The other day, I was in the process of extracting a vector logo from a PDF file, but Illustrator refused to launch because I already had more than a dozen programs open. Instead of restarting my computer, I decided to see if I could extract a vector logo from a PDF using only Acrobat. And the answer? Yes! You can get a crisp vector logo from a source PDF, and then insert it into a different PDF, all without using Illustrator. The only caveat is that you need Acrobat Professional (not Acrobat Standard).
While this article is about extracting a logo from a PDF, it’s also an exercise to get you thinking about using tools in different ways. Plus, you may work with people, such as administrative support staff, who are comfortable in Acrobat but at sea in Illustrator. Point them toward this article and the problem is solved.
Find the PDF with the vector logo (see “Creative Ways to Track Down Vector Logos“) and open the PDF in Acrobat Professional.
Go to Tools > Advanced Editing > TouchUp Object Tool. Select the logo. If the logo has a white background, you can probably just draw a marquee around the logo. If the logo has something behind it, you may need to select each part of the logo independently: Click, then shift+click on each of the remaining parts of the logo.
Go to Copy (Ctrl/Cmd+C), then to File > Create PDF > From Blank Page.
Switch back to the TouchUp Object tool, then Paste (Ctrl/Cmd+V).
Depending on how the original PDF was constructed, you may need to edit the colorspace for it to print properly. If you’re preparing a document for offset printing, you definitely need to check the colorspace. You can fix the color space one of two ways: TouchUp Properties or Convert Colors.
When you have an item selected in a PDF, you can get the properties of it by pressing Cmd/Ctrl+I. (See “How to Edit Font Properties Within a PDF Sticky Note“.) The TouchUp Properties dialog box is an easy way to change the colorspace of your selected items. In the “Convert To” drop down menu, choose the colorspace you want, and then click convert.
The second option for fixing the colorspace is the Convert Colors Dialog Box (Advanced > Print Production > Convert Colors).
Here, you have many more options for converting colorspaces. You can select the types of objects you want to convert, on which pages, etc. While it’s a handy tool, it’s a little overkill for this project. The TouchUp Properties dialog box will work just fine.
The default blank page size in Acrobat is 8.5″ x 11″ (or a slightly different size depending upon which country you live in). If you will be placing the logo as an image in a page-layout program, the logo will more easily fit inside your frames (and not have excessive white space around the edges) if you crop it. Go to Tools > Advanced Editing > Crop Tool.
Click and drag a rectangle around your logo, then hit the Enter/Return key to bring up the Crop Pages dialog. If necessary, adjust the fields in the dialog, then hit OK. Save the resulting PDF with a name you’ll recognize, and you’re done!