Using Python to Convert PDFs to Images (2023)

Python is like that annoying kid in school who thinks he can do anything, but in this case, he can! With Python you can build web applications, AI models, chatbots and just about anything you can imagine.

Python is also really good at acting as a wrapper for complex tasks. Often, these can be core level libraries that have bindings in Python. One common task that most developers perform is file manipulation—either writing or reading from a file, or manipulation of file types.

In this article, I’ll compare and contrast various Python libraries that can convert PDFs to images.

Installing Python

If you already have Python installed, you can skip this step. However, for those who haven’t, read on.

To get started, you can:

  1. Create afree ActiveState Platform account
  2. Download:
    1. ActivePython, which is a pre-built version of Python containing hundreds of packages that can help you solve your common tasks
    2. The “PDF To JPG” runtime, which contains a version of Python and most of the tools listed in this post so you can test them out for yourself.

NOTE: the simplest way to install the PDF to JPG environment is to first install the ActiveState Platform’s command line interface (CLI), the State Tool.

(Video) Convert PDF to Image using Python pdf2image Library

  • If you’re on Windows, you can use Powershell to install the State Tool:
    IEX(New-Object Net.WebClient).downloadString('')
  • If you’re on Linux / Mac, you can use curl to install the State Tool:
    sh <(curl -q

Once the State Tool is installed, just run the following command to download the build and automatically install it into a virtual environment.

state activate Pizza-Team/PDF-TO-JPG

And that’s it! You now have installed Python in a virtual environment.

Using Python to Convert PDFs to Images: Ghostscript for Manipulating PDFs

A very popular tool for manipulating PDF and PostScript formats is Ghostscript. It’s a C library that has bindings in Python in order to provide for easy access from various applications.

Ghostscript has been around since 1988, and the last release happened a few months ago (April 2019 as of this writing). It’s safe to say that this library is not only proven, but actively managed. However, be aware that it’s licensed with the GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL), which may prevent it from being a good fit for enterprise applications.

To get started, install the Python Ghostscript package:

"`pip install ghostscript"`

Let’s look at the code to convert a PDF file to an image. This is straightforward, and you will find most of the code in the PyPI documentation page.

(Video) Python Convert PDF to Images

import ghostscriptimport localedef pdf2jpeg(pdf_input_path, jpeg_output_path): args = ["pef2jpeg", # actual value doesn't matter "-dNOPAUSE", "-sDEVICE=jpeg", "-r144", "-sOutputFile=" + jpeg_output_path, pdf_input_path] encoding = locale.getpreferredencoding() args = [a.encode(encoding) for a in args] ghostscript.Ghostscript(*args)pdf2jpeg( "...Fixate/ActiveState/pdf/a.pdf", "...Fixate/ActiveState/pdf/a.jpeg",)

To execute the file, run:


You will encounter this error:

Using Python to Convert PDFs to Images (1)

The last line says:

"`RuntimeError: Can not find Ghostscript library (libgs)"`

This means that the Ghostscript Python library we installed isn’t able to find the Ghostscript C library on the development machine. The Python package is just a wrapper around the C library that actually does all the work. So we need to do a second install in order to deploy the C library on our machine.

If you’re on a Mac with brew installed, you can just run:

"`brew install ghostscript"`

To see installation steps for other platforms, please visit the Ghostscript installation page.

Executing the script again will now perform the conversion of a PDF file named a.pdf into a graphic file named a.jpeg.

(Video) How to convert pdf to image (jpg and png) using Python on windows 10

Ghostscript was first introduced to manage PostScript files, a file format used by printers and fax machines (yes, fax!). But even in the publishing industry, PostScript files have almost entirely been replaced by PDFs. Originally, PDFs were just compiled PostScript files, but since PDF v1.4, Adobe no longer uses PostScript as the basis of the PDF format. Even so, Ghostscript still includes both PDF and PostScript manipulation capabilities.

Advantages of Ghostscript:

  • Has been around for more than 30 years, and is still consistently maintained.
  • Has easy bindings for Python.
  • Has an extensive feature list.

Disadvantages of Ghostscript:

  • Needs the C library to be installed first, as the Python package is just a wrapper for the core C library that does the actual conversion.
  • AGPL-licensed, which may limit usage in commercial applications.

