Importing PDF into Illustrator

There are a series of maps at that I want to import into Illustrator (and perhaps into Flash eventually). The first thing I want to do is erase all the text, so I’m left with outlines of the states and counties. I could do it easily in Photoshop, but I’m just learning how to work with Illustrator.

Anyway, I read that you can import PDF files into Illustrator using the Place command. But when I tried it, I was prompted for a password. I assume that means the author of these PDF files made them password protected.

Is there another way to import PDF files into Illustrator? (These are copyright-free images.)


Probably not. There might be 3rd party pdf password removers, but I don’t think that since the file have been protected, the author would be happy with a brute force option.

The terms for those maps are such:
You can print this document
You CANNOT edit this document
You can copy this document.

I am not sure what browser you are using, but generally when you are viewing a PDF you will see a LOCK icon on the bottom left of your browser if it has restrictions. Click on that and it will give you more details.

It may take awhile and will not result in a vector-based file, but you could screen capture every page. I tried several things which failed:

Print the file from Acrobat (not Acrobat Reader, but Acrobat Professional) as a postscript file and then distill that postscript file into a new PDF. Like I said - failed.

Use the Snapshot tool in Acrobat to capture each page, but that resulted in a low resolution screenshot.

You could also contact the owners and detail your intentions. They may work something out for you.

Well, I’m going to try screen capture as an experiment. I’ve enlarged the PDF greatly, so I can get all border details. I’ll have to make several dozen screen captures, then piece them together in Photoshop. Then I’ll delete the text and white spaces, leaving a black border that I can import into Illustrator.

Once I accomplish this, will I be able to resize the image in Illustrator and Flash without ruining the border? In Photoshop, when I make an image too small, black lines begin to fall apart.

To put it another way, I’d like to wind up with an image that works just as it does as a PDF - it looks fine at normal size, but you can also enlarge it to see a very detailed border.


Unfortunately it probably won’t work like this with a raster image (it depends on the scaling factor). Once you make a screenshot, the lines will be 2-4 pixels wide. After merging all the pieces and scaling down x times, the lines will get thinner. The thinner, the bigger the scale-down factor.
To save your time, just make a quick test with one screenshot before you proceed.

Can a raster image from Photoshop be converted to a vector image in Illustrator?

Yes, it can. Try LiveTrace tool with different settings and see if it’s going to work as you expect.

Sounds great. Thanks.