Your drawing is probably scanned. This process flattens it into one bitmap raster image which removes all the information about how the drawing was created or what it even is. As a result, it can not be redrawn or exploded into objects by pdf2cad. The most we can do with scanned files, is to create a high-quality copy to be used as a tracing layer in your CAD program.
If you look in the directory where the file was saved, you’ll notice that two or more files were created – a DXF and at least one TIFF or JPEG image. The DXF references the image(s) and assembles them on-screen when loaded. They must be in the same directory as the DXF file or the DXF file will look empty. This blank page effect will also occur if your CAD package does not support raster images.

If you want to try to create vector objects from a scanned drawing, you need a different class of software called “raster to vector”. This is an extremely difficult thing to do well. We recommend you start at They have a good product which performs specialized raster-to-vector conversion.

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Red Hat is our development platform so it’s the flavor we officially support. Since our software is developed with best practices and is very portable, it should run on other compliant Linux platforms. We have had customers report successful installations on other Linux versions such as FreeBSD and SuSe (64-bit AMD). If you are running a different Linux version than Red Hat, please do try to install the Linux version and let us know how it works. In addition to Linux, we also have versions available for Sun Solaris, HP-UX, IBM AIX, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows.

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Visual Integrity is well know for turning PDF into other formats but our software is also an excellent choice for creating PDF files. Unlike other technologies which use printer-drivers as an intermediate step to create their PDF-files, we have developed core technology which generates the PDF-file directly from within our engine. This leads to a faster, more accurate conversion.

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As easy way to see if your PDF file contains vector or bitmap content is to magnify the drawing to more than 800%. If you see smooth curves and straight lines, it’s a vector file and the conversion results will be successful. If what you see on screen looks jagged, ragged or pixelated, it is a bitmap file and you will only be able to create a drawing template to aid in redrawing the file in your engineering application.

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Yes. pdf2cad and PDF FLY can both generate DWG. In addition to the native AutoCAD format, both products can also produce DXF and HPGL.

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When a CAD drawing is saved as a PDF file, it still retains information about layers that can be extracted. When converting, pdf2cad looks at color attributes, or other definitions in the PDF file, to create layers. If the option to recognize layers is turned on, pdf2cad gathers all objects with same color and put them on one layer. If the PDF file has three colors, the resulting DXF file will have three layers. It is then easy in AutoCAD to turn off a complete layer. This setting can be found in the Options->DXF tab of PDF FLY or simply under Options in pdf2cad.

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Yes! We have developed a intelligent mechanism to “recognize” circles/ellipses out of a set of polylines or bezier curves. It’s a standard feature of pdf2cad.

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The hatching in your PDF-file is done with a pattern fill. Patterns fills are not recognized or supported in the DXF format. Since it can not understand the hatch, pdf2cad maps it to a grey value which can be manually modified once in AutoCAD or whatever editing application you use.

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PDF Fly is a complete suite containing all of our input and output modules. It is used by technical writers and engineering professionals who need to convert a variety of formats with a high degree of accuracy. It  costs $295. PDF Fly converts PDF, PostScript and EPS into the following formats:

  • vector: WMF, EMF, SVG, CGM, EPS, PDF, PS, DXF, HPGL
  • image: TIFF, GIF, JPEG, PNG, BMP
  • text: stripped ASCII text, text with placement

pdf2cad is designed especially for CAD users and costs just $195. It is a subset of PDF FLY and converts only from PDF into DXF or HPGL. It contains all of the features and power of PDF FLY for these selected formats.

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If you want to edit the graphics in a PDF file in Microsoft Office or Visio, you’ll want to try pdf2picture. It operates in both vector and image mode and you can choose which is most appropriate at the time of conversion. Vector mode explodes the file into editable text and objects while image mode makes a high-fidelity copy of the file in an MS Office friendly format.

pdf2image is also available as a low cost option when you just need to use raster image formats. It is ideal for those who work on websites or printed publications like newsletters, brochures and customer bulletins.

To use the graphics produced by either pdf2image or pdf2picture in MS Office, you use Insert > Picture > From File… to add  the converted graphics into your document. If you used vector mode (Windows Metafile WMF/EMF), you can now edit text and graphic elements using the Office drawing tools.

Note: Neither pdf2image or pdf2picture are for converting Word documents or reports heavy in text.

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No, neither Acrobat nor GhostScript are required. All of our products are standalone tools, completely self-contained, and based on our powerful engine developed, improved and extended over almost two decades. Our products are not based on print drivers as brokers so the conversions are more pure and accurate. Everything that you need to run them on your desktop or to use them for you development is included in your delivery download.

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Visual Integrity has a number of conversion products for end-users:

  • pdf2image ( for conversion of PDF files to image formats
  • pd2picture ( for conversion of PDF file to image and vector (Windows Metafile) formats
  • pdf2cad ( for conversion of vector PDF files to CAD vector formats
  • PDF FLY ( includes all the output formats of pd2image, pdf2picture and pdf2cad. In addition, it also supports PostScript and EPS as input formats.

In addition, we offer a range of tools for both application developers and systems integrators. The PDF Pro series is an affordable, entry level line for in-house and non-commercial developers. FLY Batch delivers enterprise power for automated server-side conversion. FLY SDK offers a DLL or command-line interface for integrating PDF import, conversion and creation in applications.

