Resources » Working With PDFs (Basics) » How to Convert PDF Files to JPEGs

illustration of 5 photos of people on a wood table

The JPEG file format is the most common format for photos, pictures and digital artwork. It stands for joint photographic experts group (put that in your trivia night pocket). What most people don’t realize is that a JPEG (also JPG) is a compressed file. It’s taken lots of layers of colors, lines, and light and squished them into a JPEG so it’s easier to use online.

How do I convert a PDF to a JPG (for free)?

JPEG file formats have a lot of benefits. JPEGs are compatible with almost any image editing software and don’t have overly large file sizes. In fact, if you do have a large one, and you moderately reduce its size, you rarely lose quality online.

With JPEG being so versatile, it can sometimes be beneficial to convert a PDF into a JPEG, but the use case is not very common. PDFs can have multiple pages. JPEGs are single “pages.” In fact, it’s more common to convert JPEG to PDF, so you can create multipage photo albums, look books or e-books.

Still, you asked, so we’re answering. In this article, we’ll be going through how to perform the conversion of PDF to JPG on most devices.

How to Convert a PDF to JPEG on Mac

Open the Preview app and use the app to open the PDF you want to export as a JPEG. For example, this handsome fellow may be on a specific page of a multipage PDF and you want him as a JPEG.

photo of a wolf dog with light blue eyes to use as an example for changing pdfs to jpegs in pdf live

Once you navigate to the page that you want as a JPEG, go to File > Export. The menu that pops up should look like this:

screenshot showing how to convert an image from a pdf to a jpeg

Here, you’ll see several options for file formats to export the single page of the PDF. You can also choose the folder where the JPEG will be stored. Then, hit save.

screenshot showing options for converting a pdf to a jpeg

Preview can export only one page of a PDF into a JPEG at a time. Multiple pages in a single JPEG are simply not possible; the JPEG file format does not support multiple frames. If you need a single document with multiple pages (like a photo collection), the PDF is meant for this.

If you have multiple JPEGs that need to be in a single document, consider converting them into a PDF file with PDF.Live’s online JPG to PDF Converter. As with any JPG to PDF converter, PDF.Live converts one JPEG at a time; then, you can use the merge feature to combine several PDFs into one, and arrange the pages as you like.

How to Convert a PDF to JPEG on Windows

Windows does not come with a PDF viewer built into the system. However, you can download an app like Adobe Acrobat that allows you to open and edit PDFs. This app also allows you to export PDFs in any format that you need to. Here is how to do it on Acrobat:

  1. Open the PDF file with Acrobat.
  2. On the toolbar, select “Export PDF”
  3. In the export menu, select Image > JPEG
  4. Leave the “export all images” unchecked and then Export

Alternatively, you can use a free PDF to JPEG app on the Microsoft Store. The ClearBar App, for example, is a Windows desktop alternative that includes built-in PDF conversion tools. Other options also exist on the Microsoft store, depending on what specific features you’re looking for.

With most PDF to JPG converters, you can only export one page of the PDF into a JPEG at a time. Or, the converter will convert the multiple pages into several different JPEG files. JPEGs have resolutions (e.g. 500×800) and don’t work well with multiple images within a single file. A single file with multiple pages would have a very high resolution and look extremely oblong. They wouldn’t be usable on most devices. PDFs are better for storing multiple images within a single file.

Consider using PDF.Live’s online JPG to PDF Converter if you need to have multiple JPGs in a single file to send around online.

Answers to FAQs About Changing PDFs to JPEGs

Can you export PDF to JPG?

Yes, in some programs, PDFs can be exported as images such as JPGs. You will need to use a PDF viewer like Adobe Acrobat to do this. When you have the PDF open, select Export and then click the Convert To dropdown. Select Image. 

All files will be converted to the selected format. To use different formats, export each file individually

From here, you can select which image format you would like your PDF to save as. Note that with Adobe Acrobat, the image will be exported within a .zip file

Each page will be converted to an image -- all of which will be saved to a single ZIP file for a single easy download

Is it possible to convert multiple PDF pages to JPG?

Yes, this method allows you to convert multiple PDF pages to JPGs. However, it will convert each PDF page as a separate JPG. This is because if all the PDF pages were exported as a single JPG, the image would be very stretched out and difficult to read. The above method will “pack” all of your JPG pages into a single ZIP file.

In this example, a PDF with 6 pages was converted to 6 separate JPGs: 

List of individual JPG files that have been converted from the PDF format

Can you just save a PDF as a JPEG?

Technically, no. You need to use a PDF conversion tool to export your PDF as JPG images. The export process may look very similar to saving a PDF, but differs slightly. A web browser, for example, can be used to view PDFs but won’t let you save PDFs as JPG files.  

What if I need a high-resolution JPG?

When converting your PDF to a JPG, you may have noticed that you can adjust the image quality of the exported JPG files. The higher the image quality, the higher the resolution of the resulting JPGs will be. Note that this will cause the exported JPGs to have a larger file size and take more memory to store. You can learn more about file compression quality in this post about lossy versus lossless file compression

Image quality slider can be adjusted from low to medium to high

What is the best way to convert a PDF to a JPG?

The Adobe Acrobat Reader is the best way to convert PDFs to JPGs. The free version of the reader lets you open and view PDFs with some simple commenting and highlighting abilities. It also allows you to export your PDFs to image files. However, the Adobe Acrobat Reader is a separate program that does require a download to use. If you need to convert your PDFs to and from other file formats, check out PDF.Live’s web browser-based conversion services.