There are plenty of worthwhile reasons to convert a Portable Document Format (PDF) to a JPG image. Although PDF files are a fantastic way to package a slew of text and image documents together, they often require an external application or plug-in, and are unnecessary if you want just a single page or image. Plus, most office applications handle JPG images better, and JPG files generally have quicker load times than that of PDF files. Yet at the same time, there are plenty of good reasons to convert JPG images to PDF – most notably, convenience and organization. Fortunately, you don’t need to purchase premium software like Adobe Suite to convert between the two files types. The Web and other preinstalled programs will do just fine. Here’s our how-to guide for converting PDF files to JPG images (and the other way around).
Update: This article was originally published March 4, 2013, and updated on Aug. 29, 2014, to include current conversion options. DT staff writer Joe Donovan contributed to this article
How to convert using Cloud Convert (Web-based)
The Web-based Cloud Convert may still be in the beta phase, but the simple converter still easily allows you to convert JPG to PDF (and vice versa). Unlike most Web-based applications, the online software sports a clean, self-explanatory interface and innate support for a large number of file formats. Moreover, actual conversions take merely a few seconds, the software is available for iOS platforms, and it doesn’t require an email address or any sort of account to utilize. Cloud Convert also allows you to convert files from URL addresses, Google Drive, and Dropbox for added accessibility.
Step 1: Launch your browser and go to the Cloud Convert homepage.
Step 2: Click the Select Files button, then browse for the PDF or JPG file you wish to convert. Afterward, check the box directly left of the method in which you’d like to retrieve your newly-converted file. Standard options include email and or a download link, but Cloud Convert also lets you automatically save the resulting file in your Google Drive or Dropbox account for added convenience.
Step 3: Click the select format button near the middle of the page, scroll down to the image section, and select jpg (or pdf if you are converting the opposite way). Afterward, click the wrench icon beside the drop-down menu to adjust the page range, image size, pixel density, and other notable image facets you might want to tweak regarding the resulting file.
Step 4: Click the red Start Conversion button in the upper-right corner of the page, allow the software to convert the file, and then click the green Download button in the bottom-right corner or retrieve the file through your previously-selected means.
Related: How to edit a PDF
PDFill PDF Tools is another fantastic alternative for converting between PDF files and JPG images with absolute ease. Although the freeware appears outdated and sports a cluttered interface, it remains one of the best tools available for both altering and creating PDF files. The downloadable software includes tools for converting file formats, merging files, adding watermarks and slew of other simple features that are displayed in a single, Word-esque window.
Step 1: Navigate to the main PDFill PDF Tools homepage, click the orange Download button in the upper-right corner, and follow the on-screen wizard to install the software.
Step 2: Once installed, click on Convert Images to PDF or the Convert PDF to Images button depending on the type of conversion you wish to make. From there, click Add an Image in the upper-left-corner of the pop-up window.
Step 4: Browse or search your computer for the desired file you wish to convert in the resulting pop-up window. The default settings should work fine, unless you have something specific in mind.
Step 5: Click the Save As..button at the bottom, select your desired save location and title the newly converted document. Click Save when you’re finished.
There are multiple ways to convert a file on a Mac, but Preview remains one of the best. The native application is used for displaying various images and PDF documents and is already preinstalled in almost all versions of Mac OS X. Not only is a it a barebones way for viewing images, it’s a simple and great way to convert and manage different file formats (including PDF and JPG files).
Step 1: Launch Preview from your dock or the applications folder.
Step 2: Click File in the upper-left corner of the application toolbar and select Open from the drop-down menu. Then, browse your computer or iCloud and select the file you wish to open. Keep in mind you can open more than one at a time, making the conversion process quicker and more efficient.
Step 3: Click the view button in the top-left corner of the Preview and select Thumbnails from the resulting drop-down menu. Afterward, select which pages you’d like to convert as you would normally, click the File button again, and select Export from the drop-down menu. Then simply title the resulting file, choose a format from the drop-down menu, and select your desired save location before click the Save button. Don’t worry about encryption or the filter options.
Using screenshots or the Snipping Tool
They’re not the prettiest methods for converting files, but capturing a screenshot in Mac OS X or using Windows’ built-in Snipping Tool are suitable options if you need to convert a PDF to a JPG in a pinch. We can’t guarantee the quality will be top-notch, but you will be left with a JPG image instead of a PDF file.
Using the screen capture function (Mac OS X)
Step 1: Use the keyboard shortcut “Command + Shift + 4″ to bring up the screenshot function.
Step 2: Once you see the small crosshairs cursor instead of your mouse cursor, drag it around the area of the PDF you want to capture. The resulting screenshot will automatically be saved to your desktop. It will be named according to the date and time it was taken for simple organization.
Related: How to take a screenshot on a Mac
Using the Snipping Tool (Windows)
Step 1: Begin by opening the Snipping Tool. You can find it under Accessories in the main program list or by searching “Snipping Tool” in the Windows search bar.
Step 2: Once opened, click the arrow next to the New button and select the type of snip you’d like to use (e.g., free-form, rectangular, full-screen, etc.) from the drop-down list. Then, drag the cursor around the area of the PDF you want to capture and a new window will appear with your selection.
Step 3: Go to the top of the window and choose Save As… under the main File options. Then, name the file, select the file type from the drop-down menu, and click the Save button. The Snipping Tool will automatically add the new image to your pictures library for easy access.
Related: How to take a screenshot on PC