I have created various plots using the pgfplots package for my thesis. Now I would export them in jpg or png format. Does it exist a way to achieve this purpose?

  • 5
    Both formats are bitmaps, and so do not scale. Keeping as PDFs would be much better.
    – Joseph Wright
    Jan 12, 2013 at 17:38
  • 3
    Look at section 7.1 in the documentation of pgfplots
    – egreg
    Jan 12, 2013 at 18:02

5 Answers 5


First of all, make sure you have installed ImageMagick as the following code uses ImageMagick's convert command.

Once you have had a PDF output, you need to convert it to PNG by using the following batch file named pdf2png.bat. It is convenient to register the batch path to the system variable.

rem pdf2png.bat
echo off
rem %1 PDF filename without extension
rem %2 density
rem %3 alpha, choose one of {on,off,remove}

del "%~1-*.png"

convert -compose copy -bordercolor red -border 3x3 -density %2 -alpha %3 "%~1.pdf" "%~1-%%02d.png" 


  • %1 is the first mandatory argument that specifies the filename (without extension) of your PDF to convert.
  • %2 is the second mandatory argument that specifies the density. The higher density makes the PNG dimension larger.
  • %3 is the third mandatory argument that specifies whether or not you preserve the transparency. Use on if you want to preserve the transparency, otherwise choose remove. I don't use off because it produces a lousy output.
  • I added an additional feature such that the output will be enclosed by a red rectangle. If you don't like this feature, remove -compose copy -bordercolor red -border 3x3 from the code above.


It is just an example. Your scenario in which you get a PDF might be different from mine. My scenario is as follows: compile the following input file with latex->dvips->ps2pdf to get a PDF output.

% myfilename.tex


You can invoke the batch from the editor of your choice, but here I invoke the batch from the DOS prompt:

enter image description here

The output is:

enter image description here

The red rectangle is the border produced by -compose copy -bordercolor red -border 3x3.


For Windows users, the convert alone no longer works. Instead it must be preceded by both magick and a space because convert has a special meaning in Windows.

  • But in this way I convert all the document or only the image?
    – Mazzy
    Jan 12, 2013 at 17:33
  • 4
    @Mazzy: Only the image if you put each plot into a separate, compilable TeX input file. Use standalone document class for each plot. Jan 12, 2013 at 17:35
  • See tex.stackexchange.com/questions/91188/… for one way to extract all the figure environments. The script there could be modified to produce one file per figure. Jan 12, 2013 at 17:48
  • Here's a more standard, non-batch version (works for IM 7.0.10-62): convert -density 200 -alpha on example.pdf example.png for 200 DPI and preserving transparency. If using a greyscale, you may want to include -strip (more info).
    – jvriesem
    Mar 14, 2021 at 15:44

You can automate the process by modifying the externalisation command as in https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/22161 or https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/40795

Here is what I personally would use:

\tikzexternalize[mode=list and make]

    png export/.style={
        % First we call ImageMagick; change settings to requirements
        external/system call/.add={}{; magick convert -density 300 -transparent white "\image.pdf" "\image.png"},
        % Now we force the PNG figure to be used instead of the PDF
        /pgf/images/external info,
        /pgf/images/include external/.code={


% Here we specify the figure will be converted and inserted as PNG
\tikzset{png export}
    \draw (0,0) circle (1) ;

% This figure will be inserted as PDF
    \draw (0,0) circle (1) ;

Because It allows me to convert only the figures that I want to convert. See the first link if you need the conversion to be done for all figures.


If you use Texmaker, it offers an option in the document preview window when right-clicking to "Convert page to png image".

enter image description here

TeXstudio doesn't have this option AFAIK. You can still use ImageMagick's PDF to PNG convert (or any other image editor like GIMP):

convert figure.pdf figure.png

Sample code:



Acrobat Reader allows for saving a PDF as JPG. Just compile each LaTeX file. Open them in Acrobat and Save As JPG.

  • 1
    The newest Acrobat Reader (version 2018.011.20055) does not allows for saving a PDF as JPG. Am I wrong something?
    – Black Mild
    Jul 24, 2018 at 18:14

I wrote a small script, which converts pgf plots to bitmap pictures. I hope it is also useful for some of you. The script creates a temporary latex file, compiles it to a pdf, and then converts it to a bitmap using the convert command.

It can be found here: https://github.com/helgehr/pgf2bitmap

  • Thanks, that was very useful! Jun 8, 2023 at 5:41

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