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The software has been designed to be very easy to use and involves just a few simple steps:

  1. Select the PDF file you want to convert
  2. Change or customize settings by clicking on the Options button
  3. Change the name and location of the output file, if desired
  4. Convert!

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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.

Conversion options - general settings

General Settings Tab

  • Characters as Strings Combines characters into words, and words into text strings, based on context.
  • Convert Characters to CurvesCreates 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’tWithout 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 mapping dialog

Font Mappings Tab

Text converts fine when PDF files use standard fonts. If text converts but doesn’t display right, you have a font mapping issue.
Fonts are a tricky subject. Installed fonts differ from system to system. Sometimes, the same font may even go by different names. For a perfect conversion, the same font needs to be on the source and target system. License agreements protect font vendors from illegal use of their typefaces. Embed only system fonts and permitted fonts. For more detail on font issues, read PDF Font Mapping When Converting Files and PDF Fonts: Embedding and Substitution from Adobe
Document fonts display based on comparing the font name in the PDF file with the font name on your system. If the fonts on your PC match the PDF, the file will look perfect. Often, the font names don’t match and the text looks ‘off’ . The first thing to check is whether you have a font name mismatch. Arial Bold, for example, may be “EHJPKB+Arial-Bold” in the original file. The same font is “Arial” on your PC. When you match the two, it’s known as “Font Mapping”. In this example, map “EHJPKB_Arial-Bold” to “Arial” with font style “Bold”. If you can’t make a successful match, we substitute the closest font. This is “Font Substitution” and is automatic.
PDF conversion page options

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.

PDF to DWG DXF format specific options

DWG and DXF Format Specific Options

The PDF Conversion Options for DWG and DXF options apply to specific CAD drawing features.
Scaling Factor:  CAD programs define dimension in units. These units disappear when creating a PDF file but the scale remains. You can set a scaling factor for the x-y relationship during conversion. You can also set the units when you open the converted file in your CAD program. By default, pdf2cad uses 1mm (0,03937 inch) = 1 unit in the CAD output. To learn more about CAD units, read Units and Scales
Precision Factor: The default precision is set to 10. Sometimes, it will help increase coordinate accuracy to change this to 1 or to 100. If none of these settings provide desirable results, please send us the file to diagnose.
Paths as Polylines/Polygons: PDF doesn’t understand objects or their relationships. To compensate for this,, use our object recognition engine. It identifies lines and curves and renders them as shapes. Polylines are a connected sequence of lines and arcs that create a single object. Polygons are shapes with straight sides.
Layers: By default, all objects are on one layer. You can separate layers by color, line width, PDF layers, spot colors or a combination of color and line width.
Minimum line width: Defines the smallest line width for each vector object in mm. The default is 0.
Zero line width: Removes 3D effects
Dashed and Dotted lines as segments: PDF sees dashed and dotted lines as lots of individual lines. By selecting this feature, the lines will converted into whole lines with a pattern.
Fill option: Sometimes, white fills in a PDF file show up as black fills in a DXF file. If this is a problem, use this option to ignore white fills.
Advanced PDF Conversion Options

Advanced DXF and DWG Options

Recognize Circles/Ellipses: Our object recognition engine identifies closed polygons and circular paths. Convert them into circular and elliptical shapes.
Recognize Horizontal/Vertical Dashed Lines: Create one line object with a line-style attribute.
Error Tolerance: This is a tolerance level set for recognition of CAD objects. If one point on the closed polyline is outside of the specified range, it will remain a polyline.
Kerning Factor: This setting controls the space between letters or characters. Apply a kerning factor to make the space between characters wider or more narrow. A factor of 1.2 would increase the space by 120%, Important Note! A spacing problem may not be a kerning issue at all. It may be due to a font mismatch and is best solved through font mapping.
Compound Objects: A compound object is a group of objects that make up a discreet item. The object recognition engine identifies objects to group into compound objects. If you want all graphics to remain as singular objects, turn this off.
Convert Hidden Text Objects: PDF files can have transparent text or text hidden under an object. This PDF Conversion Options converts all text on the page, including hidden text.
Fit Drawing: This option scales the converted PDF to be fully visible on the page when opened in a CAD program.
Include AI Prologue File: Early Adobe Illustrator files (v8 or earlier) need an AI prologue file to convert. Only use this option if needed. Starting with Illustrator version 9, the AI file is PDF compatible.
Custom Line Styles: Map line styles in the PDF to custom line styles in the CAD file.
Use True Color: Uses RGB true color values in the CAD file. By default, files use an indexed 256-color table. 

