How to Convert PDF to JPG and Back on a Mac

3.0K views
6 min read

When you need to convert a PDF to JPG, it may seem difficult at first. The two file types are often not even discussed at the same time, so converting a PDF to JPG might seem like one of those use-cases technology has forgotten. To most, a PDF and a JPG (or JPEG; the terms are used interchangeably) aren’t even something that should be discussed together.

And they are different, make no mistake. In most cases, a PDF is an un-editable document file type. PDFs are often used to send along documents for viewing. Though PDFs can be edited, most use the file type for lossless sharing of files to those they don’t want editing Word documents. PDFs are also useful for filling out forms without allowing others to change other parts of a document.

JPGs are typically images. Though there are several file types for images, JPG is universally used and accepted. In fact, most websites and services demand your images be in JPG format before using them.

This is why it may feel like the two file types are totally different, and that you shouldn’t even consider using them together. Or maybe it feels like your desire to convert a PDF to JPG is strange. We assure you it’s not! Many people want to know how to convert a PDF to JPG. In this article, we’ll show you how to convert PDF to JPG, how to edit PDF mac files, and show you a few PDF to JPG converter apps we really like.

The easiest way to turn PDF into JPG files is right here!

Convert PDF to Image Using Preview

Before you turn that PDF into a JPG file, it’s a good idea to view and edit it on your Mac. The most direct way is via Preview, a free Mac app that’s bundled with macOS. It’s an app that can open a variety of file types, but its most common use-case is for opening and lightly editing PDF files.

Preview is also good at combining multiple PDFs into one file. This is handy when you need to convert PDF to JPG Mac files. 

To edit a PDF on Mac using Preview, simply open the Preview app, which is included natively on your Mac. You’ll first see a selector screen where you choose the file you’d like to open. This is laid out much like your Finder app, showing your desktop and documents folders. It’s very simple and straightforward, which is how the whole Preview app feels to users.

You can mark documents up, sign them, change their orientation, and various other things – all in Preview for Mac. You can also turn a PDF into a JPG file in Preview, but there are significant drawbacks. 

You’re afforded almost no control of the end result, so the image quality may not be what you are looking for. Chances are if you’re curious how to change a pdf to a jpg on the Mac, you’re concerned about image quality. For most, simply changing the file type won’t be enough. This is especially true for PDFs with a lot of text; you wouldn’t want to allow the end result to be blurry and unreadable!

When you’re converting many PDFs into a single JPG, blindly trusting that Preview will provide the best resolution isn’t what you want. Users will likely need to zoom in to view small print or details, and Preview may leave those fine-tuned details out. This is when a standalone app is most useful – and you’ll find it more useful than you think, more often than you realize.

Convert PDF to JPG on Mac

Above, we told you how to turn PDF into JPG using the Preview app on your Mac. Like most core Mac apps, it solves a problem, but often not that well. You technically convert the file type, but you don’t have any control of the end results. It’s simply not good enough.

A better way is to use Permute. The app claims it “can convert anything into anything (almost),” and it’s not wrong. Permute is a video converter, audio converter, video to audio converter, image converter, video editing app, and more. It really can turn (almost) anything into (almost) anything else!

Permute video converter

But we want to focus on the image converting aspect of Permute. Its minimalist interface allows you to add files with ease, and see a preview of what you’re adding once it loads the file. No more memorizing file names and choosing them from a list, which can lead to many more mistakes than we’re ready to admit to.

Permute even allows you to stitch PDFs together, much like Preview, but Permute takes it a step further with its preview options. You’ll see the order files will be stitched together, ensuring you get the desired results each time. You can also re-organize the order of files, if you like, which is great for stitching together multiple documents into one viewable file.

If you don’t want to stitch your PDFs into one larger JPG file, Permute allows for batch conversions, which means you can turn PDFs into individual JPGs without fussing with going through the motions each time. 

And if you were curious how to save PDF as JPEG, Permute really is the best way to accomplish that; you can save any PDF as a JPG or JPEG file, and choose where on your computer to save the file. When you’re trying to convert multiple files for multiple clients or unique use-cases, it’s a real time saver to have Permute.

Here’s how to use Permute to convert PDFs to JPGs, step-by-step:

convert PDF to JPG Permute

  1. Open Permute. If it’s your first time, be sure to choose where Permute will save files to on your computer, as well as other preferences.
  2. Drag the PDF you’d like to convert into Permute.
  3. Once the PDF loads, choose ‘JPEG’ from the conversion menu.
  4. Select the ‘Start’ button on the bottom left of the window.

Once your file is converted, you can click the small ‘spyglass’ icon in the bottom right of the preview icon in Permute. This shows where the file is located in your Mac’s Finder, where you can manage its location if needed. This is another time-saving option – especially if you misplaced files, or just decide to change their location after you convert them.

Save JPG as PDF

When you need to know how to change a JPG to PDF on Mac, the workflow will sound eerily similar to doing the same thing as converting PDFs to JPGs.

It’s possible to do this in Preview. All you have to do is open Preview, select a JPG file from your Mac, open ‘File,’ and select ‘export to PDF.’ That’s it; really simple, but also not as good as you can do!

Prizmo is an app that allows you to edit and convert JPG files on your Mac. As a simple editing tool, it’s one of the best around. It lets you easily re-crop and resize images, adjust coloration and saturation, apply filters, and batch process images.

Prizmo convert JPG

Though Prizmo has a ton of great features for everyone, we’ll focus on its ability to convert JPG files to PDFs. The app lets you create a PDF from any JPG or JPEG file format with ease. Just follow these steps for how to change JPG to PDF:

  1. Open Prizmo.
  2. Select ‘new’ from the menu.
  3. Choose ‘open file’ to find the file you want to convert.
  4. Select the ‘share’ icon from the top right of the screen.
  5. Select ‘PDF’ as the file type you want to save your JPG as.
  6. Name the new file, and choose where you want to save to, then click ‘save.’

save PDF file

And remember, Prizmo allows for batch processing; you can convert a ton of JPGs to PDFs in seconds! Another huge time-saving feature we really enjoy.

Your Mac’s Preview app is basic enough to do perfunctory tasks; that’s all it was meant for. If all you need to do is view a PDF someone sends you, then Preview is fine. If we’re being critical, viewing files may be the only ‘real’ use for Preview. Power users will definitely want more from their Mac, especially if they’re using it to edit or convert PDFs and need granular control over the resolution and image quality. Most who have a true need to perform a tasks Preview is capable of still look for help via apps.

To us, Permute and Prizmo are two of the best for media conversion and editing. Each has an exhaustive list of features. For converting, editing, and saving PDFs and JPG files, there are no better options.

And both are free with a seven-day trial of Setapp, the best productivity suite you can get for the Mac. Setapp allows you access to dozens of apps, with a span of use-cases. 

Once your free trial is over, Setapp is only $9.99 per month. There are tons of apps that ask for more than that – and that’s only for one app!

We think you’ll love Permute and Prizmo, and the ease of Setapp. Rather than hunt and peck your way through the internet for apps to help you do things, Setapp’s curated list almost assuredly has one (or more!) you’ll really enjoy. Try it today!

Get 180+ Mac apps for any job

Sign up to Setapp and try them for free.