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I use OS X, and I'm able to simply save a PDF as a JPG in Preview, but find that the resolution goes down a lot when I do so. What's the best way to convert PDF to JPG without sacrificing image resolution?

Converting PDF to JPEG is usually a rather silly thing to do. Consider it the sort of thing amateurs with little computer knowledge believe t want to do, without understanding it. PDF is a format that is resolution independent. It is designed so that output from a program can be rendered at any eventual resolution at the best possible quality, regardless of what that target device is. It could be a screen, or it could be a professional photolithography printer with thousands of dots per inch. Because PDF contains a description of the output, not the rendered output itself, it is also usually very efficient - it’s already a much smaller file than the equivalent rendered file would be. It’s also possible to embed raster images in a PDF. A raster image is an image that is already in terms of pixels at some fixed resolution. This data is placed into a PDF file as a kind of ‘attachment’ that will be in some subsidiary format, for example JPEG, or TIFF is quite common, especially on Mac. If the PDF contains only data of this type, you are not really gaining much from the PDF format itself, except perhaps a fixed layout. Now consider JPEG. JPEG is a format that is designed for photographic images, and with that type of imagery, it will often compress very well indeed, with not too much subjective quality loss. What JPEG is really bad at is text, line graphics, diagrams - the sort of things that computers typically generate. Exactly the sorts of things that PDF renders really well in fact. So converting PDF to JPEG makes two basic mistakes. First it converts an efficient, resolution independent format to a raster format, immediately losing the resolution independence. Second, it converts stuff like text to a really unsuitable format, which is not designed for that sort of image. If you absolutely have to convert to a raster format, and your PDF contains the sorts of things that JPEG sucks at (text, etc), then a better choice is PNG. This format can’t compress as efficiently as JPEG, but it compresses losslessly, so will work best on things that have crisp edges and lots of whitespace. You still throw away the resolution independence of PDF however. These days, if your destination is the web or a screen in general, you will find that 150 dpi or so is entirely adequate. To achieve that in Preview, when you ‘Export’ a PDF and choose PNG, you can input the desired resolution. Note however, that there is simply no way not to ‘sacrifice resolution’, because PNG is a raster format, and PDF is not. The only time converting PDF to JPEG may make sense is the case where the PDF contains embedded JPEG or TIFF images that are photographic in nature. In that case Preview will most likely re-encode them which incurs some loss of quality, but if you know their original resolution, you can avoid reducing it. But it’s better to not put them into a PDF in the first place if there’s an alternative to doing it. Most Mac apps support TIFF data on the clipboard for images, which is inefficient in terms of data size but incurs no penalty in terms of lossy compression. If you select and ‘copy’ an image in almost any Mac app, then go to Preview and choose ‘New From Clipboard’, you’ll almost always be working with TIFF data in the first place. If the image is photographic in nature, JPEG will work. If it is text or line graphics, PNG will work. Everything is a compromise and requires an informed choice depending on the nature of the data. If you understand what’s going on and the differences between formats, you can make the right choice. PDF -> JPEG is very rare when you know what you’re doing.

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Convert PDF: All You Need to Know

The other type of conversion is the conversion of a PDF to the XPS format. This is usually what happens on the computer that is storing the file, but sometimes it happens by accident. Many people are not aware of this possibility, but it doesn’t really matter, as you don’t need a separate file (it’s more or less the same as the PDF file you downloaded). When you convert XPS files to PDF, it is often not possible to get both PDF and XPS files. I know some users who actually did get PDF and XPS files out of the same file, but they probably don’t matter. The XPS files are usually less than one MB in size, and PDFs usually around two MB. The XPS format is very efficient, so it will often produce a much faster file for that kind of rendering than a JPEG. If.

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