expert options

Expert CAD Options

Password Protected PDF. If the PDF file you are converting has a password, enter it here.
First Page Number. When unchecked, the first converted page will be the same as the file name. For example, page one of myfile.pdf becomes myfile.dxf. Checking this option adds a numeric suffix. In our myfile.pdf example, the first page comes out as myfile-1.dxf (followed by myfile-2.dxf, etc.). 
Number of Digits. If you choose the ‘First Page Number’ option, enter the number of digits for the suffix. A value of 0 makes page 2 of myfile.dxf will come out as myfile-2.dxf; page 3 as myfile-3.dxf, etc. Setting this option to 4, will add a 4 digit suffix (myfile-0002.dxf). Using this feature ensures logical alphanumeric listings in document management systems.
Filename is directory. When checked the file destination is a new directory. The directory is the chosen output name with no file extension. The converted files save to this directory using only their page number.
Show image warning. Check this option if you want alerts when the input file (PDF, EPS or AI) contains images. Images appear in the CAD output as non-editable IMAGE objects.
Z-Order Image Objects. Z-Order refers to the order of overlapping objects. The order in the PDF file is the default. You can place images at the back or reversed at the back of the drawing. This is useful when PDF images are transparent since IMAGE objects in DWG or DXF are opaque. 
Convert cropped images to color lines. DWG and DXF don’t support image cropping. Using this option is useful with small cropped images. It converts them to color lines and crops them that way.
Ignore Image Objects Size Less Than. This option strips small image objects during conversion.

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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.

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Products from Visual Integrity are designed to convert all well-formed PDF files. If a PDF file was created in an application, it should convert successfully in either vector or image mode. However, if a PDF file was created by a scanner and has already been reduced in the process to a flat image, it will only convert in image mode. If you encounter a file that does not convert or returns errors, send it to us so we can troubleshoot it. These problems are most often caused by poorly formed PDF files.

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There are two basic formats for graphics – vector and image. Vector graphics are made up of objects, lines, curves and text while images are made up of a collection of dots or pixels. Images are also referred to as bitmaps or rasters.

Visual Integrity can convert most PDF files into either vector or image formats. It’s important to know which is best for the job you are doing.

If you need to break a PDF file down into objects and text for editing, then you want to choose a vector format. The vector formats supported in our software are DXF, PDF, PS, EPS, SVG, WMF, EMF, CGM, HPGL and MIF.

If you do not need to edit the file and simply want a sharp copy to insert into a document or to publish on a web-site, you’ll want to go with image formats. The image formats that we support are TIFF, GIF, PNG, JPEG and BMP. If you will be printing the graphic on a laser or ink-jet printer, convert at 150 or 300 dpi (dots per inch) resolution. If publishing to a web-site, use 96 or 72 dpi is best for screen display. Keep in mind that the higher the dpi (resolution), the larger the file size. It’s best to use the lowest resolution which achieves the level of quality you want.

Note! Scanned images can not be transformed by vector mode into lines, text and other vector objects because they are not vector source files. Instead, you will get an exact replica of the PDF as an image that can be used as a tracing layer which aids in the duplication effort. To convert scanned images into vector objects, you need a special class of software called “raster to vector”.

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This is very unusual. It’s possible that a setting needs to be adjusted. For example, check the “Options -> Pages” tab and make sure that it is set to convert all pages and not just a page rage that may not exist (retained from a previous conversion). Beyond this, we can not assess the problem without seeing your file. Your file could be corrupt or our conversion engine might not be able to digest it properly because it is poorly formed. Please send the file to for analysis, and let us know what product and version you are using.

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When adding files, pdf2image, pdf2picture and pdf2cad will only display files with a .pdf extension. If the file you want to convert has a different extension, but you are sure that it is a PDF file, you should rename it to include a .pdf extension. PDF FLY is capable of digesting more input formats so it expects files with a .pdf, .ps, .eps or .prn extension.

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Visual Integrity products are designed to generate editable files (vector files) whenever possible. The success depends, however on the type of input. There are two types of PDF files – vector and bitmap.

Vector PDF files contain data defining all of the objects and text in the file.  They are scalable and resolution independent. No matter how large you magnify them or how small you make them, they will look great. Our software will convert any vector PDF files into an editable vector file.

Bitmap or Raster PDFs are usually created by scanners or received by fax software. During the process, all of the file information is flattened into one image comprised of dots. When magnified, a bitmap PDF file looks very jagged. Our software will convert bitmap PDF’s in image mode and you will get a high-fidelity reproduction which can be inserted into your document or presentation but which can not be edited.

Once you know what kind of PDF file you have, you will know whether it will convert into an editable vector file or not. If you are interested in converting a scanned drawing or bitmap PDF into vectors, you need to look for a different class of software. Try searching for “raster to vector” or raster2vector” in a search engine to find potential products.

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When you buy a license or register for evaluation, we will provide you with a “Download Now” link for your product. Click on the link to start the download. We recommend that you save this file to your hard-disk (choose location) and then simply double-click on it to start the installation process. Follow the instructions until installation is complete.

For batch automation (FLY Batch and PDF Pro CL): In order to enable the batch conversion engine for use via the command-line, you must add the installation path for the software to your %path% variable.

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There are a few reasons why a download may not go smoothly:

  1. Try downloading again directly from our site. Evaluation versions of our products are available from popular external download sites and the hosted version may not be current.
  2. Try again in 5 minutes. It may have just been a temporary Internet connection problem.
  3. Check with your system administrator to see if you are allowed to download .exe files from the Internet. Your company firewall or security policy could be preventing you from getting the download. If this is the case, let us know and we can point you to an alternative download via FTP or ZIP file.

For further assistance, please contact If needed we can also send you the software via email.

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Not anymore! We listened to feedback and have done away with the watermarked eval on the end-user licenses. Now, you can try a fully-functional version of any product for 30-days. Once it expires, it must be purchased or it will no longer operate. Since developers may need longer with the software, we have left the watermark on these versions and they continue to be available without any time limitation.

