I have a pdf which I want to extract a high resolution / vector graphics format from.

When I open the PDF with Preview I can zoom in forever and artwork always seem to have a crisp edge. However when I open in Photoshop they appear pixelated at a certain resolution.

I have tried choosing the option "images" when opening, but it doesn't find the particular art I need.

Any suggestions? I'm not desperate to have vector, but just as high a resolution as is possible as I will be enlarging the figure by 1000% or more.

2 Answers 2


You can't get vector from a PDF with Photoshop. Photoshop rasterizes everything when you open a PDF. That is unless the PDF was created by Photoshop with Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities on. In my experience, those type of PDFs are rare. But it can happen. If you do have one of those PDFs, just opening it with Photoshop will show the layers... including shape, vector, or smart object layers. So you'd be done. :)

In the event you don't have a Photoshop-generated PDF, you can just drag the PDF to Photoshop and set it to open at whatever PPI you want. Just change the Resolution field.

enter image description here

Then you can crop, copy/paste, or whatever you need to do to get the individual images.

For raster, or 3D, images within the PDF you can open those independently by ticking the appropriate box at the top left corner of the Import PDF dialog window.

![enter image description here

Unfortunately, all vector graphics won't be seen as separate objects, so they get rasterized (along with type and everything else).


If you have Illustrator just open the PDF page with gold circles and you will get perfectly crisp edges at any resolution.

  • I don't unfortunately. Additionally I want to use the image within a poster I'm designing in photoshop.
    – Tom
    Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 16:32
  • @Tom you cannot get the vector objects when opening the PDF in Photoshop. My suggestion would be to re-create the circles with the Eclipse tool (U) and add a gradient.
    – AndrewH
    Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 16:35
  • 1
    I changed the resolution option when opening and this seems to be high enough resolution for my poster. I want to use whole figure so don't want to recreate. Didn't realise you can extract vector objects.
    – Tom
    Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 16:57

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