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Copying from PDF

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Richard Henry, Apr 3, 2007.

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  1. I am trying to create electronic source control drawings from pdf
    vendor catalog pages. I want to copy a small piece of the pdf and
    paste it into the SCD. Most of the time, the results are marginally
    readable, especially the printouts. Are there known techniques to
    improve the quality of this process?

    Our backup method at this time is to include a full copy of the pdf
    file in the SCD folder in the the CM area of our network. It goes
    without saying that that uses up a lot of disk space.
  2. Guest

    You're probably copying as a bitmap, which is bad.
    You need to copy as vectors. I think it depends on the PDF itself.
    The only way to work these things I aware of, in Windows, is to open
    the clipboard viewer and use a program called Metafile Companion.
    Metafiles are Window's way of encapsulating all kinds of image
    I was able to create vector clip art for Office by copying from
    Autocad's screen and pasting into Companion.
    Then you can re-size with no quality penalty. Thing is, they look as
    bad on-screen as before, but they print out nice.

    BTW disk space is pretty much free these days no? 500G for less than
    200$. That's a lot of PDFs.
  3. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    Are you cutting just a portion of a page, or a whole page?

    If whole page, use Adobe to extract that page.

    If partial, perhaps use something like Universal Document Converter to
    make a GIF that you can manually edit/crop?

    ...Jim Thompson
  4. To extract single pages, I use pdftops to convert the multi-page PDF into a
    PS file, then I extract the page(s) that I want using psselect, and convert
    the resulting PS back to PDF. All wrapped nicely into a shell script.

  5. I have come across two types of Adobe documents in this effort. In
    some, I can use the Acrobat reader snapshot tool to get a piece of a
    page. In others, the snapshot is disabled, so I have used the Windows
    Printscreen function to get a bitmap I can crop down to the part I

    I am including in the SCD the URL for the origianl docuemnt, and a
    link to the copy of the document where it is stored on our network.
    Unfortunately, all networks (including our own) are temporary, so I
    wnat to include in the SCD itself as good an image as possible of the
    information in the original pdf, then print it out and store it in a
    real steel file cabinet.
  6. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    Even early versions of Adobe will extract single pages.

    I think the problem is how to compactly get just a portion of a
    page... if you "crop" a PDF page the file size DOES NOT reduce.

    ...Jim Thompson
  7. Depends. If the PDF contains a bitmap (such as a scanned page), you can
    extract that bitmap, crop out the section of interest with an image editor,
    and convert the result back to PDF. The file size will reduce accordingly if
    you use the same (or even a better) compression scheme as the original.

    If the PDF is a vector document, cropping out a part can be hard or
    impossible. But vector docs typically occupy much less space than bitmaps

  8. John Larkin

    John Larkin Guest

    Adobe, as usual, works against us.

    If you open a doc in (the incredibly stupid) Adobe Reader8, you can
    zoom in and print the current view. If you have the Microsoft Office
    Document Image Writer, or the Universal Document Converter, you can
    then print to a file. It looks pretty good, not perfect but better
    than snapping a bitmap.

    You can't print the current view to CutePDF, pity.

  9. Guest

    Adobe photoshop can open a PDF. If it is multipage, you can select
    which page to open. You can set the resolution that you want for

    I haven't use ghostview in some time, but it may be pdf tools as well.
    This is an alternative if you don't have photoshop.
  10. What I figured out...

    I converted the word document which is the company standaqrd format
    for SCDs (title page and rectangular frame on following pages) to a
    pdf, extracted one page from the catalog using Adobe Acrobat, cropped
    it, and pasted it into the SCD pdf document as background, scaling it
    down a little to fit in the frame.

    It looks and prints as good as the original catalog page. The only
    unwanted consequence is that the final document is a pdf instead of a
    Word document, but CM has agreed to accept it.
  11. Drop the document into Adobe Frust^H^H^H^H Illustrator, select the
    relevant page and get whatever vector art you need. You can convert it
    to a bitmap at whatever resolution you need.
  12. Ross Herbert

    Ross Herbert Guest

    I haven't read all the other replies but I have had no problems using
    Adobe Reader's 'Select' function for selecting text and pictures and
    then pasting them direct into a MS Word doc.
  13. Then you're sunk anyway. A few Word updates down the road you won't be able
    to open your documentation files any more.

    Use OpenOffice; it has an open document format (which means that you can
    still get at the content of your docs even in case of future version
    incompatibilities -- heck, it's XML, you can open it with any text editor),
    is available for free, it exports directly to PDF and can import and export
    several Word formats.

    Don't chain yourself to proprietary software for important business matters.

  14. Hi Richard,
    Just Copy &Paste extracts a bitmap with screen resolution. You may improove
    this by zoom after select. then you get the hole selected picture with a
    resolution of the zoomed section. But remember this will also be a bitmap.
    Vector graphics - only if the pictures are as a vector graphic included in
    PDF (extremely seldom) - may be exported with the toolchain gsview,
    ghostscript, pstoedit. It's all free and very useable, a must in all
    computers :)
    Simply open your pdf with gsview, select your page and convert the sheet to
    emf, wmf or any other vector format you are able to handle later. I use emf
    and import these in Draw. There I ungroup the picture and
    have all I need. The only drawback is, that OOo Draw have a preselection
    that makes mistakes with texts. The frames around the Texts are to small
    after ungrouping and the preselection is to shrink the font size to frame.
    So I have to click all text elements and reszies the frames and adjuats the
    text- options to resize the frame as needed to draw the fonts to original
    Another tip: search about djvu compressor. Its impressive how small
    documents can be compressed with very good quality.

  15. mpm

    mpm Guest

    You have got to be kidding! Right?!
  16. I agree with you in theory, but as a practical matter I don't get to
    decide (yet) what the company's policies are for office software

    Also, I can edit text fields in teh PDF documents within Acrobat
    itself, which at least moves the problem out of Microsoft's domain.
  17. Guest

    Lizardtech dropped the free djvu encoders some years ago. [I have the
    old programs fortunately.] However, I found jpeg2000 to be better.
    This is free, but it might be crippled in some manner. [I have the old
    version with the file size limit.]

    The easiest free high quality compressor to use is the ECW format in
  18. Kidding about what?

    It works, and a lot of us need Illustrator for our work anyway. It's
    often best to keep it in vector format, but not always possible or

    Best regards,
    Spehro Pefhany
  19. Hi Miso,
    I can't follow this. I downloaded my djvu encoder few weeks ago. It was
    Should I have to look for ...
    Oh no, thanks...
    the good old irfan... even nice to view djvu and many more...

    But I will give ECW a try... Thanks

  20. Guest

    I can't find a link for the encoder, just decoders.
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