May 272014
 

While this is something that isn’t incredibly common there have been several times that I have needed to convert a PDF into a PNG file for easier display.  I’ve done a lot of research into tools that are out there for converting PDF files as well as code for doing it myself and the method I end up using the most involves having Google Drive do the work.

Google Drive is a great tool for document and presentation editing, but there are a lot of little tips and tricks to get the most out of it as possible.  One of my favorite little tricks that I’ve found is using it to turn each page of a PDF into a PNG that can be saved locally.   Another feature will also have Google Drive pull all of the text out of the PDF as well for easy searching.

In order to convert a PDF to a PNG using Google Docs you will need to be running Chrome (can do this in other browsers but my steps show how to do it in Chrome) and have a Google account.  That’s all you need, two free pieces of software.

Step 1: Adjust Upload Settings to auto-convert a PDF to Google Document format.

This will Automatically convert all supported uploaded documents to the Google Docs format to allow for editing.  You can also optionally select to convert the text from the PDFs for easier searching.

Change Google Drive Settings to Convert Uploaded Documents

Step 1b: Alternatively if you already have a PDF saved to Google Drive you can convert it by going to the more menu and selecting Open With Google Docs.  At which point you can skip to Step 4.

Open existing PDF with Google Doc Editor

Step 2: Upload your PDF

Upload PDF

Step 3: File is auto-converted

File is Auto-Converted

Step 4: Open Google Docs Editor

After the file has been uploaded or converted you will open the Google Docs editor to view the newly converted file.

Open Converted PDF in Google Doc Editor

Step 5: Open Google Chrome Dev tools.

Hitting F12 while in Chrome will launch the Google Chrome Dev Tools.  Don’t worry if you aren’t a dev, what you need to do here will be very simple.

Open up Chrome Dev Tools

Step 6: Click the Magnifying Glass.

This tool allows you to select an individual element on the page and view it’s source.  In this case we’ll be selecting the page you want to save.

Magnifying Glass in Chrome Dev Tools

Step 7: Select the image

This will highlight the source code for the image in the bottom panel.

Select PDF Page Image with Magnifying Tool

Step 8: Right click and hit Edit Attribute with source code selected.

This will allow you to select the source code of the location of the actual image that is being displayed within the document editor.

Right Click on Element and hit Edit Attribute

Step 9: With the attribute selected right click and then click on Go to for the URL.

This will open up the actual image in a new tab on Chrome.

Right Click Code and Click Go To the URL provided

Step 10: Right click on the image and click Save As and then save to disk.

Right Click Image and Save As

Save PNG to Disk

Viola, there you have it.  It’s not quite as easy as it used to be, but it’s still very easy and free to order to create a PNG file from each page of a PDF.  You will obviously need to repeat these steps for each page of the PDF that you want to save as a PNG.

Please also keep in mind that there are plenty of utilities out there that will do this for you much quicker and easier, but many of them cost money where using Google’s Services is free. Not to mention the other services offered by Google Drive of backing up your documents and then being able to search through the text of the PDFs.

If this was helpful to you please let me know by leaving a comment, liking/+1 or sharing.  Thank you.

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