Embed Image Files

Which Image Format Is Best For PDF?

PDF is truly a great format, especially since it retains its formatting. This is not only true for tables and graphs, headlines and the embedded fonts. It’s also true for images. An image contained in a PDF document will always look the same. And yet, there are so many different image formats to choose from.

Likewise, with PDF converters like PDF2Go, you can easily convert your PDF document into an image, for example to JPG. This raises quite some questions, though.

Which one is the best image format to use in a PDF? To which image format should you convert your PDF into? Let us find out. 

The Best Image Formats For Your PDF

We shall look at that from two different perspectives.

  1. Which images are best for being contained in a PDF
  2. Which format is best for converting a PDF to

In order to do so, let us have a look at the different image formats. We will not cover all of them, but the most common, widely spread and important ones.

The Different Image Files

In general, there are two different categories you can sort all kinds of image files into vector images and raster images. The basic difference between the two is that the information of vector images is saved as paths, while raster images save the visual content in pixels. This enables users of vector graphics to scale their art smaller as well as bigger without loss of quality. Unlike raster images, which lose quality significantly when scaled bigger.

With that being said, let us have a look at the most popular image formats:

Raster Images

This format is most commonly known from MS Paint, a drawing program by Windows. BMP images typically have a very high file size and are not often found outside Windows systems.

GIF images are stored in low quality. However, they can contain animation & transparency, which is why they are quite popular on the web to save short animations.

JPG (or JPEG) is the most common image file found on the web. It allows images to be saved in various quality, ranging from very high to very low. The quality of the image is directly responsible for the file size of the image. Higher quality JPGs typically have a higher file size.

This image format is probably the biggest “rival” to JPG. It also stores image information in high quality but is also able to contain transparency. In many cases, PNG images keep better quality when uploaded to social media than JPG.

The TGA format is commonly used in animation or video editing. It saves data in high quality which is why it is most commonly used in the video game industry.

TIFF or TIF images store image data in very high quality. Even though it is commonly known as a raster image format, it can also contain vector graphic information. The TIFF format has a quality similar to documents: it can store several different images in one file that can be browsed like a document’s pages.

This very old format was commonly used on old phones to save images sent via text message. They only save images in black and white and a very low quality.

WEBP images can save data in various quality degrees, both lossy (lesser quality) and lossless (higher quality). It’s an open standard image format developed by Google with its main purpose being displaying images on the web. Despite googles efforts, it’s still not widely used and, on top of that, not supported by all browsers (e.g. Firefox).

Vector Images

EPS is a vector format developed by Adobe and thus widely common among users of Adobe products like Illustrator.

The most common vector image format is SVG. It is used in graphic design and supported by most if not all vector graphic programs.

Which Format To Choose

Based on these specifications of the different image formats, the choice should be easy. When it comes to the embedding of images in a PDF, we advise choosing a format that contains high-quality image information. This points to formats like:

  • JPG,
  • PNG and
  • WEBP

for embedding in a PDF.

The choice of which image format to convert your document to depends on your need. For high quality, the same as above apply. If you are looking for a smaller file size and can accept some loss of quality, GIF is a good format to convert to. TIFF images, on the other hand, store the different pages of a PDF in one single image file, which is also neat.