PDF Manipulation utility for unix?
August 11, 2008 8:54 AM   Subscribe

UNIX experts: what's the best way to take a pdf file, cut out a few (non-sequential) pages, insert a few more pages from another pdf file, and end up with one new pdf file?

I need a pdf manipulation utility that can run on ubuntu. I have a pdf document (made with Keynote) which is about 30 slides for a talk. I am currently away from home and only brought with me a small laptop running xubuntu. I'd like to take the original pdf, remove some slides (i.e. pages), create some new slides with Latex/beamer, and end up with a new set of slides, some new and some old. It would be a real pain to redo all the slides in beamer, and as I made the first set in Keynote on a mac, I can't edit them natively. I have PDFPen on my mac at home -- I love this app and a unix version of something like this would be ideal. I've searched and come up empty. At this point I'm willing to purchase something that would do the trick.
posted by tractorfeed to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: pdftk? Here's a website for it.

From what you describe, "burst" the existing PDF into individual pages, and then "cat" the new set of pages into one PDF.
posted by chengjih at 9:05 AM on August 11, 2008

Best answer: pdfsam is free and OSS that splits and merges pdfs.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:07 AM on August 11, 2008

PDFedit does what you need, works very well and is in the Universe repositories. See screenshot.
posted by Cobalt at 9:14 AM on August 11, 2008

Image Magick can do it. See convert(1).
posted by cmiller at 11:41 AM on August 11, 2008

Best answer: Do you absolutely need to do it in Linux? Believe it or not, Preview on your Mac will do what you want, for free. You open the file, then open the drawer (the sidebar thingamabob), choose "view thumbnails" then select the pages in the drawer that you want to remove and hit "CMD-del" to delete them. Next open the file containing the pages you want to paste in, and you can just drag them from the drawer of document B into document A. God I love Apple sometimes.
posted by drmarcj at 7:09 PM on August 11, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the recs -- these worked great! drmarcj, I left my (heavier) macbook back in the US and only have my (32 oz) tiny Eee pc running linux with me. But thanks for the preview tips -- I will definitely use them upon return to my home computing environment. it's true that there's almost always more functionality in mac os apps than first appears.
posted by tractorfeed at 5:34 AM on August 12, 2008

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