Jambudveep's Blog

February 17, 2011

Tutorial on Converting books on the Digital Library of India website from TIFF to PDF

Filed under: Tutorials — Yogeshwar Shastri @ 6:47 pm
Tags: ,

This tutorial is now defunct, the updated tutorial is here

Tutorial on Converting books on the Digital Library of

India website from TIFF to PDF

Update: Before going through my tutorial I would advise you to try out these three easier and convinient methods for downloading books from DLI.

1.Vinay Shettys DLI book Download Tutorial : This is a simple and easy to understand tutorial.Worked for me perfectly.

2.Ashok Shukla’s ABS DLI Downloader: This is a small piece of good software which allows you to download entire TIFF books from DLI as PDF’s.Unfortunately did not work for me.

3.DLI Downloader from PR Labs :Again a good piece of software,more specifically for Sanskrit documents.Unfortunately did not work for me either.

Try all three above,one of them is bound to work for you! Only follow my tutorial if none of the above works!


Before we begin a word of thanks to the people behind the Digital library of India (DLI) effort who have taken great pains to digitise and host lakhs of books online.

As the books are in TIFF format they are fine for reading online, but the problem starts when you  want to download an entire book for reading offline. This tutorial will hopefully address that issue.

Here I am assuming that you already the usual stuff needed to browse the internet i.e. Operating system (e.g. Windows) and an internet browser (like Firefox, Internet Explorer).

Step 1: Getting to Know the Interface of the DLI website

The interface  of the DLI website is very simple as seen from the screenshot above. Once you enter the search query, which in my case was for books on Vijayanagar, the results are displayed as in the following screenshot.

Once you decide which book you want to convert, click on the book name (which should be highlighted in blue).

Clicking on the book name will bring up the following screen:

I usually select “Book Reader 1” but you can go with “Book Reader 2” if you want. The interface is mostly the same in both book readers, they differ only in the way   the pages are displayed.

On selecting “Book Reader 1” the book reader opens in a new tab/window. The book reader will display the book in TIFF format.

The layout of the book reader is pretty simple with buttons to zoom in, save, print etc in the top level strip. In the bottom part you can move ahead or move back through the books pages by clicking on the arrow signs.

For converting the book to PDF we are only concerned with two buttons which are highlighted in the screenshot above: 1.Print & 2.Save

Step 2: What will I need to have installed to do the conversion from TIFF to PDF?

You will need to have one of the following two things:

1.      Adobe Acrobat Professional (Full Version) : If you have the full version of Acrobat it will let you:

  • print the pages in TIFF format  as PDF’s (i.e. save them as PDF’s, more on this later),
  • Convert BMP format files to PDF (I’ll explain this later on in the tutorial)
  • Merge different PDF’s into a single book.


2.      Open source PDF creation software: This is completely free and comes in different types which let you do things such as:

Step 3 : What are the ways to convert the TIFF page to PDF?

The conversion of a TIFF   page to PDF can be done in the following two ways:

1. Save the TIFF page as a BMP and then convert to PDF

2. Directly print the TIFF  page as a PDF

In the following sections I will describe each of these options in detail.

1. Save the TIFF page as a BMP and then convert to PDF

I prefer this method as the BMP image is   an exact reproduction of the TIFF page you see on screen. Thus when you convert the BMP to PDF there are no unpleasant surprises in the way the final document looks.

To save the TIFF page as a PDF simply click on the “Save” button in the DLI Book readers interface. See screenshot below:

You will need to do this for each TIFF page. It would be good practice to number the pages as you save them. This will make life easier when you are converting to PDF and finally combining the PDF’s.

To learn how to convert the BMP images to PDF,you can skip the next part and go straight to Step 4.

2.Print the page as a PDF: In my experience this method can produce variable results especially with regards to the final output PDF.

Once installed  the PDF software( either Adobe or PDFCreator) will show up as “Printers” in your print options. On clicking the Print button at the far left of the book reader  interface  you will be presented with a list of options similar to the  screenshot below.

The next step is simple: select the PDF printer you have installed and click on print.

Depending on the software you use you will be typically asked to save the PDF in a particular location on your computer.

Thats it!

The  TIFF page has been converted to PDF format. Now of course you will need to repeat this process for however many pages there are in the ebook.

Step 4: Combining the PDF/BMP files into a single PDF

Hey I’ve now got 500 separate PDF/BMP files, how do I combine them into one single book?

