Extract Images from a PDF using Preview and iPhoto

The PDF format is one of the most common eBook types that you are likely to come across on the Internet. While OS X supports the reading of PDF files using the application Preview, and Apple’s portable devices now have excellent PDF compatibility with the introduction of the iBooks App, there may be times where you wish to open up a PDF to extract content from it, especially images. This can be particularly true if you are a fan of digital comic books, and would prefer to have a certain PDF comic in the standard CBZ or CBR digital comic formats.

Fortunately, Mac OS X makes it simple to extract the contents of a PDF for converting into other formats or editing of the constituent images, using the Preview and iPhoto applications. In this tutorial, we’ll take you through the steps of converting a PDF to separate image files for further editing.

1.) In this tutorial, we’ll be using a public domain PDF comic file, G.I. Joe #10, available from The Comic Web. To follow the tutorial, you can use any PDF file you have to hand on your hard drive.

2.) Double-click on the PDF file to open it in Preview. Here is the comic as it appears in Preview:

PDF Comic Book opened in Preview on OS X .png

3.) Click on File in the Preview Toolbar and select Print:

Selecting Print from the File Menu in Preview.png

4.) The Print window will open. Notice the drop-down PDF menu in the bottom left corner:

Print Dialog Box in Preview on OS X.png

5.) Click on this and choose Save PDF to iPhoto:

Selecting the Save PDF to iPhoto Option in Preview.png

6.) Preview will process the pages of the PDF. After a short pause, iPhoto will open. iPhoto will import the separated pages of the PDF and place them in a new Album:

Individual PDF Pages opened in iPhoto.png

7.) We can do several things with the separated PDF pages. We can keep them as they are as pictures in our iPhoto Library. If we want to export them to the Desktop or another location, perhaps to create a CBR digital comic file from them, we can Select all the images, click on File, select Export and enter the necessary details in the Export dialog box:

The Export Dialog Box in iPhoto on OS X.png

8.) Because the pages of the PDF have been converted into individual image files, we can edit and manipulate them in the same way we could with any digital image, either in iPhoto or another image editing application. Here, we have used iPhoto to Crop an individual comic book panel, and then used the Effects palette to give it a washed-out, vintage tone:

An Edited PDF Image after Extraction on OS X.png

The Print PDF to iPhoto option in Preview on OS X makes extracting and then editing images contained within PDF files a speedy and simple process, allowing for fast conversion and repurposing of images from PDF sources.

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Extract Images from a PDF using Preview and iPhoto

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