Managing PDF files using pdftk

pdftk is an excellent tool to manage PDF files. Using this tool we can play various games with the PDF files.

PDF files are considered as E-Papers. There are so many pdf creators available. OpenOffice has “PDF Export” facilities inbuilted.

As the PDF files retain same shape, formatting, embedded fonts etc, they are considered as defacto format for Document Exchange.

All the Tutorials,Manuals,Announcements, Advertisements, EBooks, Magazines now come in PDF format.

often, we need to extract the pages from PDF files. We may need to split, merge, remove the password, remove some pages etc.

pdftk is a very handy tool to do all these things with pdf files.

#sudo apt-get install pdftk

will install pdftk in debian and ubuntu systems.

#man pdftk

will give you all the options and usage.


Let us see here some usages.

Merge Two or More PDFs into a New Document

pdftk 1.pdf 2.pdf 3.pdf cat output 123.pdf

or (Using Handles):

pdftk A=1.pdf B=2.pdf cat A B output 12.pdf

or (Using Wildcards):

pdftk *.pdf cat output combined.pdf

Split Select Pages from Multiple PDFs into a New Document

pdftk A=one.pdf B=two.pdf cat A1-7 B1-5 A8 output combined.pdf

Encrypt a PDF using 128-Bit Strength (the Default) and Withhold All Permissions (the Default)

pdftk mydoc.pdf output mydoc.128.pdf owner_pw foopass

Same as Above, Except a Password is Required to Open the PDF

pdftk mydoc.pdf output mydoc.128.pdf owner_pw foo user_pw baz

Same as Above, Except Printing is Allowed (after the PDF is Open)

pdftk mydoc.pdf output mydoc.128.pdf owner_pw foo user_pw baz allow printing

Decrypt a PDF

pdftk secured.pdf input_pw foopass output unsecured.pdf

Join Two Files, One of Which is Encrypted (the Output is Not Encrypted)

pdftk A=secured.pdf mydoc.pdf input_pw A=foopass cat output combined.pdf

Uncompress PDF Page Streams for Editing the PDF Code in a Text Editor

pdftk mydoc.pdf output mydoc.clear.pdf uncompress

Repair a PDF’s Corrupted XREF Table and Stream Lengths (If Possible)

pdftk broken.pdf output fixed.pdf

Burst a Single PDF Document into Single Pages and Report its Data to doc_data.txt

pdftk mydoc.pdf burst

Report on PDF Document Metadata, Bookmarks and Page Labels

pdftk mydoc.pdf dump_data output report.txt

Explore yourself with pdftk.

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