Xpdf - PDFtoPNG - Command Line Utility to Convert a Multi-page PDF File into Separate PNG Files

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Experience Level: Intermediate
Joe Winograd - EE Fellow & MVE
50+ years in computer industry. Everything from development to sales. CIO. Document imaging. EE MVE 2015, EE MVE 2016, EE FELLOW 2017.
In this sixth video of the Xpdf series, we discuss and demonstrate the PDFtoPNG utility, which converts a multi-page PDF file to separate color, grayscale, or monochrome PNG files, creating one PNG file for each page in the PDF. It does this via a command line interface, making it suitable for use in programs, scripts, batch files — any place where a command line call can be made.

Video Steps

1. Download the software

You may have already downloaded and unzipped the Xpdf tools while watching the first video in the Xpdf series, but if you haven't, then visit the Xpdf website. Click the Download link and then click the pre-compiled Windows binary ZIP archive to download the utilities for Windows.


2. Locate the documentation folder for the Xpdf utilities

Go to the folder where you unzipped the downloaded ZIP file and find the doc folder.


3. Read the documentation for the PDFtoPNG tool

Go into the doc folder and find the plain text file called pdftopng.txt.

Open it with any text editor, such as Notepad, and read it. This is the documentation for the PDFtoPNG tool.


4. Set up a test folder

Create a test folder.

Copy pdftopng.exe from the unzipped bin32 folder into your test folder.

Copy a sample PDF file into your test folder. Of course, it will work fine with a one-page PDF file, but it is more instructive to test it with a multi-page PDF.


5. Set up a command prompt for testing

Open a command prompt window.

Navigate to your test folder.

Issue a DIR command in the command prompt to be sure that only two files are in it - the PDFtoPNG executable and the sample PDF file.


6. Run the PDFtoPNG utility

Issue the following command in the command prompt:

pdftopng.exe test.pdf rootimage


7. Verify that the PNG files were created

Issue a DIR command in the command prompt to verify that the PNG files were created.


8. Verify that the PNG files can be opened

Open the PNG files in whatever image viewer that you prefer to verify that they are proper PNG files.

If you find this video to be helpful, please click the thumbs-up icon below. Thank you for watching!

Administrative Comment

by:Kyle Santos
Congratulations, Joe!  Your video has been Accepted.  Great job. =)
LVL 58

Author Comment

by:Joe Winograd - EE Fellow & MVE
Thanks for the fast publishing and the compliment — both appreciated! Regards, Joe

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