Convert a PDF to images

Use can use the convert command to convert a PDF into images. It uses ImageMagick behind the scenes.

The following will convert foo.pdf PDF into foo-[n].jpg images, where [n] is an image number from 0:

convert foo.pdf foo.jpg

Note that it will create an image per PDF page.


me@pc ~/test $ convert foo.pdf foo.jpg
me@pc ~/test $ ls -l foo*
-rw-r--r-- 1 steph steph  468902 Sep  5 15:09 foo-0.jpg
-rw-r--r-- 1 steph steph  589703 Sep  5 15:09 foo-1.jpg
-rw-r--r-- 1 steph steph  465899 Sep  5 15:09 foo-2.jpg
-rw-r--r-- 1 steph steph  565752 Sep  5 15:09 foo-3.jpg
-rw-r--r-- 1 steph steph  577887 Sep  5 15:09 foo-4.jpg
-rw-r--r-- 1 steph steph  243387 Sep  5 15:09 foo-5.jpg
-rw-r--r-- 1 steph steph  295983 Sep  5 15:09 foo-6.jpg
-rw-r--r-- 1 steph steph  237054 Sep  5 15:09 foo-7.jpg
-rw-r--r-- 1 steph steph  354295 Sep  5 15:09 foo-8.jpg
-rw-r--r-- 1 steph steph  271331 Sep  5 15:09 foo-9.jpg
-rw-r--r-- 1 steph steph 4152133 Sep  4 14:21 foo.pdf

Note how it created ten JPGs from the one PDF.


By default convert will use ImageMagick’s default quality (aka density), which is 72 DPI.

To increase the quality you can bump up the density:

convert -density 300 foo.pdf bar.jpg

300 DPI is the max.

You could alternatively specify different units for the density (see ImageMagick: Command-line Options -units):

convert -density 20 -units PixelsPerCentimeter foo.pdf foo.jpg

Colour space

If you get a black background in your images, try changing the colour space:

convert -colorspace CMYK foo.pdf bar.jpg


Last modified: 18/09/2015 Tags: ,

This website is a personal resource. Nothing here is guaranteed correct or complete, so use at your own risk and try not to delete the Internet. -Stephan

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