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By default, our software is placed in C:/Program Files/Visual Integrity unless you specify a different location during installation. The Visual Integrity folder will have a subfolder for each product, for example, pdf2image, pdf2picture, PDF FLY, etc, which contains all the relevant files. The .exe file with the name of your product (for example, pdf2picture.exe, pdffly.exe, etc) is the actual conversion program. Double-clicking on it will launch it.

In addition during installation, you are asked if you want icons placed on your desktop and you quick launch bar. To revisit this, just reinstall the software.

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Evaluation versions of all Visual Integrity products operate with full functionality for 30days, after which they time-out. This is generally sufficient time to assess whether they will be a good solution for you. It is possible to extend the evaluation if necessary. In order request an extension, please contact us. We can also help you to test a product, by converting sample files for you. The results will be sent back to you by email.

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Yes. We can send you a license key to unlock it. Just give us a call. Alternatively, if you place your order online, you will be presented with a fully serialized and licensed version. You can burn it on a CD for your archives and then install it to ensure that you have the latest version. There is no need to remove the previous version. The new version with overwrite the evaluation version and apply your unique activation key automatically.

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Most customers purchase online and receive their fully licensed download link immediately. There’s nothing more to do. However, if you purchase via selected resellers or directly from Visual Integrity with a purchase order or check, your order is manually processed. In this case, an email with a license key is sent which unlocks the software for permanent use. If you have lost the instructions or your license key, please email support@visual-integrity.comand we will be glad to assist you.

Note! If you are expecting a manual confirmation and have not received it, please check your spam filters and firewalls to ensure that they have not blocked the mail containing the license key.

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All of our desktop products are based on the same engine that drives our developer tools. Because of this, we recommend a two-step approach to evaluations. First, get a reliable indication of the core functionality and output quality by performing test conversions simply using end-user 30-day trial versions. Then, using additional documentation, the same standard Windows download will also allow testing of the command line, which is a straight-forward interface for many development environments. Contact us for instructions on how to use it if the information provided on the web-site is not sufficient. Evaluations of the API/DLL are available for download also. Please contact for the download link.

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Visual Integrity offers two different approaches for accessing and integrating our conversion framework into a process or application. Depending on which is more appropriate for your needs, you’ll either use:

  • FLY Batch to call the batch executable via the command line
  • FLY SDK to make VB/C++ API calls to the DLL engine

FLY Batch is used via the command line to automate conversions as part of a larger process or work-flow. It works without user intervention based on scripted calls or watch folders. It supports many standard image and vector output formats as well as text. Output can be highly customized using intelligent filter options which are applied as part of the conversion.

The API developer tool, FLY SDK, calls the DLL engine from a VB/C++ program is a separate file containing LIB and header files and sample source code. It requires a license code to be unlocked. The DLL can be used to convert specified files or via Windows GDI calls.

For both the FLY Batch (command-line) and FLY SDK (API/DLL), all filter parameters such as rotation, resolution and font mapping are defined in the tgc.ini file. An overview of the options and their use is available in PDF format below. These options are checked and applied during conversion to the output format.

Developers need to download and install the current version of PDF FLY or META FLY, which is the same product that end users download. This includes all developer interfaces and the DLL’s as well. It also includes all of the command line scripts. When called from the command line, the software will run in evaluation mode by default stamping a watermark on every output file. The license key file received upon purchase removes the watermark.

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Yes!. We offer the PDF Pro Series, a collection of robust, value-priced SDKs for corporate and limited commercial development for converting PDF into other formats. FLY SDK provides robust functionality for OEM’s and commercial developers. Please contact us to discuss your project and get onto a fast-track evaluation. We’ll help you tune the parameters and optimize the results to ensure your integration is smooth and makes the most of our SDK.

See for more information !

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FLY Batch is for process automation, integration and server-side automation. The powerful batch executable allows you to invoke the DLL engine via the command line. The functionality is embedded in the standard PDF FLY and META FLY downloads for evaluation.

In order to enable the batch conversion engine for use via the command-line, you must add the installation path for the software to your %path% variable. This can be done via the Control Panel -> System -> Advanced->Environment
%path% variable

By default PDF FLY is installed in C:/Program Files/Visual Integrity/PDF FLY
This installation path must be added to the %path% directory.
On the command line you can do this by:
Set path=%path%;”C:/Program Files/Visual Integrity/PDF FLY v__” (fill in version number)

FLY Batch for PDF and PostScript (Adobe PostScript, EPS and PDF input)

  • To convert PDF files, run pdf2xxx. Settings for pdf2xxx are defined in the pdf2xxx.ini file.
  • To convert PS or EPS files, run ps2xxx. Settings for ps2xxx are defined in the ps2xxx.ini file.

FLY Batch for Metafiles (WMF and EMF input)

  • To convert WMF files, run wmf2xxx. Settings for wmf2xxx are defined in the wmf2xxx.ini file.
  • To convert EMF files, run emf2xxx. Settings for emf2xxx are defined in the emf2xxx.ini file.

General Usage:

  • See the “options” PDF file for an overview of the variables and their use. You can open and edit the .ini files with a text editor like Notepad. The pdf2xxx.ini file is used for PDF and the ps2xxx.ini file is used for PostScript and EPS.
  • The extension of your source file determines which conversion filter will be invoked.

