How to Create High Quality TIFF Images from a PDF File?

We were recently asked by a customer to help him get the best quality TIFF image from his PDF document. He wanted his TIFF image in color and also wanted to keep the size of his created TIFF image as small as possible.

You can see below the difference in the quality of the TIFF image first created, and the final result. The text in the second image has a much smoother and cleaner appearance.


The Customer's TIFF Image Requirements

  1. The customer's first request was to maintain the quality of the initial PDF document.
  2. The customer's second request was to keep the file size as small as possible. It is an unfortunate fact of life that TIFF images will be bigger than the PDF file they are created from. The resolution (or dots per inch) at which TIFF Image Printer creates the image plays a large part in the resulting file size. A TIFF image created with a resolution of 200 dpi will generally be 2 to 3 times larger in file size, and at 300 dpi the image can be 3 to 5 times larger.

How We Did It?

To get the quality of output the customer needed, and to keep the file size as small as possible, the resolution of the TIFF images was set to 120dpi. This resolution is the closest match to the screen resolution Adobe uses to display the text, meaning the created image will be the closest possible match to how the PDF looks when viewed in Adobe.

In order to convert from PDF file to TIFF image file from command line, you may download "PDF to Image Converter Command Line" from this web page,

after you download it, you can run following command lines to convert from your PDF file to TIFF image file at 120 DPI or 300 DPI,

pdf2img.exe -r 120 "D:\downloads\VeryPDF.pdf" "D:\downloads\VeryPDF.tif"

pdf2img.exe -r 300 "D:\downloads\VeryPDF.pdf" "D:\downloads\VeryPDF.tif"

In general, you will get a better TIFF image file with above command line if your PDF file is a standard A4 or Letter paper size.

However, if your PDF file has an non-standard paper size, above command lines may fail to convert from PDF file to TIFF file, for example, here is a sample PDF file, this PDF file's paper size is 10845 x 4274 pt, if you use 300DPI to render this PDF file to TIFF file, pdf2img.exe will use more memory and may cause a crash problem,


I tried following command line in my system,

pdf2img.exe -r 300 "D:\downloads\VeryPDF.pdf" "D:\downloads\VeryPDF.tif"

pdf2img.exe encountered a crash problem, here is the screenshot,


Please look at above screenshot, pdf2img.exe process had already used 1.38GB memory, if pdf2img.exe process want to use more memory, it crashed.

For such bigger paper size PDF file, you need reduce the DPI option in order use pdf2img.exe to convert this PDF file to TIFF file, for example,

pdf2img.exe -r 72 D:\downloads\VeryPDF.pdf D:\downloads\out.tif

However, if you want to create high quality image file from bigger paper size PDF file, you may use VeryDOC Postscript to Image Converter Command Line (ps2image.exe) application, VeryDOC Postscript to Image Converter Command Line (ps2image.exe) can be downloaded from this web page,

ps2image.exe application does use a temporary disk file to instead of memory, so it hasn't the limitation on the maximum number of memory usage, for example,

ps2image.exe -r 300 D:\downloads\VeryPDF.pdf D:\downloads\out.tif


As you see, the width and height of result TIFF image is 45188 x 17808 pt size, this image's dimension is big enough.

If you encounter any problem with pdf2img.exe or ps2image.exe application, please feel free to let us know.

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