How to Extract a Vector Graphic From a PDF
By Angela Campbell
Vector graphics are important elements for a graphic artist to use in high-end advertisements, artwork or on film. Vector graphics -- unlike JPEGs, BMP images or GIFs -- are graphics created using complex paths rather than pixels and that can be easily manipulated using a graphic program, such as Adobe InDesign, without losing quality. Sometimes, graphic designers will insert vector graphics into files that are then saved in PDF format. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to remove vector graphics from a PDF file with the proper version of Adobe Acrobat.
Extract a Single Graphic
Open your version of Adobe Acrobat Professional -- more recent versions include Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro and Adobe Acrobat X Pro; these directions should work for all. Look for the option labeled "Preferences" at the upper left of the page and select it. Scroll down and select "Image Editor." A window should appear giving you the option to set a specific program as both your "Image Editor" and "Page/Object Editor."
Click "Browse" and find the appropriate program to select as your default editor. This program, ideally, should be Adobe Illustrator or Freehand, Corel Draw or another software that allows the creation and editing of vector artwork. Save your preferences and close this window.
Open your Tools palette if it is not open already. Click the solid arrow tool, which should be the first tool on the palette.
Click "Tools" at the top of the page. Scroll down and select "Advanced Editing," then "Touchup Object Tool."
Click the vector graphic in the PDF you wish to extract using the solid arrow tool. Right-click on the graphic and select "Edit Image." Wait for your editing program to launch. The program should start and open a window containing the vector artwork. Close Adobe Acrobat.
Click "File" and select "Save As" and save the graphic as an EPS file in a location you can easily find. Exit the program and locate the EPS file. Open the file to verify the save process worked properly. The file should open as a vector file.
Extract Multiple Graphics
Open Adobe Acrobat Professional. Under the menu options, select "Advanced" then "Document Processing," followed by "Export All Images."
Click "Settings." Under "Export All Images As Settings," select the file settings, color features and conversion for the file type (which should be EPS). Verify that "No Limit" is checked to extract all images. Click "OK."
Click "Export All Images As" and click "Save." You will need to select the location or folder to which the graphics will be saved. Open the file to verify the save process worked properly. The file should open as a vector file.
Angela Campbell began writing professionally in 1997 for Easley Publications in Easley, SC, and later for Gannett newspaper properties. A graduate of the University of South Carolina's mass communications and journalism program, she has won numerous South Carolina State Press Association awards for spot news reporting, business reporting, feature writing, photography and page design.