Edit Vector PDF – Know Your PDF File Types
It’s easy to tell the difference between vector and raster PDF files by viewing them in Adobe Acrobat. This is important since the two file types are converted differently. Vector PDF files are best transformed through data extraction. This is accurate and precise and involves minimal manual clean-up. Raster PDF files are traced since there is no data to extract. This is an approximation and requires operator involvement as well as manual clean-up. Visual Integrity is specialized in tools for vector conversion and will produce high-quality, accurate drawings from vector PDF input. If a raster PDF or scanned drawing is run through our software, we will turn the flat image into a tracing layer for manual work-up.
If you need to:
- Use PDF in a CAD/CAM program, look at pdf2cad, PDFin for AutoCAD, pdf2bricscad, PDF Import for DraftSight, PDFImport for ProgeCAD.
- Open and edit vector PDF diagrams in Visio, check out Insert PDF for Visio or pdf2picture
- Transform a PDF page into an editable PowerPoint slide, try Insert PDF in PowerPoint
- Work with PDF-based graphics such as logos, drawings, diagrams and charts, look at pdf2picture
- Convert PDF to image formats, try pdf2picture
- Convert a scanned drawing to an editable file, try the tracing tools in Adobe Illustrator or search on-line for “raster-to-vector” solutions
- Add PDF support to an application or automate a PDF conversion or creation process, check out our Developer Center
Test #1 – The Blue Test
Start by opening your PDF file with Acrobat or Acrobat Reader. Click anywhere on the drawing. If it turns blue, it’s a scanned drawing. Depending on the quality of the scan, you may have some success with a raster-to-vector tool. Alternatives are to manually redraw it or outsource it to be redrawn by a service bureau.
Test #2 – The Zoom Test
Open your PDF file with Acrobat or Acrobat Reader. Use the Magnifying Control to zoom in on a detailed section of the file. At 100-150%, it may be hard to tell the difference. Continue zooming until you are at a magnification greater than 400%.
Side-by-Side Comparison to See the Difference Between Vector and Raster PDF
The section of the picture should be magnified on your screen and it should become apparent whether you have a vector or raster PDF file. The Vector PDF file will look clear and smooth at any resolution while the raster PDF will become dirtier and grainier the more it’s zoomed. In the example below, the section is enlarged 400%. Sometimes, it’s necessary to magnify the file more than 1000% when it’s a high-res scan to determine the file type. It would be possible to edit the vector PDF on the left but not the raster PDF on the right.
PDF Conversion Options
Below is a summary of all PDF conversion options available in pdf2cad, pdf2picture and PDF FLY. These options and more are also available to developers via the PDF Conversion SDK/API or command line tools.
General Settings Tab
Characters as Strings. Combines characters into words, and words into text strings, based on context.
Convert Characters to Curves. Creates a visual graphic match for text defined with unknown or unavailable fonts.
Rotate: Rotates drawing any degree in either direction.
Scale Text: Enlarges or reduces the size of the text in the converted file.
Emulate PDF cropping: Cropping removes unnecessary outer areas of a drawing. PDF supports cropping but some vector formats (WMF, CGM, DXF and HPGL) don’t. Without cropping, these formats would transfer unwanted elements during conversion. Activate ‘Emulate PDF cropping’ to ensue clean borders. Using this feature, the resulting file will match the original.PDF.
Show Font Warning: If the fonts in a PDF file are not installed on your computer, the text will not look right. Font mapping ensures the closest match possible. It also compensates for different font naming conventions across systems.
Ignore paths, text images: Turn certain elements on or off during conversion.
CAD Format: Choose your output format. DWG for AutoCAD, DXF for most engineering and technical programs and HPGL for plotter specific applications.
Font Mappings Tab
Page Settings Tab
The Page Settings control options that apply to all files. All of the other option vary depending on whether you choose a vector or bitmap output format.
Crop Picture: Remove Margin: By default, the margins of the PDF file are used. This setting can adjust or remove white space.
Page Size: pdf2cad will automatically figure out the page size. If you want to force a standard or custom page size, select it or enter dimensions.
Convert Range: pdf2cad, by default, will convert all pages of a file. You can set a page range if you only want selected pages.
Page Mapping: By default, a multi-page PDF file converts into a vector page for each PDF page. Other choices included include merging all pages into one file and applying horizotal or vertical alignment.
DWG and DXF Format Specific Options
Advanced DXF and DWG Options
Expert CAD Options
Converting multiple files is also called batch mode and all of our products support it. To specify more than one file, use the “Add” button. Once you have specified your first files, you can remove files and add files until you have the batch of files together that you want to convert.
WMF, or Windows Metafile, is the original 16-bit metafile format. It is the native vector graphics format for the Microsoft Windows platform. It is also the standard format for scalable graphics in Microsoft Office and many other Windows applications. Even though it has been enhanced and extended as a 32-bit format (EMF -Enhanced Metafile), WMF is still the most widely used and supported metafile format on the Windows platform.
Several vector formats such as WMF, CGM, DXF and HPGL do not support cropping. This is the act of cutting away and discarding the unnecessary portions of the picture such as extraneous fills and other elements. PDF and PostScript, both very robust and complete formats, do support it. To bridge the gap, Visual Integrity has developed a proprietary method to simulate cropping. When applied during conversion, the resulting file will appear cropped just like the original.
To apply it, select the “Emulate PS/PDF cropping” feature in the General tab of the Options menu.
The font glyphs of the 13 standard PostScript fonts are included.
If you need to convert to an image format or the text to curves/polys (= emulate) in a vector format either the font must be one of the 13 standard fonts or the font should be embedded within the PDF or PostScript file. Contact email@example.com if you want to add font glyphs.