So, for example, to convert myfile.eps to myfile.svg run: ps2xxx myfile.eps myfile.svg.

To convert myfile.wmf to yourfile.jpg run: wmf2xxx myfile.wmf yourfile.jpg.

To convert foo.pdf to for example foo.gif run: pdf2xxx foo.pdf foo.gif

Need help? Call us or email

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FLY SDK is a very powerful conversion engine yet simple to integrate into your application code. You just need to customize your conversion profile (.ini) and then hook into the engine. Only two API calls are needed to convert to any of the vector or bitmap output formats, Below are some examples:

Convert to 4dbar.wmf using the ps2xxx.ini configuration file
VgPsLoadOptions(PS2XXX, “ps2xxx.ini”);
VgPsConvert(“”, “4dbar.wmf”, PWMF, NULL);

Convert 4dbar.pdf to 4dbar.png using the pdf2xxx.ini configuration file
VgPsLoadOptions(PDF2XXX, “pdf2xxx.ini”);
VgPsBitmapConvert(“4dbar.pdf”, “4dbar.png”, PNG, NULL);

Convert 4dbar.emf to 4dbar.svg using the emfxxx.ini configuration file
VgPsLoadOptions(EMF2XXX, “emf2xxx.ini”);
VgEmfFileFlowTo(“4Dbar.emf”, SVG, “4Dbar.svg”);

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The FLY SDK API has been extended with a powerful, new option to parse through a list of text, vector and image objects in a PDF-file and then edit, delete or add objects to the page. This page can then be generated as a PDF file or any of our other output formats which include DXF, HP-GL/II, WMF, EMF, CGM, MIF, SVG, ASCII, TIFF, BMP, JPEG, GIF, EPS, and PostScript. This new feature hold significance in the regulation and compliancy markets, among others, where it’s important to remove or redact privacy-related information from files.

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The new “Merge & Mark” feature allows you to add any PDF, EPS or PS file during your conversion as a background, watermark or stamp to the files that you are converting. This new merged file can then be fed to the conversion engine and output in any of the supported vector and image formats.

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Ungroup File to Access Objects and Text

When a PDF opens in an editing program, the graphic is grouped as one object. Ungroup the file to access objects and text in your PDF file for modification. ungroup file to access objects and text

For nested graphics, or those with many layers, upgroup the file as many times as necessary. It may take a few tries to access specific objects and text in your PDF file. Ungrouping 2-3 times is not uncommon.
The concept of grouping is crucial to the integrity of your graphics. When all elements of a drawing group together, they scale and move in concert. If ungrouped, scaling results in skewed dimensions and individual elements are easily misplaced. Best use for the two modes includes:

  • Group when working on the graphic as a whole. Move, resize, rotate
  • Ungroup to work on a specific element or area of the graphic. Once done, regroup to ensure integrity
  • Nest objects to make work on a complex drawing easier. When you ungroup the drawing the first time, nested groups remain grouped. In the example below, each color represents a nested object. Ungrouping one nested object for editing leaves the others safe from changes.

nested objects in grouped drawing represented by different colors

We’ve made a tip sheet on ungrouping files to modify objects and text in PDF files for each Microsoft Office application. Please download the ones that are of interest to you or visit the pdf2picture online tutorials.

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pdf2picture converts PDF files into bitmap images as well as WMF, the native vector graphics format for Microsoft Windows. All of the Microsoft Office applications, including PowerPoint and Visio allow import of a variety of graphic types using “Insert, Picture from File”. Depending on the job, you’ll want to convert using either vector or image mode:

Vector Mode– If you want to edit text or modify the graphic, you’ll want to choose a vector format – either WMF or EMF. Once you have your scalable file, follow the instructions to insert it onto a slide as editable objects. If you notice any problems with the appearance of your text, please see our font troubleshooting tips for how to map them. The fonts defined in the original file may not be on the target system or have a slightly different name.

Image Mode – If you want a true replica of the original file and do not have a need to modify the information, then choose image mode (PNG, GIF, JPEG). It will create a smaller file with high-fidelity.

In pdf2picture, WMF or EMF should be chosen if any of the following are of primary importance:

  • scalability
  • editability
  • ability to magnify with losing sharpness

In the following case, image mode should be chosen when:

  • No further editing is required
  • Image will not be scaled up in size
  • An absolutely identical match is required
  • to lock or protect the information from editing or copying

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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.

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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.

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Although pdf2cad is not available for UNIX or Linux, the PDF to DXF conversion capability is part of PDF FLY which is available on Mac OS X, Sun Solaris, HP-UX, IBM AIX and Linux. The Linux version, developed on Red Hat, also runs successfully on other Linux implementations, such as FreeBSD and SuSe. For all of the UNIX/Linux platforms, the PDF to DXF functionality is accessed via a straightforward command line tool, offering the same core functionality as pdf2cad on Windows. For more information, visit

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The DXF file format does not define physical dimensions using absolute measurements from a ruler. Instead it uses units which the user defines. When you create a PDF file from a CAD drawing, it is transformed to paper/print dimensions and the meaning of the original CAD units are lost but the xy relationship remains. As a result, pdf2cad can not restore the intended dimensions but it does preserve the scale. This means that you can calculate a scaling factor to apply during the conversion to achieve the size drawing you want. By default, pdf2cad uses 1mm(0,03937 inch) in the PDF = 1 unit in the DXF. You can change this under the DXF Options tab. You can also scale the DXF after import into your CAD application.