Using Python to Convert PDFs to Images: Poppler and pdf2image for PDF Conversion

Poppler is an open-source software utility built using C++ for rendering PDF documents. It is commonly used across Linux, GNOME and KDE systems. Its development is supported by

Poppler was initially launched in 2005 and is still actively supported. The Python package pdf2image is a Python wrapper for Poppler.

Since ActiveState’s Python already contains the pdf2image Python wrapper, all we need to install is the Poppler C++ library:

"`brew install poppler"`

Now, it’s extremely straightforward to convert a PDF to an image:

from pdf2image import convert_from_pathpages = convert_from_path('...Fixate/ActiveState/pdf/a.pdf', 500)for page in pages:'p2ijpg', 'JPEG')

Both Poppler and Ghostscript have the advantage of being mature software utility tools. However, Ghostscript was created primarily to manage Postscript files, while Poppler—from its inception—was only meant to be a PDF manipulation tool. With Poppler, you can perform any action on PDF files, including creation, merging, and even converting. It pays to be built 15 years after your competition!

(Video) How to convert PDF to images in Python

Advantages of pdf2image:

  • Has been around for almost 15 years, and is still consistently maintained.
  • Has easy bindings for Python.
  • pdf2image features an MIT license, which is generally acceptable for enterprise/commercial use.

Disadvantages of pdf2image:

  • It requires a C++ library to be installed, as the Python package is just a wrapper.

Using Python to Convert PDFs to Images: Extracting Data from PDF Files with PyPDF2

All the examples we’ve spoken about so far are Python wrappers for a much larger C or C++ codebase. With PyPDF2, the entire PDF manipulation logic is written only in Python. This means there is no need to install any other any other dependent libraries. However, this also means that while PyPDF2 is great at creating, adding and removing pages, it struggles to convert and extract textual data from a PDF file.

Let’s look at how text can be extracted from a PDF:

import PyPDF2pdfFileObj = open('...Fixate/ActiveState/pdf/a.pdf', 'rb')pdfReader = PyPDF2.PdfFileReader(pdfFileObj)print(pdfReader.numPages)pageObj = pdfReader.getPage(0)print(pageObj.extractText())pdfFileObj.close()

With PyPDF2, it is quite simple to manipulate PDFs programmatically. The Python syntax is extremely intuitive. This would be useful in scenarios where information needs to be extracted and then processed in a larger workflow.

However, it’s important to note that text extraction is only possible when a PDF is programmatically created. If the PDF is just a scanned image of a document, PyPDF2 has nothing to extract other than the image file itself.

PyPDF2 also doesn’t have any capabilities to convert a PDF file into an image, which is understandable since it does not use any core PDF libraries. So if you want to convert your PDF to an image file, the best you can do is extract text and write it to an image file.

Advantages of PyPDF2:

(Video) Python Tutorial: Using Python to Convert PDFs to images

  • Written entirely in Python, so there’s no “helper” library to install.
  • pdf2image features a BSD-3 license, which is generally acceptable for enterprise/commercial use.

Disadvantages of PyPDF2:

  • Very limited functionality for scanned PDF files.
  • Much slower compared to Ghostscript and pdf2image, since the code is pure Python.

Using Python to Convert PDFs to Images: Conclusions

Python is loaded with packages that make large, complex tasks achievable with just a few lines, and PDF manipulation is no different. Although a full-featured, Python-only package has yet to be released, solutions that act as wrappers around C/C++ libraries work great for converting PDF files directly to images. In this case. it’s really a toss up between Ghostscript and pdf2image unless your company frowns on AGPL-licensed code. But if you’re looking to just extract specific data from PDF files, PyPDF2 is a great Python-only solution.

  • Download and install the pre-built“PDF to JPG” runtime environment for Windows 10 or CentOS 7,
  • Or build your own custom Python runtime with just the packages you’ll need for this project, by creating a free ActiveState Platform account.


Can we convert PDF to JPG in Python? ›

Many tools are available on the internet for converting a PDF to an image. In this article, we are going to write code for converting pdf to image and make a handy application in python. Before writing the code we need to install the required module pdf2image and poppler.

