Posts Tagged ‘traditional source’

Convert single PDF pages to multiple SVG files on Debian Linux with pdf2svg

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

In my last article, I've explained How to create PNG, JPG, GIF pictures from one single PDF document
Convertion of PDF to images is useful, however as PNG and JPEG graphic formats are raster graphics the image quality gets crappy if the picture is zoomed to lets say 300%.
This means convertion to PNG / GIF etc. is not a good practice especially if image quality is targetted.

I myself am not a quality freak but it was interesting to find out if it is possible to convert the PDF pages to SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) graphics format.

Converting PDF to SVG is very easy as for GNU / Linux there is a command line tool called pdf2svg
pdf2svg's official page is here

The traditional source way compile and install is described on the homepage. For Debian users pdf2svg has already existing a deb package.

To install pdf2svg on Debian use:

debian:~# apt-get install --yes pdf2svg

Once installed usage of pdf2svg to convert PDF to multiple SVG files is analogous to imagemagick's convert .
To convert the 44 pages Projects.pdf to multiple SVG pages – (each PDF page to a separate SVG file) issue:

debian:~/project-pdf-to-images$ for i in $(seq 1 44); do \
pdf2svg Projects.pdf Projects-$i.SVG $i; \

This little loop tells each page number from the 44 PDF document to be stored in separate SVG vector graphics file:

debian:~/project-pdf-to-images$ ls -1 *.svg|wc -l

For BSD users and in particular FreeBSD ones png2svg has a bsd port in:


Installing on BSD is possible directly via the port and convertion of PDF to SVG on FreeBSD, should be working in the same manner. The only requirement is that bash shell is used for the above little bash loop, as by default FreeBSD runs the csh. 
On FreeBSD launch /usr/local/bin/bash, before following the Linux instructions if you're not already in bash.

Now the output SVG files are perfect for editting with Inkscape or Scribus and the picture quality is way superior to old rasterized (JPEG, PNG) images