Copying Figures from PDFs

I found this discussion in a google search. I will distill what I took from it and what worked for me. The best suggestion for free software was ghostscript and ghostview with pstoedit. Install in that order. Ghostscript is the command-line backend used by the ghostview gui. Pstoedit is a plugin to ghostview/ghostscript which allows you to save a page in a number of formats. For importing to Microsoft products, the best format is Windows Enhance Metafile. Once you have opened your pdf file in ghostview, select edit->Convert to vector format… Then choose the file type and the page you want to convert. I was not able to figure out how to select just a portion of a page.

Ultimately for my task, I downloaded the trial version (download) of Adobe Illustrator as mentioned in the linked discussion. It is a much more polished tool, in which you can open the pdf and copy and past exactly what you want into a Microsoft product. It works much better, but of course it is only free for 30 days.

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