How do I get an image from a PDF in Python? ›

  1. Import necessary libraries.
  2. Specify the path of the file from which you want to extract images and open it.
  3. Iterate through all the pages of PDF and get all images objects present on every page.
  4. Use getImageList() method to get all image objects as a list of tuples.
3 Jan 2021

How do I convert PDF to PNG in Python? ›

How to convert PDF to PNG
  1. Install 'Aspose. Words for Python via . NET'.
  2. Add a library reference (import the library) to your Python project.
  3. Open the source PDF file in Python.
  4. Call the 'save()' method, passing an output filename with PNG extension.
  5. Get the result of PDF conversion as PNG.

How do I make a PDF into a picture? ›

How to convert a PDF into an image.
  1. Navigate to the convert PDF page on Acrobat online services.
  2. Click the “Select a File” button or drag and drop the file into the drop zone. ...
  3. Choose your preferred file format — PNG, JPG, or TIFF — from the drop-down menu.

Is Python good for image processing? ›

Python is one of the widely used programming languages for this purpose. Its amazing libraries and tools help in achieving the task of image processing very efficiently.

Can Python generate images? ›

This article is a short overview of three ways to generate images with Python: Naive Bayes, GANs, and VAEs. Each uses the MNIST handwritten digit dataset. Images can be generated using Naive Bayes; no fancy neural network is required.

Can you extract an image from a PDF? ›

Right-click the selected image, and select Extract Image. The Save As dialog appears. Browse to a location, and specify a filename for the image. Save as type: Specify an image file format: JPG, TIF or PNG.

Can I scrape a PDF Python? ›

With the help of python libraries, we can save time and money by automating this process of scraping data from PDF files and converting unstructured data into panel data.

Can you parse PDF with Python? ›

It has an extensible PDF parser that can be used for other purposes than text analysis. PyPDF2 is a pure-python PDF library capable of splitting, merging together, cropping, and transforming the pages of PDF files. It can also add custom data, viewing options, and passwords to PDF files.

What is the fastest way to convert PDF to PNG? ›

Follow these steps to convert a PDF to a PNG file.

Navigate to the Convert PDF page on Adobe Acrobat online. Click the blue button labeled “Select a file” or drag and drop the file into the drop zone to upload your PDF. Choose PNG from the file format drop-down menu. Or choose JPG or TIFF instead, if you wish.

How do I convert a PDF to a TIFF file in Python? ›

How to convert PDF to TIFF
  1. Install 'Aspose. Words for Python via . NET'.
  2. Add a library reference (import the library) to your Python project.
  3. Open the source PDF file in Python.
  4. Call the 'save()' method, passing an output filename with TIFF extension.
  5. Get the result of PDF conversion as TIFF.

How do I convert a PDF to an image for free? ›

Click the Select a file button above, or drag and drop your PDF into the drop zone. Select the PDF you want to convert to an image with the help of our PDF to JPG converter. Select the desired image file format. Click Convert to JPG.

Can you make a PDF into a JPEG? ›

Convert PDF to JPG using Acrobat

Open the PDF in Acrobat. Click the Export PDF tool in the right pane. Choose Image as your export format, and then choose JPEG. Click Export.

Is Python faster than MATLAB for image processing? ›

Using OpenCV libraries in Python for image processing functions is faster when compared to MATLAB. This is mainly because OpenCV libraries are written in C/C++ therefore the is only a small amount time needed to execute the code. MATLAB is built on a lot of wrappers, which consumes more time when a code is run.

Why Python is used for image processing? ›

Python becomes an apt choice for such Image processing tasks. This is due to its growing popularity as a scientific programming language and the free availability of many State of Art Image Processing tools in its ecosystem. Let's look at some of the commonly used Python libraries for Image manipulation tasks.

Is Python good for modeling? ›

Python is an ideal programming language for this material. It is a good first language for people who have not programmed before, and it provides high-level data structures that are well-suited to express solutions to the problems we are interested in. Modeling and Simulation in Python is a Free Book.

What is image generator Python? ›

Python script that generates an image with the given text, with a neon glow effect.

