PDF manipulation

It happens, from time to time, that I find myself looking for a way to manipulate PDF on the fly. For example, I want to print them two-pages per sheet, or to extract few pages, or to shrink the size of the file without degradate the quality.

Here are few trick I collected and post here to be able to find them.

The first tricks comes from here and assume you have pdfjam installed. This is how you can produce a pdf with two pages per sheet:

pdfjam --nup 2x1 infile.pdf --landscape --outfile outfile.pdf


You can also print your pdf file as booklet. This means that the pages of your file are shuffled (and placed two per sheet) so that you can join them with a clip or some glue or strings in the middle just like a real book. The sommand is:

pdfbook --short-edge infile.pdf

pdfbook is part of pdfjam.

Extract (or join) pages

If you need to extrac some pages from your pdf file you can just run

pdftk infile.pdf cat <first_page>-<last_page> output outfile.pdf 

To join pdf files, instead, run

pdftk infile1.pdf infile2.pdf infile3.pdf cat output outfile.pdf

Obviously you need pdftk.

Shrink pdf file size

Sometiimes a pdf grows in size with no reason (apparently). It is possible to shrink it by reduce it to pdf defaults. You will need gs.

The command you need to run is

gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -dPDFSETTINGS=/default -dNOPAUSE -dQUIET -dBATCH -sOutputFile=outfile.pdf infile.pdf

It can be quite difficult to remember, so you can create a bash alias for a function doing it for you. In .bashrc add

alias pdfdefault='function _pdfdefault() { gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -dPDFSETTINGS=/default -dNOPAUSE -dQUIET -dBATCH -sOutputFile=$2 $1;}; _pdfdefault'

and run . ~/.bashrc before running pdfdefault infile.pdf outfile.pdf.

Two pages per sheet with latex

It is possible, if you are writing something with pdf, to produce a pdf with two pages per sheet without needing to run pdfjam.

In this case just add, at the beginning of your latex document

\pgfpagesuselayout{2 on 1}[a4paper], landscape]
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