I have some plots originally in the JPEG as well as in BMP format and I want to have the best possible output after compilation by Tex software. I have used the pdf format after having it converted with adobe photoshop but the quality deteriorated a lot. I haven't tried with the eps format yet but I don't know if it will work. Please suggest if there are better alternatives.

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    If the PDF is produced as a vector graphic (rather than a pixelated raster graphic), the quality remains perfect. See tex.stackexchange.com/questions/224357/… – Steven B. Segletes Oct 12 '16 at 13:35
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    If you start with a (bad) jpeg you can't improve it by converting it. You will have to recreate the plots as vector graphics. – Ulrike Fischer Oct 12 '16 at 13:43
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    what was the software originally used to create the graphics? that is the software that must be used to produce a vector graphic. – barbara beeton Oct 12 '16 at 14:25
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    For the moment, I will assume that you cannot go back and re-create the vector drawing, and must start with the bmp. What is its resolution, in pixels (per inch or cm)? When you convert to pdf in Photoshop, what is the output resolution, in pixels per inch or cm? Could it be that the two are not the same? In particular, is the PDF being produced at 72dpi, when you ought to have 300dpi for quality print? – user103221 Oct 12 '16 at 14:36
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    RobtA, thanks for your insights. I noticed that during the conversion of bmp files into pdf, the photoshop software was actually downsampling it. I just had to uncheck that box and pdf files were of remarkably better quality after that. This is all that I needed....Thanks to all... – biswajit Oct 12 '16 at 16:03

Based on comments above, I will promote my own comment to an answer.

The OP's problem was that his original rasterized image was downsampled when he converted it to PDF. So, it had nothing to do with vector versus raster, or jpg versus png, or importing a PDF into a TeX document. It was a matter of ensuring that the original image was not downsampled by Photoshop in the process of converting it to PDF. This is a check-box setting in Photoshop.

I mention this because many commercial print services do not accept color or grayscale artwork above 300dpi, and will probably insist that vector artwork be flattened to raster. It's not hard to get 300dpi.


If you have a BMP picture then I would recommend that you export it to the PNG format.

You can use almost every picture software to change the format from BMP to PNG including Microsoft Paint.

The PNG format will have the same quality (both are lossless) as the BMP version but will be smaller in file size.

The JPG format is not lossless and therefore will decrease the quality. Depending on the content of the picture this will be more or less obvious.

A typical photo (humans, animals, nature and so on) will be perfect for a JPEG format. Accuarte draqings with fine details will suffer more (too much) from the quality decrease.

See also my answer here for a comparison between the different picture formats.

A note on the PDF solution that is discussed in the comments

  • Converting a BMP file into a PDF file is not the same as converting it into a vector graphic.
  • The PDF format can contain different formats including pixel-orientated formats.
  • In most cases it makes no difference if you convert it into a PDF or a PNG.
  • With PNG you have more control over the format etc. and PNG files are easier to manipulate (cropping, color adjustments, ...).
  • Is there a way of directly using the 'bmp' format without having to go for the conversions ? – biswajit Oct 13 '16 at 13:49
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    @biswajit As far as I know not. If you use pdflatex (what you most likeley do) then you have to use either PNG, JPG/JPEG or PDF. See also en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX/… – Dr. Manuel Kuehner Oct 13 '16 at 14:26

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