There are plenty of worthwhile reasons to convert a Portable Document Format (PDF) to a JPG image (it’s different from a GIF, you know). 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. But to make that transition, you need to know how to convert a PDF to JPG.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can do it and in this guide, we’ll walk you through our favorites, step by step, no matter which platform you’re on.
If you need to edit your PDF before converting it, we have a guide to the best PDF editors, too.
Adobe Photoshop CC — Premium Windows app
Although Photoshop is a premium tool, it’s one of the easiest methods for converting pages of a PDF document into a JPG image file. There’s also a free trial that lasts for seven days, so if you only have a few files you want to convert, it’s a great way to do it.
Step 1: Make an Adobe account and download the Photoshop CC free trial. Install it as you would any other piece of software.
Step 2: Open Photoshop and sign in to your account if necessary.
Step 3: Click “File” and then “Open” in the top menu bar.
Step 4: Select the PDF you want to convert into a JPG and click “Open”.
Step 5: In the resulting pop-up window, choose the page of the PDF you want to convert into an image and click “OK”.
Step 5: Click “File” and then “Save As.”
Step 6: Using the drop-down menu, select the “JPEG” format. Choose where you want to save the image to, using the navigation window, and then click the “Save” button.
PDF to JPEG — Free Windows app
PDF to JPEG is a free Windows app that, does exactly what its name suggests. It’s minimalist but allows for a welcome amount of control over converting specific pages, selecting where images will be saved, and more. If you only have access to Windows 10, this is probably your best solution for frequent conversions.
Note: unlike Photoshop, this app will convert every page of the PDF to JPG files, so consider another option if you only need one page converted.
Step 1: Download the PDF to JPEG converter app from the Windows store and install it.
Step 2: Open the app and click the “Select File” button.
Step 3: Choose the PDF File you want to convert and click the “Open” button.
Step 4: Click the “Select Folder” icon.
Step 5: Choose a destination folder for your converted image(s) and then click the “Select Folder” button.
Step 6: Click the “Convert” button. Depending on the size of the PDF file, it may take a little while to complete, but once done, every page of the PDF document will be converted into an image and saved in your destination folder.
PDF Preview — Free MacOS tool
Out of all the platforms, MacOS probably offers the easiest and most direct option for converting PDFs innately — in other words, you don’t have to download any extra tools to get the job done. Here’s what to do.
Step 1: Open a PDF in “Preview”. In most cases, PDFs should automatically open in Preview unless you’ve chosen another program for the job. You may have to find your PDF file and right click to open in Preview if necessary.
Step 2: In the “File” tab, choose “…”.
Step 3: Change the name, add tags, choose the export location and, most importantly, set the “Format” to “JPEG.” Select “Save” to finish up. That’s it!
If you only want to save part of the PDF, then head over to “View” and make sure “Thumbnails” is turned on. This allows you to select particular pages via the Thumbnail sidebar.
This process works great for simple conversions. However, you can’t really tweak the PDF in any meaningful way, which could be annoying for more complex projects. If yours falls into that category, we suggest you take a look at our online suggestions for tools that offer more customization and ways to fix problematic PDFs further down this page.
PDF to JPG app — Free Chrome OS app
We haven’t forgotten about you, Chromebook users! Your options may be a little more constrained than other operating systems, but you still have conversion solutions to use if necessary. The PDF to JPG app, can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store and much like the Windows 10 app of the same nature, this little tool is simple, doesn’t take up much space, and is great if you frequently need to change file types.
Step 1: Select your PDF file and choose whether you want to convert the whole thing, or specific pages.
Step 2: Choose where you want to save it, and then hit the “Convert to JPG” button.
Step 3: Wait for the process to complete. When it’s done, click the “Download JPG images” button. Since it’s all handled in the cloud, you have up to 24 hours to download your files before they’re deleted.
Zamzar — Free web tool
Online tools can typically be used from any computer or mobile device. Since they don’t take up any room on your computer and tend to be speedy little converters, you may prefer them to other options. Their only downside is that they tend to be a little limited in the amount of data you can convert at one time, which makes them difficult to use for larger PDF files.
Still, they can be a useful tool and one of our favorites, is Zamzar. It’s incredibly straightforward. Navigate to Zamzar’s PDF to JPG conversion tool in your web browser and follow the on-screen instructions.
Step 1: Select your PDF by clicking the “Choose Files” button.
Step 2: Use the drop-down list to choose the “JPG” format.
Step 3: Enter your email address where you want the file sent.
Step 4: Click “Convert” to begin the conversion process. When it’s finished, a link will be emailed to you where you download your files from.
Zamzar can do pretty much anything to PDFs, so if you want to convert your PDFs to HTML5, BMP files, DOCX, or anything else that your project might require, you can do. If you want a specific tool for converting a PDF to a Word document or an EPUB file, we have great guides for those too.
PDF to JPG — Free web tool
A similarly easy-to-use tool, PDFtoJPG isn’t necessarily a better tool than Zamzar, but it is different and may appeal more to your purposes and tastes. It’s a little like printing to PDF, but the reverse process.
Step 1: Navigate to the PDFtoJPG homepage in your web browser.
Step 2: Click the “Upload a file” button and select your PDF from the resulting window.
Step 3: Choose the specific page or page range that you want to convert.
Step 4: Decide the page width and its background color in the respective sections.
Step 5: Click the “Convert now” button. When it’s finished, click the individual “Page” links at the bottom of the page to download your new images!
Update: Overhauled structure and updated steps. This article was originally published March 4, 2013.