I had a student of mine complain that the .PDF material I’d provided was illegible. I attributed the problem to her ignorance, and to her lack of knowledge of the magnification tool, but the customer is always right, … right? So, I decided to hard copy the material myself and personally hand it in to her at our next class a week away. In the meantime I wanted to convert the .PDF material to something that she may have been more adept at using, even if in a rastorized format. So, I decided to convert the .PDF to –wait for it– .JPGs!
Googling brought me to an article that details a script that converts .PDF to .JPG but –in true mac fashion– it only works with the latest and greatest pay-ware version of OS X, 10.5, while I use 10.4 –leaving murmurers such as myself lost in the wilderness as the faithful continue to the promised land with their glorious and fearless leader, Jobs.
Now, my problem is not with converting .PDF to .JPEG. I think this should easily be possible considering both formats are so pervasive. My problem is that it would seem –according to the Machead in the article previously mentioned– to necessitate underlying technology which only works with 10.5 OS X, and if there are other options for 10.4 users, why not mention them? Well, I found out there are other options, two –of which I’m now aware– in fact.
Using pdfsam and MakeJpeg
Frustrated at the lack of 10.4 support and determined to find a free (or Libre) workaround –even if it involved more than one procedure or program– I soon found out that there is a sips command that converts .PDF to .JPG, but that it only produces single page .PDF documents and, when dealing with a multi-page .PDF document, only accepts the first page. To this end, there is a convenient droplet that uses the sip command called MakeJpeg, but the first page problem remained. Well, I’d forgotten that there is a Libre program called pdfsam that splits up a .PDF document into individual .PDF pages, which MakeJpeg can subsequently convert to the desired end-product.
Note: if your source files are searchable, they will continue to be so as long as they remain PDF files. JPG files aren’t so.
There is a second way to do this that escaped me. And that is to use (I say the following in an “Arnold” tone of voice) “the Automator”. With this method, once you have the script made, it’ll be a one step droplet process of dragging and dropping onto the application script. You need to create it yourself, and it isn’t difficult at all.
Note: this method creates non-searchable image files.
The Automator application will have two sections. (The second really being optional.)
- First, open Automator up and under “PDF” (on the left hand side) select “Render PDF Pages as Images” as process number one. Make sure that the “JPEG image” format is selected. Configure options to your liking.
- Second, select “Preview” (again, located on the left hand column) and select “Open Images in Preview”. That is, if you want to see a preview of said JPEGs.
- Proceed to save the script, by naming it (something such as, “pdf2jpeg”), saving it as an application, and then use it as you would a droplet.
Now when using the Automator application (with both processes as suggested above), Preview will pop up and display the JPEG files during the procedure, so if you’re not adept at using the terminal cp command, just use the “Save as” feature from within Preview for each JPEG image and specify location of where you want to save a permanent copy, but –depending on the amount of images– this might be too repetitive. Otherwise, you could just copy them (and their containing folder [“/private/temp”]) to, say, your Pictures folder with a terminal command such as,
cp -r /private/tmp ~/Pictures
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