GIFs in PDFs
July 9, 2009 1:09 PM   Subscribe

How do I insert a GIF in its native resolution into a PDF?

I've tried a few ways of creating PDFs (Word, Inkscape, LaTeX), but when I insert a GIF image, it doesn't retain its exact size when I view the PDF with Acrobat Reader, even when the view is set at 100%.

Desperately need a way to get a GIF (or PNG) image into a PDF at its native resolution.
posted by king walnut to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Well, native resolution on screen doesn't mean much in print format, which is what a PDF is. Suppose you have a 200×200 pixel GIF. If you're taking a pixel to be the smallest discrete printable unit (the way a pixel on a monitor is the smallest discrete display unit), the GIF's size on the page will vary depending on the output DPI of your printer (at 300 DPI, it would be 2/3 of an inch square; at 600 DPI, 1/3 of an inch, at 1200 DPI, 1/6 of an inch).

If all you're concerned about is pixel equivalency when viewing the document at "100%" zoom in Acrobat Reader, the question is what DPI is considered by Reader to be "actual size." You might try 72 DPI, which I believe is the resolution at which Illustrator (for instance) inserts images whose DPI it cannot determine. So for the 200×200 pixel example, you'd scale the image in Word or whatever to 200/72 (i.e. ~2.78) inches square.
posted by letourneau at 1:18 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

How do I insert a GIF in its native resolution into a PDF?

PDFs are not raster-based. You're asking how you place something that is defined by pixels into something that is defined by equations. That's like asking "how do I store my dreams in Tupperware?" You don't.

What happens is you place the image (the GIF in this case) and the image is dynamically scaled based on the output resolution. You should be able to give it dimension in relation to the rest of the document (width/height in inches instead of pixels) and everything else should Just Work™.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:45 PM on July 9, 2009

To illustrate by example, create a PDF with a target DPI of 72 (screen resolution) and I believe anything viewed in Acrobat at 100% zoom level should be 1:1.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:48 PM on July 9, 2009

Oh… as letourneau already said. :)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:49 PM on July 9, 2009

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