Tip: Sometimes pdf2cad delivers better precision and more accurate coordinates if you change one of the values in your pdf2cad.ini file. Please try setting the ctm_scale to 10.0 instead of 1.0 (default) in the pdf2cad.ini file. If this does not help, please send us the file to diagnose.

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If the PDF file contains characters, pdf2cad will convert them and map them as MTEXT objects in the DXF file. Unfortunately, when creating a PDF file from a CAD drawing, the text is not always retained. Sometimes it is “plotted” as pen strokes or turned into curves. When this happens, the character definition is lost. There is nothing that pdf2cad can do about this – it can only reproduce the curves (=SPLINES entities) in the DXF file. What looks like text in the original file may actually just be an object, comprised of a series of pen strokes that looks like a letter.

Tip: to see if the text in your PDF drawing is live and searchable, open the PDF file in Acrobat (Reader) and use the Text Select tool. If you cannot highlight any words, the text is already outlined to curves. If a PDF file contains searchable text, pdf2cad will reproduce it as MTEXT in the DXF file, preserving the fonts and styles.
Tip: To create a PDF with searchable text from AutoCAD, make sure to use TrueType fonts in the drawing and ensure that your printer driver is set to retain text as text instead of converting it to curves.  Text can be lost in either of these two steps in creating a PDF file. See how to create a PDF file with searchable text from CAD Digest.
Tip: if your PDF files contain non-Roman font text (such as Chinese, Arabic or Cyrillic), or if the text looks garbled in the DXF output, try using the “Convert characters to curves” option in the General tab of the Options menu of pdf2cad. This outlines the text during conversion to ensure WYSIWYG rendering (not editable).

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pdf2cad will convert a “batch” of files when requested by the user. It’s as easy to convert an entire directory of files as it is to convert one file. That said, sometimes, companies want to use a watch folder or use scripts to automate conversion. When this is required, you’ll want to use FLY Batch. PDF to DXF is one of the modules in FLY Batch, a command line driven batch conversion engine that’s easily scripted for automated, central, high-volume or real-time processing. It runs on Windows, Mac, Linux and UNIX platforms.

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pdf2cad is designed to convert vector PDF files which are generated by other applications using print, export or save-as. They contain all the data about the drawing which is accurately extracted as editable CAD objects. Since scanned drawings (raster PDF) have been flattened and reduced to bitmap images, we can not reassemble them into objects. We do however convert them into a tracing layer which is referenced in the DXF file and supported in programs such as AutoCAD. If you need to create a vector file from this file, you can use the tracing layer as a guide for redrawing the file or use a different class of software called raster-to-vector to try to generate objects. In order to see or use the tracing layer, your target application must be able to open DXF files and display referenced images. Our conversion of a scanned PDF produces a blank DXF file and one or more image files in either the TIFF or JPEG format. They referenced images must be located in the same directory as the DXF file to be displayed. Otherwise, you will see a blank page.

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When you see a width dimension or what look like very fat lines in the drawing, you need to adjust the line width setting. It’s possible to turn off (reduce to zero) the line weight on the DXF Options tab or via Command Line. Change the value of the function zero_linewidth from 0 to 1 in the pdf2cad.ini, which is in the installation directory of pdf2cad and rerun the conversion. The installation directoryby default is C:Program FilesVisual Integritypdf2cad.

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When the PDF file was created, the dashed lines were created as small individual line segments. Because of this attribute in the PDF file, pdf2cad converts them as small line segments in the DXF file. pdf2cad does not yet have an option to recognize these segments. as a line with a certain dashed-line attribute.

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Not yet, but it is a frequent request and we have added it to the development schedule. We do not have a release date scheduled. Please email for an update on availability.

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Probably. The file format used by Microsoft Office does not embed fonts. Instead, it loads fonts based on reference when the file is opened. If the font specified does not reside on your system, the closest will be substituted. To add to the challenge, it expects the fonts on you system to use exactly the same name as the fonts in the file which is often not the case. Two different applications may define the exact same font with slightly different names. When you want to ensure a great match, you need to create a font mapping.

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PDF Fonts Not Displaying Correctly?

Using the perfect font can make or break the impact a document has. Fonts are also complicated. If you have a PDF file which is not displaying well, it’s likely that PDF font mapping is the culprit.

A PDF document expects to have its fonts installed wherever it’s viewed. When it’s opened, the PDF matches its referenced fonts to the local system’s fonts. If all the fonts are available, the document looks great. Success relies on the set of fonts available of the viewing PC. Using standard system fonts as much as possible will help prevent font mismatches. An exception is branding, where the font used is a valuable, recognizable asset. It should never become compromised.