How do I extract high quality images from a PDF? ›

Convert a PDF file to an image file
  1. File->open, select your PDF file, a dialog box pops up.
  2. Import As, choose Resolution: e.g. 300 pixel/in (or above, based on the quality you desire)
  3. go to Image-> Set Image Print Resolution, choose x resolution and y resolution 300 pixel/in (or above, based on the quality you desire)

How do I extract an image from a PDF without Acrobat? ›

Below is a guide on how to extract images using Adobe Photoshop:
  1. Open a PDF file with Photoshop.
  2. This prompts the 'Import PDF' box to appear. Instead of selecting 'pages', ensure that you select 'images'.
  3. Next, select the images you wish to extract from the file.
  4. Select 'OK' and then click save.
7 Jun 2022

How do I extract multiple images from a PDF? ›

Open the PDF document from which you want images extracted. Then go to View >> Tools >> Document Processing on Adobe Acrobat Pro's toolbar. Now you'll see a menu opening up on the right side of your Acrobat Pro window. In that menu, click Export All Images.

Is web scraping with Python legal? ›

Don't share downloaded content illegally. Scraping for personal purposes is usually OK, even if it is copyrighted information, as it could fall under the fair use provision of the intellectual property legislation. However, sharing data for which you don't hold the right to share is illegal.

Is web scraping difficult in Python? ›

Scraping with Python and JavaScript can be a very difficult task for someone without any coding knowledge. There is a big learning curve and it is time-consuming. In case you want a step-to-step guide on the process, here's one.

Is Python good for data scraping? ›

Short answer: Yes! Python is one of the most popular programming languages in the world thanks to its ease of use & learn, its large community and its portability. This language also dominates all modern data-related fields, including data analysis, machine learning and web scraping.

Can we edit PDF using Python? ›

Open a PDF in Python. Insert content at the beginning of the PDF document. Call the 'save()' method, passing the name of the output file with the required extension. Get the edited result.

How do I extract data from a PDF in Python? ›

All we need to do is use PyPDF2 to access the XML document from the object structure of this file. Once we have access to the XML, it is a simple exercise of parsing out the XML document to access values for various form elements, which could then be stored into a Python list, Numpy array, Pandas dataframe etc.

What is the best PDF parser? ›

Parseur : The best PDF parser software in 2022

Parseur is a powerful document processing and PDF parser tool that automatically extracts data from documents such as invoices or bills of lading within seconds. The extracted data can then be downloaded or exported to thousands of applications.

Is it better to convert PDF to JPG or PNG? ›

Should you export PDFs to JPG or PNG files? PNG files tend to have better quality compared to JPG files, so if your PDF files have a lot of text content, converting the PDF file to PNG image is the best option to preserve the quality of the PDF file.

What is the best PDF to JPG Converter? ›

Use Adobe Acrobat online services to turn your PDF into JPEG images. The Acrobat PDF converter can also create PNG or TIFF file formats. All you need is an Internet connection.

How do I convert PDF to PNG without acrobat? ›

For this method, simply load your PDF file into Reader. Under 'File', click 'Save as'. Next, simply choose 'PNG' from the file type menu, name the new file and choose its location. You now have a PNG file on your system that was previously a PDF.

How do I convert multiple PDFs to TIFF? ›

Steps to convert a PDF to a TIFF file.

Go to the conversion page and click Select a file or drag and drop your PDF into the drop zone. From the drop-down menu, you can choose a JPG, PNG, or TIFF file. For this project, choose TIFF and click the Convert to TIFF button.

Can a PDF file be converted to a TIFF? ›

Click on the "Image" option and then click on the "TIFF" option. From there, click on the "Export" button. Adobe Acrobat will convert PDF to TIFF immediately.

What is the best PDF reader for Python? ›

Top 4 Best Python PDF Parser
  • Libraries for Parsing PDF Files.
  • PDFMiner Module. Installation. Example 1: Extracting Text from a PDF file and Converting into Text File.
  • PyPDF2 Module.
  • pdfrw Module.
  • Slate. PDF to CSV Parser Python. PDF to XML / HTML / XLSX Parser Python. ...
  • FAQs on Python PDF Parser.
  • Conclusion.
  • Trending Python Articles.
24 Jan 2022

Is there a completely free PDF converter? ›

PDFelement is the best free PDF converter for Windows 10, 8, 7, and Mac. can meet all your PDF needs. You can convert PDF to or from almost any popular file format, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, images, text, HTML, and more. In addition to converting and creating PDFs, you can also edit text, images, and pages.

Does converting to PDF reduce image quality? ›

Any image can lose quality when converted from Word to PDF. It all depends on how the PDF is created and the settings used. In Word for Windows there's a choice when Save As PDF from File | Export or File | Save As then choosing PDF as the file type.