Not a problem!

i.                    For Abode Acrobat users:

  • Select all the different PDF’s/BMP’s in whatever folder you have saved them. Use  Edit—>Select all.
  • Right click on any of the selected files.On right clicking you will get an option which says “Combine Supported Files in Acrobat”.
  • Click on that option and Adobe will present you with a screen where you can combine, shuffle the order of individual PDF’s/BMP’s and do other good stuff.

This link gives info on how to combine the different PDF’s into one book using the Adobe Acrobats interface:  http://www.ehow.com/how_3391947_combine-pdf-files-using-adobe.html

Another link on converting BMP’s to PDF using Adobe Acrobat: http://www.ehow.com/how_7334789_convert-bmp-pdf.html

A word of caution: When you are selecting and combining the PDF/BMP  files in Adobe do them in series.eg If there are 200 pages, combine pages 1-9 first, then 10-99,100-200.

I’ve found that if you try to select 200 pages in one go and combine them, the order of pages gets messed up.

ii.                  For Open source software users:  You will first need to convert the BMP’s to PDF. This can be done using a free online tool available here : http://www.pictureresize.org/online-images-converter.html

This link gives detailed information on combining the PDF files : http://www.pdfforge.org/content/combine-documents

To merge the PDF’s  I found it easier to use “Pdfsam”. (http://www.pdfsam.org/?page_id=32)


All done! Your PDF ebook is ready to read!


  1. Someone emailed us a link to this post asking if the DLI Downloader 0.21 doesn’t work. Hundreds of users use DLID 0.21 to get books all the time. If DLID 0.21 did not work for you, please note that 99.99% of the time, it is because of some problem with the DLI’s servers or the user’s security/admin settings. There is an elaborate User Manual installed on your computer with the software itself. Plus, there is an online FAQ which details all the problems you could face and how to solve them. Please read all this documentation to familiarize yourself with the s/w, and then try to use it. DLID generates over 60 error codes and messages alone, and has an adaptive networking engine; it is a lot more sophisticated than it needs to be. DLID is NOT like the other tools/methods there are for the DLI. And if nothing works, you are always welcome to write us for support. See our support guidelines. Sometimes, we even provide books outright for researchers on a deadline! And DLID 0.21 is not meant for Sanskrit books alone. You can fetch anything from the DLI. Just before this user’s email about your post, we provided a book on Mughal diplomacy in Central Asia to a Turkish researcher. What is true is that, we provide built-in catalogs for Sanskrit/Indology books because most of our users research or read the field. DLID 0.3 will include catalogs of ALL 250,000 books at the DLI. This catalog information is data that even the DLI doesn’t have!

    Please don’t alarm users needlessly with incomplete information. PRL is a for-profit company; though DLID is not a professional release from PRL, it is taken quite seriously. Our group does spend a lot of time, expense and energy providing this and other Indological materials, solely to promote research and public interest in Indian culture and antiquities, as do our sponsors. It will ill-serve the “Indian culture” causes you seem to blog about, if you provide erroneous information about DLID. Please do change your post to be accurate. We worry that more users might have been misinformed, and so missed on the treasure trove of Indian knowledge in the DLI. That is why I am even sending this comment on behalf the DLID group.

    Comment by dlidownloader — March 18, 2011 @ 4:26 am | Reply

    • What is your problem? If you bother to read what I have written I have clearly stated that DLI did not work for me,but have very clearly appreciated the effort behind it and have recommended others to try it out.I have also pointed out that it is one of many methods availiable to the user.

      If something dosent work for me do not expect me to write that it did.

      It will ill-serve the “Indian culture” causes you seem to blog about, if you provide erroneous information about DLID

      Your sarcasm is uncalled for and downright offensive.I do not just “seem to blog about” Indian culture I actually do blog about our culture and history.

      Comment by Yogeshwar Shastri — March 18, 2011 @ 6:06 am | Reply

  2. I have been trying to covert Oranganti Ramachariya’s Studies in the reign of Krshadevaraya to pdf format using your tutorial but did not succeed. This book too is hosted in the DLI web site. I would appreciate help in this tregard. My e mail venkata.raghotham@gmail.com

    Comment by bahuvirupaksha — June 16, 2011 @ 10:48 am | Reply

    • Dear Venkata,

      try one of the three alternative methods outlined in my post.If none of them works let me know.Ill download the book and mail it to you or post on my blog.

      kind regards


      Comment by Yogeshwar Shastri — June 17, 2011 @ 6:11 am | Reply

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