Listing of standard fonts by system

Top 5 Reasons Fonts Don’t Display Right

1. Font Substitution

When the PDF file can’t find the same font on the reader’s PC, it will choose the closest substitute. This may be almost impossible to see or very obvious. It all depends on the font chosen as a substitute. There are three basic options when dealing with font substitution:

  • Accept the substitution if it’s a minor difference
  • Buy the missing font and install it on your system
  • Define a font-mapping (see below) if possible

Example of a font substitution with a minor difference.  Adobe does a very good job when substituting fonts. They get close in most cases. Close enough that there’s no need to purchase fonts or spend a lot of time troubleshooting. In the example below, substituted text (yellow) is placed over the original embedded font text (red). The visible red marks show where the substitution deviates from the original font.

font mapping example of embedded text

Example of original embedded font text

font mapping comparison of substituted text to embedded text

Yellow substituted font text is placed over original red embedded font text.

2. Embedding Fonts to Avoid Font Substitution not Possible

Several PDF creation tools allow you to embed fonts or font subsets. Embedded fonts travel with the PDF file and ensure accurate display on any system. Be careful because they will increase file size, usually at least doubling it. Due to license restrictions, embed fonts at your own risk. You can only embed fonts with permission. Even free, open source fonts can have restrictions. Example of Adobe’s Font Embedding Policy

A note about Visual integrity Software and Embedded Fonts. In compliance with font rules, our programs do not embed fonts by default. We reference the fonts by their names. If fonts, with the same names, are on the target PC, the file will open and display as intended. If the same fonts are not on the PC, which is much more likely, the text includes the closest allowable font. If you need fonts embedded for a project, we can do that for you as a custom service, with proof of license.

How to see what embedded fonts your document contains.
Open the PDF in either Reader or Acrobat. Bring up the document properties (Ctrl-D or Cmd-D), then go to the Fonts tab. Here, you can see the state of each font. The two examples below show the same font when it’s embedded and when it has been substituted.

embedded font

Embedded Font

Substituted Font - Adobe Sans MM

Substituted Font – Adobe Sans MM

3. When PDF Document Font Names Don’t Match PC Font Names, Use Font Mapping

For fonts to display as intended in a PDF file, the same font with the same name must be on both systems. Unfortunately, the exact same font may go by several different names. Arial Bold on your system, for example, may be “EHJPKB+Arial-Bold” in the original file. Even though these are identical fonts, the PDF does not know it because they have different names. You have to tell it with a PDF font mapping. In this example, map “EHJPKB_Arial-Bold” as “Arial” with font style “Bold”.


Mismatches are common. Resolve them whenever possible through font mapping. If mapping the font is not possible, it’s substituted as described above.

4. Unknown Font in the PDF Document

Ensure an exact match by converting formatted text to bezier curves. When you need a precise match, but the source font is unknown or not available, it’s best to convert the text to a graphic. This is an excellent approach for logos and other brand assets. It’s also recommended for technical text like equations and formulas. Once converted to graphics, they are no longer editable and there’s no possibility to introduce error during font substitution.

A note about Visual integrity Software and Text as Curves. Our programs offer a “Characters to Curves” option. Using it, each character renders as a bezier curve object. This graphical representation of the character uses font information stored in the PDF. If the font was not embedded in the PDF, we refer to the /fonts/ directory in the installation folder. Add Type 1 or TrueType fonts to this folder as needed to ensure a perfect match. To outline specific fonts during conversion, contact us.

5. It’s a Kerning Issue, Not a Font Issue

When PDF is converted into vector formats such as SVG or EMF, kerning may be the culprit if the text doesn’t look right. Kerning is the process of adjusting space between characters to make the text more visually appealing.  This feature is only available for use with proportions fonts; not fixed width fonts. Please contact us if you need more information how to configure thus. Turning this option on could improve the WYSIWYG matching of the text strings.

In Summary….

Look for Font Warnings. Many programs that output PDF produce error and warning logs. Check these if you create or receive a PDF file that doesn’t look right.

Contact Us. We have 25+ years of expertise built up around PDF, file formats and fonts. We may be able to help you make sense of your font issues.

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After conversion, if you can not edit text, chances are that the text was already stored as graphics in the PDF original. It was probably converted to curves or plotted as pen strokes when the PDF file was created. It is no longer text, just vector curves that look like text. This often happens for example with PDF drawings are created from CAD, EDA or GIS applications as well as with print advertisements from a DTP-package to ensure font display accurately. Text is often converted to curves to ensure accurate print results and to protect against font incompatibilities. Once the text has been turned into curves, there is no way for pdf2picture to retrieve it as real text. If the text is still searchable in the PDF file, we can produce it as editable text in the conversion output.

Tip: To see if the text is searchable and convertable or not, open your PDF file in Acrobat Reader and try to “Select” some text. If you can mark it, you can convert it.

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Try deselecting the “Convert Characters to Strings” option in the General tab of the Options menu. Doing so will carefully place every character individually in the output instead of trying to recreate the actual words as objects. This option is turned on by default to combine individual characters into words and words into lines during conversion. This is a nice option to ease editing when it works but is dependent on the perfect alignment of inbound text. When turned off, every character will be placed precisely as it was in the original.

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If the characters are converting but not displaying properly, you likely have a font mapping issue. To comply with the licensing regulations of font suppliers, our software can not embed fonts in the vector output formats. Instead, we reference the fonts by their names. If the fonts, with the same names, are on the target PC, the file will open and display perfectly. If the same fonts are not on the PC that opens the file, which is much more likely, the text will not display properly. To complicate things, often, one font may go by several different names. Arial Bold, for example, may be referenced as “EHJPKB+Arial-Bold” in the original file. This font may be normal Arial Bold but the target application does not know it unless you tell it. This is known as font mapping. If the font is not mapped correctly, the closest font will be substituted. In this example, “EHJPKB_Arial-Bold” must be mapped as “Arial” with font style “Bold”. In order to learn more, please read the Tech Note: Font Mapping

In case of SVG or EMF as output format we support kerning. Please contact us if you need more information how to configure thus. Turning this option on could improve the WYSIWYG of the text strings.

