Before I started using Ubuntu I used Nitro PDF reader to automatically extract images from PDF files. Is there a PDF reader for Linux that does this?

I would like to be able to extract images faster/easier than when taking a snapshot.

  • Can you recall how well NitroPDF can do with vector images? Can pdfimages do it better/worser than NitroPDF? – Léo Léopold Hertz 준영 May 6 '16 at 5:12
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of command line tool to bulk extract images from a pdf? – funky-future Aug 3 '17 at 14:43
  • 1
    @funky-future Clearly the two questions are duplicates but your duplicate target has only two answers and one of these two answers is a spam answer, so the direction of the duplication should be reversed to save this question from being hammered by the dupe hammer. – karel Aug 4 '17 at 5:53
up vote 166 down vote accepted

Use pdfimages

pdfimages is a PDF image extractor tool which saves the images in a PDF file to PPM, PBM, JPEG or JPEG 2000 file(s) format.

It's a part of the poppler-utils package, which you'll need to install.

Usage: pdfimages [options] <PDF-file> <image-root>

Example: The following extracts all images from a PDF file, saving them in JPEG format.

pdfimages -j in.pdf /tmp/out

Will save images from PDF file in.pdf in files /tmp/out-000.jpg (or /tmp/out-000.pbm; see below), /tmp/out-001.jpg, etc.

The pdfimages man page explains:

-j:  Normally, all images are written as PBM (for monochrome images) or PPM for
     non-monochrome images) files. With this option,  images in DCT format are
     saved as JPEG files. All non-DCT images are saved in PBM/PPM format as usual.
  • 4
    Would be nice to have a solution that extracts images in its native format. Re-encoding JPEGs is not really ideal. – Christian Jan 14 '14 at 22:26
  • 25
    @Christian from man page -all Write JPEG, JPEG2000, JBIG2, and CCITT images in their native format. CMYK files are written as TIFF files. All other images are written as PNG files. This is equivalent to specifying the options -png -tiff -j -jp2 -jbig2 -ccitt. – wil93 Sep 4 '14 at 16:01
  • 2
    Please note that the -all switch is only supported in recent poppler-utils revisions. For instance, if you are still on 12.04 you won't be able to access this option – Glutanimate Sep 11 '14 at 13:22
  • 1
    If you can't use -all go for the PNM formats. They're lossless, and you can postprocess the images e.g. to PNG. – Tomasz Gandor Jul 1 '15 at 11:12
  • 1
    @Christian, use $ pdfimages -list <PDF-file> to check the original format in "enc" column, so you don't have to re-encode the image to another format. – Jose Barakat May 20 '17 at 1:19

I often use Inkscape for this. Load the page, and delete all the other stuff. The advantage is that you can get vector images in SVG and modify them as you choose.

  • Some PDFs can only be properly imported with Inkscape internal import (poppler/cairo import or pdfimage cannot parse it properly). Once imported, copy & paste image to a new file and resize page to selection – sdaffa23fdsf May 23 '17 at 19:32

You may also try pdfmod. It is a GUI (graphical interface) which can extract images and do other basic pdf manipulation.

  • Hmm, seems bit buggy to me. Inserted a PDF with mainly violet images and got greenish images. – DBX12 Feb 10 at 16:48

I have a double-column PDF file with embedded images created with LaTeX where the original images were provided as EPS. I tried the proposed solution based on pdfimages, but unfortunately, it didn't return any images. I tried then to use Inkscape, but the SVG images it generated were distorted and I had no luck exporting them as EPS either.

The software that worked for we was the MasterPdfEditor.

Here is the procedure

  • Open your file using Master PDF Editor
  • Use the edit tool (Alt+1) to select the image you need to extract
  • Copy the figure (Ctrl+C)
  • Click on the surrounding dashed frame around the image and check out the right sidebar (Object Inspector) and click on "Geomerty". There you can see the size of your selection
  • Create a new file (Ctrl+N). It will prompt you to provide the page size. Provide the exact size of your image and create the new file
  • Now it's a bit tricky: paste the image (Ctrl+V). The image may not show in the new file. Use the arrows to move it until you are able to trace it.
  • Use the arrows to centre the image in the new page
  • Save as PDF

The result is of very high quality, but the software is not free of charge. There is a demo version which "allows you to try all features," but comes with "the addition of a watermark on output file." To be frank, I didn't notice any watermark in the produced PDF.

  • This is Ask Ubuntu... We like open source here and your solution is a closed-source commercial solution... How is this better then the already upvoted answers? (-1 in the mean time) – Fabby Apr 14 '16 at 10:06
  • 1
    @Fabby Thank you for the feedback. I didn't know about it. Is there such a rule on However, as soon as you open Ubuntu software center, you get suggestions for non-free applications. – Pantelis Sopasakis Apr 15 '16 at 18:35
  • No, there's no "rule" and that is why I didn't vote to delete this answer, but there are better tools that are free (as in free beer and free speech) so that's just an opinion. – Fabby Apr 16 '16 at 7:15
  • 1
    +1. I have used the ImageMagick command-line, but this is an interesting solution for someone looking for a GUI. – rpmcruz Jul 18 '16 at 16:41
  • 2
    It works for some people, that's good enough. Don't be a nazi....I don't know who "we" are. You can speak just for yourself. +1 for the answer – sdaffa23fdsf May 23 '17 at 18:57

I use pdfimages which is a command line tool and it works great for me. It is very easy to use and you can use --help option to learn more about its usage. I use Ubuntu and it comes pre-installed. If your pdf files is encrypted or password protected there are options for that, so this tool works great. You can read more about pdfimages here

  • 3
    Please read other answers before posting yours. Notice there's other which covers this. – edwin Jul 24 '13 at 2:02
  • Ok , sorry :) I thought to post mine because it has some info about password protected pdf files and i explain that this tool has this options , plus i posted a link which is a tutorial about this tool. – jetbird13 Jul 24 '13 at 2:37
  • If you gain enough reputation, you can comment on other's answers or upvoted them. – edwin Jul 24 '13 at 4:28

If what you need is a cropped image in pdf/eps format, then extract a page with the image using pdfmod (as suggested by To Do).

Then using pdfcrop you may crop it properly setting margins by trial and error:

pdfcrop --margins "-15 -50 0 -140" extracted_page.pdf

With pdfimages the extracted image may be in two or more parts. A simple way to put them together again with no worries about extracted formats is to import the parts into LibreOffice Draw, crop with the image crop dialogue, position the parts, adjust the page size and export in whatever format you prefer.

If you want to crop a image from a pdf with a pdfviewer, you can try okular. It can crop anything (texts or images) in png or jpeg format. If you want to extract images in png format from a pdf, you can do it with minimal command with pdftohtml. It converts pdf to html plus images. Here you can find an example - . If you want to extract many images from a pdf, I suggest you to try this.

Your Answer


By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.