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Friday 2 October 2020

PDF to Single Image - A Tutorial by 17 Year Old Me

Back in the days when I had a small Nokia phone, I wanted to do EVERTHING in that tiny device. It wasn't actually mine but because I was going to college, I was more "in need" of it than my sister.

Nokia-C1-01 Phone I had in my Engineering
Source: [1]

The one on your right with maroon border. That was it.

Anyway, with a screen of 144x160px, I wanted to read PDFs which were stored in our desktop + laptop. Lots of books, of almost all genres I was interested in. Interestingly enough, the same neatly arranged folders are copied over to every computer I have used. So I still have all those books, plus what was added later on.

Initially, the idea to "read PDF on phone" was for the Quran, so that I could read it in the Indo-Pak Naskh font. Actually I had a Quran app in it, full text with super fast search engine, but the font used in that wasn't good enough for long tilaawat. In fact, even after getting android phone I've been searching something as fast as that app. I had been a fan of that guy who built it. Just looked it up, he goes by the name of Raza Mahi. His "Mahi Dictionary" was awesome too. All java .jar applications are things of the past now, but he has also moved on and started to build the similar apps for Android now. Good for him. I've linked his website in the references. [2]

So where was I? Yes. As I had difficulty reading the Quran in that app, I selected a PDF copy of Quran which had Arabic text in one column and its Urdu translation side-by-side. I cropped-out the translation part (making the text narrow enough to fit on my phone) and then started thinking about a way to achieve the result.

Necessity is the mother of invention they say, so I came up with two methods (discussed in the booklet below). Will attach the Quran files too for the record. Wow! Time flies. Seems like yesterday to me.

Later on when I converted many books to 'single image' using the same method, I compiled a short tutorial in the form of a booklet. I've left the whole text as is, without any correction in grammar or sentence structure, because

  1. It's a reminder of my journey (read the booklet and see for yourself how writing styles change)
  2. It's cute. ;)
Here's the summary of the two methods discussed in the booklet:

Method 1: Microsoft Office OneNote + MS Paint
Method 2: PDF to Images + IrfanView

Read the booklet and know how to use them. And remember it's an OLD tutorial.


PDF to Single Image Tutorial (Booklet) : Read online or download

IrfanView: I came to know later on that this was very popular image-manipulation tool back then, and still is. Its first release was in June 1996. Now it's more powerful than ever. Check its Wikipedia page.[3]

PDF to Images Converter: I still use it. Small size, works smoothly.



[1] Specifications of Nokia C1-01 via gsmarena [link]

[2] Raza Mahi Team - Old Apps [link]

[3] IrfanView on Wikipedia [link]

Shakeeb Ahmad Maharashtra, India

Shakeeb Ahmad is a blogger, poet, enthusiast programmer, student of comparative religion and psychology, public speaker, singer and Vedic Maths expert. He loves playing with the numbers and invented a shortcut method to square the numbers at the age of 16. In sports, football is root to his happiness. He lives it.

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