_file.pdf" failed:  
Unable to open "C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\ my_file.pdf" for reading: Failed to load document from data (error 1) '
  • Make sure you have installed Ghostscript, you have successfully created the new environment variables and the paths you have given for these variables are correct.
  • Right-clicking on a PDF and selection "open with" > Gimp systematically lead to this error.

PDF Creator

  • Download and install PDF Creator (free):
  • Open the PDF in Acrobat Reader.
  • Choose "Print" and print with PDF Creator.
  • When PDF Creator offers to save the PDF, choose the types of files (PNG, JPEG, BMP, TIFF, PCX) instead of PDF.
  • To change the settings for PDF Creator, go to "Options" /"Formats" and change the settings for each file format (resolution, color depth, etc.).


  • ImageMagick is a utility for converting and manipulating images in command line.
  • (Under Windows, you must download the this version ImageMagick-x.x.x-x-Q16-windows-dll.exe).
  • Convert a PDF file a multitude of images is very simple, use this command:
  • convert myfile.pdf image%04d.tiff

Using Adobe Reader

  • Open the document with Adobe Reader
  • In Adobe Reader click on "Edit" > "Take Snapshot"
  • While holding the right mouse button down, define the area of the snapshot.
  • Upon releasing the right mouse button, the selected area will be copied to the clipboard,
  • Paste it in an image editor software (Paint, Gimp) and save the image in the format of your choice.


  • XnView includes a dedicated feature to converting PDF files to image formats.

For unlimited offline reading, you can download this article for free in PDF format:

See also

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Original article published by Thom@s. Translated by jak58. - Latest update by Ambucias
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