How to Covert PDF to Image Formats on Mac

Converting a PDF to an image file on Mac has been around for quite some time now, you don’t need to install a special tool to do this or run a command through the Terminal. All you need to do is open your image file via Preview and export it as either JPEG, JPEG 2000, or PNG, depending on your preference.

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Why convert PDF to JPEG?

It seems weird, but it’s actually useful, and perhaps you’ve needed it yourself too in the past. For example, preparing your itinerary or plane ticket before boarding – instead of opening your PDF ticket, don’t people just usually take a screenshot of it? Which isn’t ideal especially if the resolution is small.

In which case, you can just convert it to JPEG or PNG. It’s better this way since if you’re on your phone, you can have it in your gallery, and not hassle yourself navigating all the way to your file explorer.

Also, compared to PDF, JPEG files are lighter in terms of file size. So if you are trying to save space, then converting your documents to JPEG or PNG might be ideal.

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How to convert PDF to JPEG / PNG on Mac

  1. Open the PDF file using Preview. If it opens on your browser (Chrome and Firefox do this), just right-click and Open it with Preview.
  2. How to Convert PDF to Image File on Mac
  3. Once the file is open, head over to File and click on Export.
  4. How to Convert PDF to Image File on Mac
  5. A window will pop up asking you to choose a file format. Choose one from the dropdown. In my case, I opted for JPEG.
  6. How to Convert PDF to Image File on Mac
  7. It will then ask for an export quality. If you need to save space, you can dial it down all the way to 10% but it will be pixelated, so I recommend a minimum of 60%.
  8. Once done, hit Save.

That’s it!

Look at the file’s info here. It shows that it has been exported as a JPEG file.

How to Convert PDF to Image File on Mac

Caution: This method only works for one-page files. If you have multiple files, you can either do it one by one, or make use of the Automator

Convert entire PDF to image file on Mac

  1. Press Command + Spacebar to open the Spotlight.
  2. How to Convert PDF to Image File on Mac
  3. Then search for the Automator app and click it.
  4. Once it loads, you will see this screen. Choose Quick Action.
  5. How to Convert PDF to Image File on Mac
  6. On the new window, you will see an option for Workflow receives current, there is a dropdown option right next to it. Choose PDF files.
  7. How to Convert PDF to Image File on Mac
  8. Then on the left, you will see a search bar. You can either use this to search for Render PDF Pages as Images or just scroll down until you find it. Once you find it, double-click on it or drag it to the right panel.
  9. How to Convert PDF to Image File on Mac
  10. It will then show you options for the Format, Color model, Resolution, and Compression. You can leave it with the default options, or increase the compression for best quality.
  11. How to Convert PDF to Image File on Mac
  12. Then do the same thing again, but this time search for Move Finder Items and drag it to the main panel. Then pick a location where the converted files should be saved. In my case, I am saving them on my Desktop.
  13. How to Convert PDF to Image File on Mac
  14. Once that’s done, click on File and Save your work. Name it something recognizable like “Convert PDF to JPG” or something shorter
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Now, let’s test if it works!

First thing is to look for your PDF. You really don’t need to open it to convert it, but I’m showing my sample here just in case. In my sample PDF, there are two pages, and once we run the automation, it should create two separate JPEG files.

How to Convert PDF to Image File on Mac

So, once you have your PDF, right-click it and you will see two options here:

  1. If you are on the latest Monterey version or even Big Sur, you will see an option at the very bottom saying “Quick Actions”. Hover over this and click your Automation. It will then immediately convert your PDF into separate JPEG files.
  2. If you are on an older macOS version, you probably won’t see “Quick Actions”, but instead you will see the name of your quick action immediately as shown in the image below.
How to Convert PDF to Image File on Mac

Once you click on it (in my case I named it “PDFconvertertoJPG”), it will immediately create the two files. No questions asked. To show you this, here’s my desktop with the two pages as separate PDF files.

How to Convert PDF to Image File on Mac

That’s it! You converted your PDF into an image file on Mac, and also made use of the Automator app! And of course, you are free to pick which file format you want, whatever works for you. I hope that helps!

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