Is PNG more high quality than PDF? ›

png should be fine for small images. It's what all the android icons are anyway. PNG is a bitmap format, PDF is a richer format which may include vector data (including text). For scaling PDF is much better.

How can I convert PDF to JPG offline? ›

Here's how to use the PDF converter to change from PDF to JPG:
  1. Open Power PDF.
  2. Open the PDF file that you want to convert.
  3. Use "Save As" to open the file save dialog.
  4. Select the destination folder for your converted file. ...
  5. Select "JPG" from the "Save as" drop-down menu.
  6. Select OK and save your document.
31 Mar 2021

How do I convert 100mb PDF to JPG? ›

How to convert PDF to JPG
  1. Upload your files. Files are safely uploaded over an encrypted connection. ...
  2. Select an image format. By default PDF is converted to JPG. ...
  3. Select image resolution. Choose between 220 dpi, 150 or 75 dpi. ...
  4. Choose pages to convert. Click to select pages to convert. ...
  5. Save your changes.

How do I convert a file to JPEG? ›

Go to File > Save as and open the Save as type drop-down menu. You can then select JPEG and PNG, as well as TIFF, GIF, HEIC, and multiple bitmap formats. Save the file to your computer and it will convert.

How do I convert a text file to an image? ›

How to convert TXT to JPG
  1. Upload txt-file(s) Select files from Computer, Google Drive, Dropbox, URL or by dragging it on the page.
  2. Choose "to jpg" Choose jpg or any other format you need as a result (more than 200 formats supported)
  3. Download your jpg.

What converts pictures or digital files? ›

  1. 4 Ways To Convert Your Photo To Digital Files.
  2. Method 1: Smartphone & App.
  3. Method 2: Computer & Home Printer/Scanner.
  4. Method 3: Specialized Photo Scanner.
  5. Method 4: Scanning Service.
  6. What Method Should You Use to Convert Your Photo to Digital?

What is the best format to export a photo? ›

Save a photo in the best format for your needs
  • Save a photo as a JPEG for online use. ...
  • Save as a PNG for online use when you want to retain any transparent pixels, like a background that you deleted. ...
  • Save as a TIFF for commercial printing if a TIFF file is requested by your print vendor.
6 Sept 2022

Does Python support JPEG? ›

Pillow builds on this, adding more features and support for Python 3. It supports a range of image file formats such as PNG, JPEG, PPM, GIF, TIFF, and BMP.

Does Python recognize JPG? ›

Even if you're using the Python Imaging Library (PIL) to draw on a few hundred photos, you still don't need to. Storing images on disk, as . png or . jpg files, is both suitable and appropriate.

How do I save a JPEG in Python? ›

Saving an image in Python is just as simple. You simply call save() and pass in the name you want used to save your image. This method will save the image in the format identified by the extension on the filename you pass in.

What image formats does Python support? ›

PIL is a free library that adds image processing capabilities to your Python interpreter, supporting a range of image file formats such as PPM, PNG, JPEG, GIF, TIFF and BMP. PIL offers several standard procedures for image processing/manipulation, such as: pixel-based manipulations.

Can NumPy be used for image processing? ›

Since images can also be considered as made up of arrays, we can use NumPy for performing different image processing tasks as well from scratch.

Can Python open images? ›

You can read an image in Python using using Image class of PIL library. In this tutorial, we shall learn how to read or open an image using Pillow library, and different situations one might encounter, with the help of example programs.

How do I save a generated image in Python? ›

The PIL module is used for storing, processing, and displaying images in Python. To save images, we can use the PIL. save() function. This function is used to export an image to an external file.

How do I save a png in Python? ›

To save plot figure as JPG or PNG file, call savefig() function on matplotlib. pyplot object. Pass the file name along with extension, as string argument, to savefig() function.

How do I save an image in high quality Python? ›

To get a high-quality image, we can use . eps image format. You can increase the dot per inch value, i.e., dpi. Using savefig() method, we can save the image locally.

Can Python scrape PDFs? ›

With the help of python libraries, we can save time and money by automating this process of scraping data from PDF files and converting unstructured data into panel data.

Can Python extract data from PDF? ›

There are a couple of Python libraries using which you can extract data from PDFs. For example, you can use the PyPDF2 library for extracting text from PDFs where text is in a sequential or formatted manner i.e. in lines or forms. You can also extract tables in PDFs through the Camelot library.


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