How to Cloud Extract Images from PDF Files

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The PDF format was originally designed to port documents across applications and platforms. It is the most used format to publish documents on the internet because of its versatile use on both various browsers, the email systems and the mobile phone.

Some of the pdf files you find on the internet contains a variety of images. For example you find pdf images inside pdf slides on slideshare as well as in all the pdf research articles available on Google Scholar and more so on a variety of marketing and analytics research reports spread on the web as well as in your storage.

Some of these images can be very useful to you in work, either because you are putting together a presentation on would like to make use of them or because you trying to extract the text from the images of interpret the data contained in the chats within the image.

In all these situations you will need to extract the images from the pdf and then import them in your own workflow. One trivial way to do this is by making a screen capture of the image. This approach works fine if you have just one image you are interested to extract but suffers two limitations:


  1. The image resolution will depend on the resolution on your screen rather than the pdf image intrinsic resolution
  2. If you want to extract, classify and store all the images in the pdf, this approach to extract images is limiting. You will have to spend quite a bit of time to crop individual images from the pdf.


The alternative approach is to use a cloud image extractor to extract images from pdf files in bulk. On the cloud you can leverage the computational power of distributed cloud computing pdf image extractors and extract the images from pdf online.

Here is how the workflow would work on the  Tabex.

You can use Tabex screen scraper tool to load a pdf file directly from the Google Scholar link or from Slideshare or another pdf image document online or on your cloud storage. In this example we load a scientific paper that introduces to statistical analysis using the software R. The pdf file contains several images including tables. Here is an example of one of the pages.


Using the screen scraper tool you can load the pdf image onto Tabex cloud service and prepare to extract the images from the PDF file. By clicking on the extract button, the Tabex algorithm starts to scan the pdf looking for pdf images embedded and performing the image extraction from the files. As a first step Tabex will present the user with a preview of the images extracted from the pdf file or files. The user can chose whether to accept the extraction or going back to extract pictures from pdf once again. The following picture illustrates how Tabex presents the preview of the pictures extracted from the pdf file.




Once the user accepts the preview and wants to retrieve the pdf images that Tabex cloud pdf image extractor has identified, a file zip is provided from Tabex to the bottom of the page.


The file provided from Tabex cloud pdf image extractor contains all the pictures extracted as it is shown for example in this figure



Extracting images from pdf online via a cloud service is a viable and effective way to collect several images from pdf files both on the internet and in your cloud storage. This allows you to create a repository of images extracted from pdf files and repurpose them for other scopes. One scope could be the advanced image processing and extraction of numerical data from charts and graphs contained in the pdf images.

Tabex advanced image processing API is able to recognize barcharts and extract the numerical data associated with them. This is particularly useful if the user wants to repurpose data available in a variety of pdf images such as market and financial reports, scientific papers and other technical publications. There are other ways to extract images from pdf, as we mentioned before you can use a screen capture tool. However, if you extract images from pdf in the cloud you can leverage the Tabex image processing API to analyze the content of charts and graphs. In this way to extract pdf images from pdf is only the first stage of a more advanced analysis and document business intelligence. 


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