Currently, Microsoft supports a variety of graphics formats in their Windows Imaging Component which provides a framework for working with images and image metadata. The standard image formats are TIFF, JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, ICO and HDPhoto. A single, consistent set of interfaces is used for all image processing, regardless of image format, so any application using the WIC gets automatic support for new image formats as soon as the codec is installed. The extensible metadata framework makes it possible for applications to read and write their own proprietary metadata directly to image files, so the metadata never gets lost or separated from the image.
Visual Integrity outputs: TIFF, JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP
In the Microsoft Developers Network, the following formats have been declared legacy formats. They are obsolete and should not be used in new applications.
- Monitor Configuration
- Picture Acquisition
- Windows Color System
- WPF Bitmap Effects
Tranforming Classified Ads
Gannett is the publisher of USA Today and a leading media and marketing company. They employs digital technology and services to reach millions of people everyday through Web and mobile media. For a newspaper industry project, Gannett implemented FLY Batch Server to publish EPS classified ads to the web. JPEG was the chosen as the most appropriate format since many of the ads included photos.
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”.
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.
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.
- Open your file within your application and then select “File…”, “Print”
- 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.
- Press “OK” to print to file. Note that the PostScript tab under Properties should be set to Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) for best results.
- 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.
- 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.
The Computer Graphics Metafile (CGM) file format is used to render graphics in a wide range of technical applications. It is output by many specialized programs in the aerospace, semiconductor manufacturing, automotive and telecommunications industries. CGM is most commonly used in these organizations for product operation, maintenance, repair and other technical manuals. It is also used in the petroleum industry for mapping, lithology cross-sections, seismic traces and well logs. The U.S. military uses CGM for simple redlining on top of raster (map) data. CGM is a format supported both in print and on-line (IETMS). CGM is typically used for technical illustrations in SGML/XML documentation systems, and now, more and more, for Web-based systems like IETMS (Illustrated Electronic Technical Manuals) and e-Catalogs. Outside of these specialized, technical industries, CGM has largely been superseded by formats such as SVG and DXF. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has developed WebCGM, a profile of CGM enjoying specialized use of on the Web.
Over the years, several different versions of CGM have been spawned to meet the needs of various industries. There are specific industry profiles (ATA, MIL, PIP) and four different levels as well as WebCGM. As a result of this diversification, interoperability is often a problem: the target application is unable to reliably interpret the particular flavor of CGM generated by the source application. Many content creation applications have started outputting Level 3 or 4 CGM. However, many applications on the receiving end have not yet implemented full support for these higher levels.
Visual Integrity helps industry manufacturers, suppliers and software vendors turn graphical data into the CGM format. It does so for many source applications which do not offer CGM output, and also for applications which already do – but are incompatible with the end user’s target application. Input formats include PDF, PostScript, EPS, WMF and EPS.
CGM files generated are compliant with all levels and industry profiles. By default, our software produces the common denominator subset of CGM (we like to call it ‘vanilla CGM’) to ensure optimal interoperability with the viewing, authoring, and publishing environment downstream. This ‘vanilla CGM’ handles files typically produced and used in technical industries.
Notes on Visual Integrity’s Support of CGM:
• Output supports choice of CGM Levels 1-2-3-4
• Compliant with ATA, MIL and PIP industry profiles
• Supports vector graphics, raster images and font-based text
• Supports both metric and abstract scaling
• Curves are retained in Level 3-4 compatible output
Sometimes there is no output file produced or it may seem as though the software has quit working. This has to do with an invalid page range setting.
All of our products can convert one page, all pages or a page range. By default, they convert all pages. If you choose a page rage, you must reset it to all pages when done since the software remembers the last settings you used. If a conversion is attempted with an invalid page range, it will not produce a resulting file. It may seem as though it is not working. Once you go to “Options, Page” and adjust Page range to “All Pages””and re-attempt the conversion, you will produce a file.
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.
The software has been designed to be very easy to use and involves just a few simple steps:
- Select the PDF file you want to convert
- Change or customize settings by clicking on the Options button
- Change the name and location of the output file, if desired
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we will return it to you in PNG format ready to import along with any special settings that you need to select.
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.
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.
13 Standard PostScript fonts:
- 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.
- 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.