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pdf2image is perfect for the job since it outputs PNG, the native format for MusicPad. By setting the width for conversion at 600 pixels, you can generate a file which will be accepted using the MusicPad Pro import feature. It can be used to convert any PDF music file.

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PNG is the native format of the MusicPad Manager so you would first need to use pdf2image to convert all your music to this format. Once you have generated all of the PNG’s, you should be able to import them directly by opening the MusicPad Manager application. Then just select File/Import.
MusicPad Pro expects the files that are imported to be 600×800. This can be set by choosing width = 600 pixels under the “Options” button during conversion in pdf2image.

If you have any trouble converting your music, please email a sample PDF file to and we will return it to you in PNG format ready to import along with any special settings that you need to select.

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There are two important issues at play here.
First – make sure you choose the correct image format for your file type. If your PDF file is mostly text, you should choose GIF or PNG since they render images with few colors sharply. JPEG is better suited for photographic images which use many colors.

The second consideration is resolution or “dots per inch” (dpi). The resolution you choose determines the quality (and the size) of the output. Although a high resolution will yield a super-sharp image, it will also product a large file size which may impact performance. The rule of thumb is to use the lowest resolution which delivers the quality you need. Some guidelines are:

  • For screen display (web or office) – use 96dpi.
  • For images that will be printed on laser or inkjet printers – use 150 dpi
  • For images that will be printed professionally – use 300 dpi

If you want to adjust the resolution, simply increase the dpi setting in the Options menu.

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It is easy it is to create a PostScript file from virtually any application on a PC. Most PC’s are likely to have a PostScript printer driver configured in its printers settings. If not, you must Install a PostScript Printer Driver before going any further.

  1. Open your file within your application and then select “File…”, “Print”
  2. Choose your PostScript printer. Note that you can use any PostScript driver included with Microsoft Windows without having the actual printer since you will simply be printing to a file.
  3. Press “OK”  to print to file. Note that the PostScript tab under Properties should be set to Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) for best results.
  4. You will be prompted for a file name and location. If you do not assign .ps as the extension, the default in Windows will be .PRN. Both are valid input extensions.
  5. Open your Visual Integrity software and when prompted for a PostScript file to convert, go to the location chosen in Step 4 and select the new .ps or .prn file for conversion.


  • The extension does not matter – Some systems give printer files a default extension, like .prn or .plt. This does not matter. If the file has been created using a PostScript printer driven, the result will be a PostScript file that Visual Integrity software can convert.
  • Watch out for PCL: Most HP printers use a printer language called PCL. The default mode on HP PostScript printers is usually PCL. PCL can not be converted by TGC. Be sure that your HP printer is in PostScript mode to ensure a successful conversion.
  • Save directly as PostScript or EPS files – Many applications allow you to save your files as PS or EPS through their “Save as…” menu. A few even produce PostScript by default. This results in good input for our conversion engine.
  • Fonts – Try to use standard PostScript fonts like Helvetica and Times New Roman. Non-PostScript fonts, such as Type 1 fonts and TrueType fonts should be embedded so that the text data is available in the PostScript file. This gives our software the best chance to preserve the fonts during conversion.

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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 if you want to add font glyphs.

13 Standard PostScript fonts:

  • Courier (Regular, Oblique, Bold, Bold Oblique)
  • Helvetica (Regular, Oblique, Bold, Bold Oblique)
  • Times (Roman, Italic, Bold, Bold Italic)
  • Symbol

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We are usually just minutes away… Use this link to ask us your question now. If we have a specialist free, you will enter a live chat session. If no one if free, you will be able to pose your question as a message and it will be ansered as soon as possible, usually within a few minutes. Clisk Above on “Ask a Specialist”.

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  • The image formats used on web sites are JPEG (or JPG), PNG and GIF. JPEG is best for images with many colors such as photos. GIF is best for line art, illustrations and drawings with limited color. PNG is the most versatile and can be used quite broadly on web-sites.
  • The image formats used in documents follow a similar rule. GIF, TIFF and PNG are best for images with fewer colors and JPEG is used for images with many colors such as photos. The best test is to use pdf2image to convert to a few different formats and then view them both on-screen and in print to see which gives you the desired result.
  • It’s also important to determine what formats your application can import. If the program you want to use only accepts BMP, then you need to convert to this format, even if it produces larger files than PNG.

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  • If you are generating images for use on web sites, convert at 72 dpi (dots per inch) or 96 dpi. These settings match screen resolution pixel for pixel for the best match and sharpest display.
  • For general office printing, choose 150 dpi. This will generate a crisp image with the smallest file size.
  • For office publishing and high quality laser printing, choose 300 dpi. The files will be larger but the images will be very clear.
  • For professional printing, choose 300 dpi – 1200 dpi. It’s best to ask your printer who will recommend the best resolution to match his equipment.

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