Mark Stephens Mark has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and is a big NetBeans fan. He enjoys speaking at conferences. He has an MA in Medieval History and a passion for reading.

JPG versus PDF for Document display

45 sec read

As we produce software for handling both JPEG and PDF files, we are often asked about which is better for displaying documents. So here I will try and sum up each and help you to decide.

JPG file

  • Is a single file with a public specification.
  • Is bit-mapped so will blur if you zoom in.
  • Cannot contain other content such as searchable text, links, video.
  • Is viewable on a huge range of tools.
  • Is very easy to alter its size, draw over, and manipulate.
  • Content cannot be encrypted

PDF file

  • Is a single file with a public specification.
  • Can contain vector content but may just be a bit-map. Can include lots of other content such as text, links, video.
  • Needs a PDF viewer to see. Most Operating Systems and browsers are able to do this now.
  • Can be edited but needs care.
  • Content and access can be set and contents encrypted.

In conclusion

PDF is a more complex and powerful file format which can have some additional benefits over just a JPEG image. In practice, JPEG is often enough for the job and many people use JPEG to display the contents of a PDF file (the most popular use for our Java PDF library is to convert PDF to Image).

IDRsolutions develop a Java PDF Viewer and SDK, an Adobe forms to HTML5 forms converter, a PDF to HTML5 converter and a Java ImageIO replacement. On the blog our team post anything interesting they learn about.

Mark Stephens Mark has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and is a big NetBeans fan. He enjoys speaking at conferences. He has an MA in Medieval History and a passion for reading.

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